Archive - Real Estate Malpractice

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

September 25, 2017

Dismissal of Real Estate Case

Jeff Downer and Nicholas L. Jenkins secured voluntary dismissal of a professional malpractice claim against a real estate appraiser. Our appraiser client valued a four-unit apartment complex. The appraiser used comparative sales, income and cost appraisal methods. The bank loaned funds to the buyer who later sought to refinance the property. When the bank declined, the buyer sued, arguing the appraiser overstated the building’s square footage and therefore its value. Jeff and Nick argued the square footage calculations had no significant role in calculating value, and any causal connection between and the appraisal and the bank’s later decision was too speculative to litigate. The buyer voluntarily dismissed his case after receiving discovery requests that underscored the speculative nature of his liability and damage theories.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

Summary Judgement in Real Estate Case

Jeff Downer and James Graves won summary judgment in Shahbazian Trust v. Ocean Shores et al. in federal court. Plaintiff sued the seller of property and its real estate brokers, Jeff and James’s clients, for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty. Jeff and James argued that plaintiff could not prove justifiable reliance, a necessary element of the fraud and negligent-misrepresentation claims, and that claims of breach of fiduciary duty of a real estate broker have been abrogated by statute in Washington. The court agreed, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the action.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

Summary Judgement in Fraud Case

Joel E. Wright and James T. Graves won summary judgment in Fotinos v. Coldwell Banker Kline & Associates. Plaintiff sued his real estate brokerage and others for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and Consumer Protection Act violations. On behalf of the broker, Joel and James argued that plaintiff could not prove the necessary element of justifiable reliance, that the broker knew of the claimed defects, or essential elements of a CPA violation claim. The court agreed, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the action.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

August 21, 2017

Summary Judgment in Real Estate Case

Jeffrey P. Downer and James T. Graves won summary judgment in Shahbazian Trust v. Ocean Shores et al. in United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma. Plaintiff sued the seller of property and its real estate broker and brokerage, Jeff and James’s clients, for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty.  Jeff and James argued that plaintiff could not prove justifiable reliance, a necessary element of its fraud and negligent-misrepresentation claims, and that claims of breach of fiduciary duty of a real estate broker have been abrogated by statute in Washington. Judge Benjamin H. Settle agreed with Jeff and James, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the action.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

January 22, 2015

Sponsored Appraisal Institute’s Real Estate Conference

Lee Smart was a sponsor of the fall Real Estate Conference of the Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute that was held on October 2, 2014.  Lee Smart attorneys Joel Wright, Jeffrey Downer, Michelle Corsi, Rosemary Moore and Donna Young, among others, represent Washington appraisers in litigation and in disciplinary proceedings as part of Lee Smart’s real estate practice.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

November 19, 2013

Claims Dismissed Against Attorney/Trustee

Marc Rosenberg won summary judgment dismissal of claims brought by a plaintiff against an attorney/trustee for his role in a nonjudicial foreclosure proceeding in Freund v. Law Firm, Snohomish County Superior Court, cause no. 13-2-01911-4. Plaintiff alleged due process violations of the Washington Constitution, the Deeds of Trust Act, the Consumer Protection Act, and under theories of negligence, breach of contract, and to quiet title. Marc convinced the court that, as a matter of law, the Deeds of Trust Act comports with constitutional due process where the homeowner received notice and an opportunity to be heard, and that a breach of contract will not lie against a successor trustee that is not a party to the contract. Marc also convinced the court that the attorney had acted in good faith, and not in a way that was unfair or deceptive, leading to dismissal of the remaining claims.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

Dispute Litigated Between Two Brothers Ends Up In Dismissal

Kenneth E. Hepworth won summary judgment of dismissal in Grudzinski v. Grudzinski, a dispute between two brothers over the clean up of several parcels of land totaling 57.04 acres, which were previously owned by their mother.  After their mother’s estate closed, one of the brothers sued the other, Ken’s client, seeking $365,000 in damages related to construction debris on the property, as well as equitable relief related to the real property he received from their mother’s estate.  The lawsuit included a Model Toxics Control Act claim, as well as claims for negligence and equitable relief.  Ken successfully argued for dismissal of four of the five claims, except the cause of action for an implied easement, which was later dismissed by stipulation.  Ken defended the dismissal on appeal and it was affirmed by Division Three of the Court of Appeals.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

Department of Licensing Closes Case Alleging Professional Misconduct

Jeffrey P. Downer and Matthew J. McCarthy convinced the Washington Department of Licensing to dismiss Dept. of Licensing v. Gotch Masterson Realty.  The claimant purchased a foreclosed house being sold by a bank that was disclosed to be a sale in “as is” condition.  Then, the claimant alleged professional misconduct based on defects.  Jeff and Matt independently investigated events in this grievance and the claimant’s prior complaints against real estate professionals.  They submitted an analysis of the laws and regulations governing their clients’ conduct to the Department of Licensing.  The Department closed its investigation, concluding that no action should be taken against the brokers.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

October 29, 2013

Plaintiffs Failed to Mitigate Damages

Joel E. Wright and Rosemary J. Moore demonstrated the plaintiffs had failed to mitigate damages in Trudell v. XYZ in the Superior Court for Chelan County.  The plaintiffs alleged defendants negligently prepared of a Deed of Trust.  Joel and Rosemary argued that the plaintiffs had failed to mitigate their damages by moving for a writ of attachment when their property was sold, although they knew of the pending sale and knew the Trust and one of the trustees were based out of state.  The court agreed and dismissed the bulk of the plaintiffs’ claimed damages.

Lee Smart attorneys have extensive experience in the Areas of Practice shown to the right. Click on one to learn more about our expertise and our attorneys in that practice.

April 5, 2013

Fraudulent Concealment Claims

Jeffrey P. Downer and A. Janay Ferguson obtained summary judgment dismissal of fraudulent concealment claims against their client arising from a real estate transaction in Centralbanc v. Edwards.  Jeff and Janay prevailed on a motion to exclude all fact and expert witnesses who would have supported the plaintiff’s case because it failed to properly disclose any witnesses under the order setting case schedule.  They then won summary judgment of dismissal based on the plaintiff’s inability to present evidence to support its case at trial.

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