MI Lawyer’s Weekly Quotes Kevin Hirzel on Pokémon Go Legal Issues

On August 12, 2016, the Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly published an article entitled “Pokémon Go presents virtual fun, real legal issues“. The article discusses the legal issues relating to Pokemon Go, and quoted the Michigan Community Association Law Blog as follows:

Kevin M. Hirzel, a partner at Cummings McClorey Davis & Acho PLC in Livonia, recently wrote a blog piece offering advice regarding the game to condominium associations and homeowners associations.

Community associations have options when players with no relation to the association attempt to enter common areas or take photos of individual units, Hirzel wrote.

The board can file a request to have a location removed from the game. If that doesn’t resolve the issue — and the third parties ignore warnings to leave — the board could file a civil action to obtain an injunction preventing trespassing or call the police, according to Hirzel, who leads his firm’s Community Association Practice Group.

“Given the issues thus far caused by Pokémon Go players that forget their real world surroundings, it is recommended that a community association board take some action to prevent third-party trespassers in the common areas,” he wrote. “Third-party trespassers not only pose a nuisance to the owners, but also create safety hazards and additional liability issues for community associations.

“Accordingly, a condominium association or HOA should not sit idle when it learns of continued trespasses by Pokémon Go players that have no relation to the community and ignore a friendly request to leave the premises.”

Community associations also should consider regulating co-owners, guests and renters who play the game, Hirzel wrote. He added that bylaws should be reviewed to determine if restrictions are in place for common areas or if the association has the ability to make rules and regulations for them.

“In many instances, if Pokémon Go players get out of hand, condominium bylaws contain provisions that preclude a co-owner, renter or a guest from causing a nuisance, obstructing the common elements or engaging in activity that increases the rate of insurance,” he wrote.

Hirzel urged associations to create specific rules related to Pokémon Go — such as restricting when and where it is played — if it is becoming an issue.

“This is not only important from a nuisance perspective, but also from a safety perspective as a co-owner or guest could easily walk off the ledge of a retaining wall or fall into a retaining pond if they are not paying attention,” he wrote.

But Hirzel stressed that rules related to the game should not be targeted at children to avoid violating the federal Fair Housing Act.

Kevin Hirzel is a Partner at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. and leads the Community Association Practice Group. He frequently represents Builders, Community Associations, Condominium Associations, Cooperatives, Co-Owners, Developers, Homeowner Associations, Investors, Property Owners and Property Managers throughout the State of Michigan. Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. has Michigan offices in Clinton Township, Grand Rapids, Livonia and Traverse City. Mr. Hirzel can be contacted at (734) 261-2400 or khirzel@cmda-law.com. Please view The Michigan Community Association Law Blog at http://micondolaw.com for additional resources on Michigan Community Association Law.