Note: NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice were revised, renumbered and reformatted in 1995. The following cases have been organized according to the revised numbering of the Articles of the Code of Ethics. Where a summary of a case includes a reference to an Article of the Code of Ethics, both the original and revised numbering are noted. Only the current versions of the texts of Articles are used to introduce each Article in the outline below.
Bauman v. Nutter: Iowa Court of Appeals Holds That an Agency/Principal Relationship May Be Implied From the Parties' Words or Conduct
In Bauman v. Nutter, the Court of Appeals of Iowa addressed the issues of implied agency and specific performance. The court held that an agent/principal relationship may be implied from the parties' words or conduct and the circumstances of a particular case, and that specific performance will be denied to the principal where the agent induces the seller to sign a contract with mistaken terms.
Allegheny Pittsburg Coal Co. v. County Comm'n of Webster County, WV: United States Supreme Court Finds County Assessor's Methods Unconstitutional
In Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Company v. County Comm’n of Webster County, WV, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the defendant's method of assessing real property violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
Berke v. Nan Hecht: Court Declined to Compel Board to Arbitrate Dispute Between Members After Board Declined
In Berke v. Nan Hecht, The Realty Investment Co., The Realty Investment Company (TRI) appealed from a court order denying its petition to compel the Board to arbitrate a dispute between it and another Board member, Berke. The facts of the case are complex but the key issue on appeal was whether, and to what extent, the Board had the power to decline to arbitrate their dispute. Ultimately, the California Appellate Department of the Superior Court affirmed the trial court's order denying TRI's request to compel arbitration.
Cardinal v. Merrill Lynch Realty/Burnet, Inc.: Minnesota Supreme Court Finds Broker Providing Closing Services Not Engaged in Unauthorized Practice of Law
In 1989 the Supreme Court of Minnesota addressed whether a real estate broker had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The court held that by charging a separate fee for closing services in an ordinary real residential real estate transaction which presented neither difficult nor doubtful questions, the broker did not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.
In C.B. Snyder Realty, Inc. v. BMW, the Superior Court of New Jersey addressed allegations by a broker against a client/lessee for intentional interference with contract. The court held that the lessee did not interfere with the broker’s contract with the lessor as the lessee did not act maliciously or for financial gain when it closed the deal through another broker.
Note: This case is not published in an official reporter and may not be cited as authority. Consult with counsel before relying on this case.
The Ohio Court of Common Pleas granted the Columbus Board of REALTORS® (the "Board") motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's complaint seeking reversal of the Board's arbitration award. The court held that absent a showing of fraud or bad faith, the award rendered by the Board in a voluntarily entered arbitration matter would be enforced.
People v. Colorado Springs BOR: Colorado Supreme Court Determines Membership-Based MLS Access Unlawfully Restricts Trade
In People v. Colorado Springs Board of REALTORS®, the Colorado Supreme Court addressed the reasonableness of Board membership criteria as it related to MLS access. The court held that membership criteria which gave a Board the means to restrict access to the MLS were potentially anti-competitive and constituted an impermissible group boycott under Rule of Reason analysis.
Rock Island Coutny BOR v. Cuchra: Illinois Court of Appeal Upholds Board's Suspension of Member for Violating Code of Ethics
In 1988 the Appellate Court of Illinois addressed the 90-day suspension of a Board member for Code of Ethics violations. The court held that the defendant had proper notice of the alleged ethics violations and that the Board's Code of Ethics was not vague.
Howerin Residential Sales v. Century Realty of Tidewater: Virginia Supreme Court Establishes Standard of Review of Arbitration Award
In Howerin Residential Sales Corp. v. Century Realty of Tidewater, Inc., the Supreme Court of Virginia addressed the validity of a REALTOR® board (the "Board") arbitration award. After noting the limited grounds upon which an arbitration award may be vacated, the state supreme court reversed the trial court's decision to vacate the award.