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Lesniak v. Caulder: North Carolina Court Rules in Broker’s Favor, Citing Lack of Damages

September 1, 1998: 

Note: This case has not been included in an official reporter and may not be cited as legal authority. Consult with counsel before relying on this decision.

An unreported case decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, is a very favorable decision for the real estate licensee, but another court addressing similar issues might not reach the same conclusion.

Wells v. Poland: Neither Broker nor Property Owner Liable for Trespassers’ Injuries

September 1, 1998: 

This 1998 case out of Maryland involved a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland owned by David Polland. Polland had not seen the house in several years but was aware that it was in disrepair and had received notices from the city’s Code Enforcement Office about its dangerous condition. A Code Enforcement officer had put yellow "caution" tape across the front stairs of the house, which were deemed unsound, and had placed a sign on the house indicating that it was uninhabitable.

Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc.: Negligent Tenant Is Liable for Fire Damage

September 1, 1998: 

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of Idaho involved the liability of a tenant for fire damage. Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc. Empire Lumber Company owned a 32,000 square foot warehouse located in Post Falls, Idaho. It leased over a third of the space to Thermal-Dynamic Towers (“TDT”) for a short time while TDT was in the process of constructing its own facility. At the expiration of the initial term, the lease continued on a month-to-month basis.

New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. v. NEWMLS: MLS Dispute in New Jersey

September 1, 1998: 

In August 1998, the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (“NJMLS”) filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division - Bergen County, against NEWMLS, doing business as the Garden State Multiple Listing Service (“GSMLS”) and the real estate brokerage firms which own GSMLS. NJMLS is owned by the Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS®, Inc. and the West Bergen Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

Owen Wagener & Co. v. U.S. Bank: Broker Cannot Recover Commission From Bank in Foreclosure Situation

September 1, 1998: 

A recent Appellate Court of Illinois decision highlights important issues for brokers involved in foreclosure situations. Wagener v. U.S. Bank. In this case, Lewis Kaplan (the “Owner”) owned property located in Crestwood, Illinois. He fell behind on his mortgage payments to U.S. Bank (the “Bank”) and it began foreclosure proceedings. The Owner decided to sell the property, and in June, 1994, he entered into a listing agreement with Owen Wagener & Co. (the “Broker”), a real estate brokerage.

Lopata v. Miller: Maryland Court Holds That Subagents of Seller Did Not Have Duty to Verify for Buyers Acreage Information Provided By Seller

August 1, 1998: 

A 1998 Maryland case, Lopata v. Miller, stemmed from a discrepancy in the actual acreage of the property from what had been communicated to the buyers. Marcia and Edward Lopata (the “Buyers”) had asked two social acquaintances of theirs who were real estate salespeople (the “Salespeople”), to help them find a waterfront home with a variety of requirements, such as a deep-water slip for their sailboat.

Professional Property Management Services, Inc. v. Agler Green Townhouses, Inc.: Joint Venture Agreement Lending Ohio Firm’s Broker’s License to Michigan Entity Is Illegal and Agreement to Do so Is Void and Unenforceable

August 1, 1998: 

In a recent case, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that a joint venture agreement between a Michigan entity and an Ohio corporation which was intended to satisfy Ohio real estate brokerage licensing requirements failed to do so. Professional Property Management Services, Inc. v. Agler Green Townhouses, Inc.

Pearson v. Edgar: Illinois Antisolicitation Statute is Unconstitutional - U.S Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling

August 1, 1998: 

In an important victory for the real estate industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that the Illinois anti-solicitation statute (the “Statute”) is unconstitutional. To read an earlier summary of the case posted in The Letter of the Law and a more thorough discussion of the facts, click here.

Ladick v. Van Gemert: Condominium Assessment Is a “Debt” Under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

August 1, 1998: 

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”) was enacted to protect consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices. It regulates collections made by third parties, such as attorneys, on behalf of another, but it does not apply to the activities of a creditor collecting debts on its own behalf or to the creditor’s employees.

Schanz v. The Village Apartments: Refusal to Rent to Mentally Ill Individual Not Discriminatory

July 1, 1998: 

In a case of importance to residential landlords, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in favor of the landlord. Schanz v. The Village Apartments.