Condo association accused of detaining Florida couple over COVID-19

Lawsuit claims couple was threatened with arrest

A health worker processes a COVID-19 rapid antibody test on May 20, 2020 in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
A health worker processes a COVID-19 rapid antibody test on May 20, 2020 in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – A Florida couple is suing their condominium association, which they claim detained them in their home against their will after testing positive for COVID-19.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, Steven and Nancy Iscowitz said the association at Palmetto Park at Mizner Park deactivated their key fobs, which prevented them from accessing the building’s common areas in July, the South Florida SunSentinel reported.

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They are seeking damages in excess of $30,000 for false imprisonment, invasion of privacy and negligence, among other charges.

The lawsuit claims the association threatened to have them “removed from the building and/or arrested” if they left their condo without permission.

The couple also claims the association violated their trust by publicly disclosing their positive tests.

“What they really can’t do is take my client’s health information and discriminate them — and use their private health information to my client’s disadvantage to use the things they’re legally entitled to use,” Jeffrey Kominsky, the couple’s attorney, told the newspaper.

“It’s clear (the association) gave no notice to my clients the association was going to turn off my client’s fobs.”

The couple tested positive for COVID-19 on July 12, the lawsuit said. That same day, the condominium association sent a letter to residents asking anyone to alert the building if they tested positive for COVID-19.

“Under no circumstance will your identity or unit number ever be disclosed,” property manager Leiann Dodd said in the letter sent to residents.

Three days after disclosing their positive results, the couple said they received a letter from the association telling them they were barred from entering any of the building’s common spaces and shouldn’t leave their unit unless it was medically necessary.

The lawsuit claims the association threatened to contact authorities if the couple left the premises. The couple was told they needed to present negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed to use the building’s facilities, the newspaper reported.

The couple said their key fobs were then turned off without their permission, preventing them from moving within the property.

Tensions rose between the two sides over the next few days. The association emailed residents on July 16, advising the pool and fitness centers would be closed because “two residents ... refused to comply with the building’s request to quarantine and provide a negative test before utilizing the common areas,” according to the lawsuit.

Then the association filed a civil complaint against the couple, referring to Steven and Nancy Iscowitz by name.

“The association early on represented to (the Iscowitzes) that their health information would be protected,” Kominsky, the couple’s lawyer, said. “And that clearly did not happen here.”