Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Horiike v. Coldwell Banker (Cal. Ct. App. - April 9, 2014)

I'm not sure how the trial court could make such a basic error.  Everyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of real estate law knows that a broker owes fiduciary duties to his client.  So when a real estate broker serves as a dual agent for the buyer and seller -- even when a different salesperson with the broker represents each party -- that doesn't diminish the duty.  The broker owes the duty and each salesperson with the broker owes the duty.

How the trial court couldn't figure that one out is beyond me.  Regardless, it's not beyond the Court of Appeal.  Which reverses and remands.

The trial court granted a nonsuit on the ground that the broker couldn't be liable for the acts of the "seller's" salesperson that violated its fiduciary duty to the buyer, and gave similar jury instructions.  Not so.  To repeat:  Everyone's got a duty.

Sometimes your successful persuasion of the trial court simply imperils your subsequent victory in front of the jury.  That's exactly what happens here.