An attorney (non-authoritative) opinion, regarding the algebra of calculating financial shares:

The Association can only disburse the surplus funds to the unit owners according to their share of the common surplus (which is 1/25 per unit). The actual costs to make repairs to the unit is not relevant as the funds are not disbursed according to how much it costs to make the repairs. Thus, I don't see a basis for the Association to provide any owner with more than their share of the insurance proceeds.


The total awarded by the insurance for repairs is $2600.

Assume the reimbursable repair expenses are:

  • $25 for shareholder #1 and
  • $70 for shareholder #2
  • $5 for shareholder #3
  • Assume there are 23 other shareholders

There are two diametrically different interpretations of the opinion:

  1. Interpretation #1: distribution = ($2600/25)-unit's expenses = 4 different distribution amounts
  2. Interpretation #2: distribution = ($2600-all_expenses)/25 = 100 = same for all


  1. Can one of the interpretations be eliminated by the opinion?
  2. Which interpretation is the better fit and why?
  3. What is the meaning of 'common surplus' and how should this be calculated?

I leave it to the wisdom of the crowd to determine best fit. Thank you

  • Is this an assignement from a college or law school class? Sep 17, 2018 at 2:51
  • @BlueDogRanch No: it is not an academic problem. Looking forward to your insightful response
    – 411
    Sep 17, 2018 at 3:34

1 Answer 1


Apropos of the comment by @BlueBogRanch , I agree or posit that this definitely looks like a school assignment or test: the formatting, the wording of questions, and the lack of context despite asking us to

base your response solely on this information and not any other.

Based on the opinion excerpt, the meaning of surplus, and notions of insurance, (1) both Interpretations #1 and #2 are wrong; (2) the opinion excerpt is self-contradictory; and (3) having no access to other portions of the opinion makes it impossible to salvage what otherwise is a sample of judicial nonsense. In other words, both interpretations should be eliminated.

You really should post the link to that opinion. I know from personal experience that judges in the U.S. (for instance, Michigan) make nonsense statements --both in court and through opinions-- to justify sloppy rulings. If a judge truly wrote or rubber-stamped the excerpt you reproduce, then that judge really needs to be removed from judicial office for incompetent.

  • Thank you for clarifying the optics of the post. I have amended the OP to address the issues.
    – 411
    Sep 17, 2018 at 18:16

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