No Real Estate Liability

Jeffrey P. Downer and Nicholas L. Jenkins obtained summary judgment for a buyer’s real estate broker in Woodcock v. Jenkins in King County Superior Court. Plaintiff buyer bought the home without a sewer line inspection. She noted raw sewage flowing from her crawl space four months later. The buyer sued her own real estate agent, claiming the agent negligently failed to advise her to obtain a sewer inspection. The real estate contract noted the buyer’s right to a sewer inspection, and recommended the buyer commission inspections as part of her due diligence. Further, the agent in fact set a sewer inspection and the seller confirmed but the buyer declined it. The buyer testified the agent orally discouraged her from having one, telling her, “the plumbing’s fine because the seller’s boyfriend’s a plumber.” The court dismissed Jeff and Nick’s client, reasoning the buyer was effectively alleging negligent misrepresentation, such claims require a representation of fact, the agent’s alleged statement was not a “fact,” and not one on which any person could reasonably rely.  The court also granted the defense request for leave to file a motion to recover its fees and costs, under the rules precluding baseless claims.

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