Supreme Court overturns lower court's ruling allowing woman to collect mental anguish during period defendants wrongfully refused to repair her condominium
Johna Benefield sued the Cincinnati Insurance Company, the Village at Stonegate Pointe Condo Association and North Management, Inc., when the refused to repair the damaged common elements of her condominium after another resident blew apart the plumbing through the negligent discharge of a handgun. Despite the clear contract language obligating the Association and its manager to repair damaged common areas, the defendants refused to make repairs, arguing that Benefield's only recourse was against the shooter and his host.
The Court of Appeals noted that Benefield was clearly a third-party beneficiary of the contracts between the Condo owners association, the management company, and the condo insurer. On that basis, she enjoyed "standing" to compel the defendants to meet their contractual obligation to repair the common areas. The Supreme Court upheld this result, but it reversed the Court's recognition of Benefield's right to pursue mental anguish damages. It has ruled that a victim may not collect emotional injury damages for a contract breach or for the negligent damage to property.