Cultom v. Heritage House Realtors: Washington Supreme Court Finds Broker Not Engaged in Unauthorized Practice of Law Upon Completing Pre-Printed Earnest Money Agreement
In 1985, the Supreme Court of Washington held that a real estate agent does not commit the unauthorized practice of law by completing a pre-printed earnest money agreement, provided the transaction is simple and the form was drafted by an attorney. The court held that in drafting such agreements and their addenda, an agent is held to the standard of care of a practicing attorney. Because the agent failed to follow the instructions of the client, she was held liable for damages and interest.
City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center: Supreme Court Uses Equal Protection to Stop Discrimination Against Handicapped Persons
Prior to the enactment of the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 adding handicapped to the protected classes, the Supreme Court addressed the applicable standard of review for alleged Equal Protection clause violations against mentally retarded people in the case City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center. The Court held that a city ordinance violated the Equal Protection clause, as there was not a rational relation between the ordinance and legitimate state interests.
Carl Sandburg Village Condominium v. First Condominium Development: Federal Court Finds No Tying Arrangement Between Condominium Developer and Management Company
In Carl Sandburg Village Condominium Assciation No. 1 v. First Condominium Devel. Co., the Seventh Circuit addressed tying arrangements concerning the sale of condominiums and the use of a particular management company. The court held that the plaintiffs failed to show that the developers sold both the tied and tying product or service, and that no Sherman Antitrust Act violation had occurred.
In Award Realty v. Copeland, the Supreme Court of Tennessee addressed the issue of dual agency. Based upon the specific facts of the case, the court held that the broker acted only on behalf of the vendor and, as such, was entitled to a commission.
In People v. Natoinal Association of Realtors® (San Diego II), the California Court of Appeal held that the San Diego Board of REALTORS® created an illegal tying arrangement when it conditioned participation in its multiple listing service on Board membership.
In U.S. v. Graham Mortgage Corp., a 1984 case, the Sixth Circuit addressed alleged violations of 12 U.S.C. section 2607(a) (section 8(a) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA)). The court reversed the criminal conviction of the appellants, as it found that the plain language and legislative history of RESPA did not indicate an intent to include the making of a mortgage loan within the definition of "settlement services."
Easton v. Strassburger: California Court of Appeals Reviews Applicability of Article 2 NAR Code of Ethics
Article 2: REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency duties owed to their clients.
Ballo v. James S. Black: Washington Court Finds That Developers Involved in Joint Venture Did Not Violate Antitrust Laws
In Ballo v. James S. Black Co., the Court of Appeals of Washington addressed tying arrangements and price-fixing in the context of joint ventures. The court held that developers who set the sale price of lots in a subdivision, and who required a six percent sales commission, did not violate antitrust law where the land they owned was part of a joint venture and occupied a small portion of the relevant market.
In Zoda v. Eckert, the Court of Appeals of Washington addressed questions regarding MLS errors, "As Is Move-in agreements," and whether a real estate salesperson purchasing a house for personal use was an agent of the seller. The court held that a real estate agent who purchases a home for her own use did not have an independent duty to inspect information in a MLS and was not an agent of the seller.
U-Haul of W.Georgia v. Dillard Paper: Georgia Supreme Court Holds Broker's Statements Regarding Property Condition to Be Expressions of Opnion and Sales Puffing
Broker was not liable for representing warehouse building as in excellent condition, well-maintained, and sound, where three years after sale, building was discovered to have bowed walls in danger of collapse. Broker's statements were expressions of opinion and sales puffing, and buyer could have discovered defects by exercising ordinary diligence and having professional inspection performed.
U-Haul Co. of Western Georgia v. Dillard Paper Co., 169 Ga. App. 280, 312 S.E.2d 618 (Ga. Ct. App. 1983).