By Linda Golz
Beacon Journal staff writer
The Akron man sued by his condominium association for having a dog that exceeds a 12-pound weight limit is fighting back.
Dog owner Eric Maltarich has filed a countersuit against the Portage View Condominium Association over the assertion that he is breaking the rules.
In his suit filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court, Maltarich, 25, argues the association did not act in good faith when it provided him incomplete bylaws that left out the weight restriction for dogs when he purchased his condo two years ago.
Maltarich said the copy of the bylaws that were given to him read that ''dogs, cats or common household pets are permitted.''
At issue is C.C., a 30-pound Labrador whippett mix.
Maltarich said he had no knowledge of the restriction until he began receiving letters last April telling him C.C. had to go. He said he would not have bought the condo had he known of it.
Maltarich's attorney Augustin F. ''Gus'' O'Neil said that by providing the incomplete document, the association effectively amended the original document.
The purchase of the condo should have been an equitable deal, O'Neil said, and equity equals fairness.
The lawsuit asks the judge to dismiss the association's suit because Maltarich reasonably relied on the documentation given to him by the board.
It also asks for compensatory and punitive damages for Maltarich, plus attorney fees. O'Neil said he would also like to see the board make a donation to the Humane Society.
The board's attorney, Cullen J. Cottle, disputed the assertion that the association did anything wrong.
''I think it's pretty fair to say we disagree with the assertions that the association had acted improperly,'' he said. ''Nevertheless, we'll let the courts decide.''
Cottle pointed out that the association has nothing to do with the sale of the condo, which was sold to Maltarich by a previous owner, and giving out the abbreviated rules and regulations does not benefit the association.
''It's unfortunate that it got to this point,'' Maltarich said. ''[But] I'm not going to just roll over. We're still hoping maybe they'll change their minds. I don't want this [battle in court], I really don't.''
The association filed its lawsuit against Maltarich on Jan. 22 after talks between the two sides collapsed.
At that time Cottle said that when the association gave the abbreviated bylaws to Maltarich they were not saying those were the only regulations.
He said it was up to Maltarich to get the full document from the county and to be sure he understood it.
Maltarich and his girlfriend Allysa Naro, 23, adopted C.C. when she was 8 weeks old in May 2007. Naro described C.C. as their ''child'' and the pair said they have no intention of giving her up willingly.
Linda Golz can be reached at 330-996-3640 or lgolz AT thebeaconjournal.com
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