Army Captain Sued by HOA Over Kids' Swing Set

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Fry, however, doesn't see this as anything like neighborliness. He is steamed that the initial HOA lawsuit was filed against only his wife in what he sees as a way to get around the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,which prevents service members from being sued while deployed.

The suit, Fry said, was later amended to include Fry.

If a lawsuit over a swing set sounds like a rare occurrence, think again, says Evan McKenzie, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of the book "Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government."

Homeowners associations often find themselves at odds with individual owners over what may seem like private matters to the individuals, but become public issues in the tightly managed communities.

"People go in and they think they're talking to their neighbors," he said, but it doesn't matter what went down in the neighborly conversation in the driveway if the homeowner didn't follow the rules of the association.

"The moral of the story on this is, the owners really have to know what's in their (homeowners association) declaration," McKenzie said. "You cannot act like the rules and regulations are to be taken lightly. You have to read them, you have to understand them. If you don't like it, then you don't want to live in this type of housing."

Meanwhile, the Frys are still hoping to iron out a compromise so their kids can swing in the yard this summer.

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