BrokerageIndustry News

Agency issues are a legal hotbed for real estate

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Commission disputes, property-condition disclosure and agency issues are the most common source of lawsuits for the real estate industry, according to a report prepared for the National Association of Realtors trade group. The 2007 Legal Scan also found that cases involving fraud and deceptive practices, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract were the source of the most damage awards. Report findings are based on an analysis of 655 lawsuits and jury-verdict reports. Commission disputes were at the center of 153 of the cases, compared with 132 cases relating to property-condition disclosure and 100 relating to agency issues. The most costly damage award stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the former employee of a Rapid City, S.D., property management firm against that company, Barker & Little Inc., and owner Douglas Hamilton. The employee was awarded $4.16 million in that case. Other costly damage awards related to a case in which the highest bid ...