Justice Hoffstadt begins today's opinion by saying:
"We are all familiar with the phrase, “caveat emptor”: Buyer beware.
This case deals with its less renowned cousin, “caveat sectorem”: Broker
Much less renowned.
The opinion is not even really about brokers having to be "beware". It's really about brokers having to follow the statute.
Section 1624 of the Civil Code says that a real estate broker can only be a broker for someone -- e.g., get a commission -- if there's an agreement in writing. The broker here didn't get a signed agreement authorizing his status as a broker, but instead relied upon an alleged oral agreement.
That's not good enough.
Which means he loses out on a $925,000 commission on a $45 million sale.
Yep. Follow the statute. Get the agreement in writing.