Real Estate Brokers

Real estate brokers are obligated to provide buyers and sellers with full disclosure and honest information regarding real estate properties and transactions. Having defended and prosecuted real estate licensees for over 30 years, RHRC is well versed in the rights and remedies available to buyers and sellers who have suffered damages as a result of non-disclosure, misrepresentation, and violations of various codes and restrictions. RHRC enjoys a respected reputation in both successfully defending real estate brokers wrongfully accused of failing to meet their fiduciary duties or other obligations, as well as protecting the real estate investments of buyers and sellers from broker negligence and breach of fiduciary duties.

Our real estate attorneys are active in drafting many of the forms brokers use today. We know the fiduciary and licensing requirements for brokers, along with the types of damages and methods of recovery available to plaintiffs suing a broker for negligence or breach of fiduciary duty. RHRC's attorneys are expertly knowledgeable of the transactional forms and legal defenses that will best protect buyers and sellers, as well as a broker's real estate license.

RECENT CASES

Defended a real estate broker against action by the CA Department of Real Estate (DRE) seeking to revoke the broker's license has result for a conviction of shoplifting, and obtained a restricted license rather than revocation.

Defended a real estate broker against a revocation against brought by the DRE for multiple alleged violations of DRE regulations including claims for improper supervision of agents and trust fund violations, and obtained for the broker only a 90-day suspension which was stayed by the DRE.

Obtained a restricted license for a real estate salesperson applicant following denial of the license by the DRE due to prior felony convictions.

Obtained a restricted license for a real estate salesperson following an action by the DRE to revoke their license as a result of multiple misdemeanors involving alcohol and drugs.

In Re: Lee v. Slusher, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court Case No. HG05246095) Defended a mortgage broker who purchased property in lieu of foreclosing on his lien. More than three years after escrow closed, the seller claimed that the buyer failed to pay the full purchase price, and that her signature was forged on the deed. The notary, the escrow officer, and the title company all denied liability. A favorable settlement was reached.

In Re: Delman v. Nguyen (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 1-05-CV-051849). Defended a real estate brokerage and its agent against breach of fiduciary duty claims, among others, by a residential real estate buyer claiming that the purchased property was subject to an undisclosed prescriptive easement. Following mediation of the dispute, the buyer released all claims against the brokerage and its agent for nuisance value, opting instead to pursue his neighbors for trespass and encroachment.

In re: Crakow v. Giannell, et al. (Mediation). Defended a real estate brokerage and its agent relating to the sale of residential real property where the buyer claimed that certain flooding and noise nuisances were not disclosed during the underlying transaction. Following mediation of the dispute, wherein the brokerage and agent were defended on claims of breach of fiduciary duty, the case settled for nuisance value and fully resolved.

In Re: Tam v. Prestige Realty, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court Case #RG03080609). Arbitrated a case against sellers who tried to perform a "commissiondectomy" on the listing broker (refusing to pay the broker for services). The broker had an exclusive listing agreement and diligently marketed the property. Sellers, unbeknownst to the broker, entered into a purchase contract with one prospective buyer directly, cheating the broker of her commission. The broker sued for her full commission plus attorney's fees. After two days of arbitration, sellers realized they were losing the case and agreed to a mutually satisfactory settlement.

In Re: Dalton, Corbin v. Century 21 Alpha, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV-011268). In a two-week jury trial, successfully prosecuted a nondisclosure case for buyers of residential real property. The sellers of the Morgan Hill property failed to disclose that it was on a septic system, and it was established at trial that the transfer disclosure statement was actually completed by sellers' agents. The jury found against the agents for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty, and the agents were held responsible for all of buyers' damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.

In Re: Smith v. DiNapoli (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV009914). Represented seller of high-end residential property suitable for subdividing against the real estate broker who acted as a dual agent in the transaction (representing both buyer and seller). The agent failed to properly prepare the contract providing seller would be paid additional compensation upon approval of the lot split. Seller recovered almost $1 million from the broker.

In Re: Michael Morter, et al. v. Thunderbird Realty, et al. (Santa Cruz County Superior Court Case #CV136523). Obtained an arbitration award in excess of $1 million, including attorneys' fees, arising out of a real estate broker's failure to advise and counsel a home buyer of landslide potential in a mountain property.

In Re: Cleckley v. Coldwell Banker, Bergeson, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV815421, consolidated with Case #1-03-CV815422). Prosecuted a fraud and rescission claim on behalf of homebuyers against sellers and their real estate agents for failure to disclose past landslides. The firm obtained a confidential settlement on the eve of trial.

In re: Blickman Turkus v. M-F Downtown Sunnyvale, LLC., Mozart Development Company (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case # 1-03-CV-814344). Successfully defended major developer against commission claim purportedly earned for procuring a commercial tenant who, after signing a written Lease, two years later refused to occupy the premises or pay rent. The developer was able to defeat the commission claim by convincing the Trial Court, in two separate Summary Adjudication Motions, that the term "rent commencement" in the Commission Agreement with the broker constituted a condition precedent of payment of the commission and required actual payments of rent by the tenant which had never been paid.

In Re: Sayfie v. Franco (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-02-CV806533). Represented a buyer of a single-family home in San Jose against a real estate agent who acted as a dual agent in the transaction (representing both buyer and seller). The agent marketed and advertised the home as having four income-producing units, although he knew that due to zoning restrictions, the property was illegally zoned for the four rental units. The case settled for the full amount demanded - over $200,000 in lost income from the non-viable rental units.

In Re: Binell v. Greenfield, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 788929). Settled a nondisclosure case against the sellers of residential property in the Lexington Basin and their broker. Both sellers and their broker failed to disclose that sellers had improved the property in violation of local ordinances, despite knowing what the ordinances required. Buyers obtained a full settlement, including attorneys' fees.

In Re: Morris v. Taulbee, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case CV799421). Represented buyers against a seller and a dual agent who failed to disclose drainage and flooding problems. Seller's earlier letter to a neighbor buying a property next door warning him of the problems proved that she was aware of the problems yet failed to disclose them. Obtained an $85,000 settlement for the buyers.

In Re: Dunivin v. Nasmeh, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV787333). Represented sellers of residential real property in Saratoga. The buyer was a local real estate agent/developer. It was established in discovery that the buyer intended to defraud the sellers. The case settled for full value on the first day of trial.

In Re: Lively v. Heydarian, et al. (El Dorado County Superior Court Case #PC20000236). Represented buyers of a mini-mart/gasoline station who discovered just after escrow closed that sellers had not disclosed that the property was contaminated by gasoline leaks and that they were under state and county orders to monitor the spreading contamination. Successfully rescinded the transaction, obtaining all monies our clients had put into the property.

In Re: Fuller v. John V. Pinto & Associates, Inc., et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV766530, consolidated with #CV767682). Defended a seller against a claim brought by real estate broker suing for a commission, establishing that the realtor had breached his fiduciary duty.