Industry News

Court denies lawyer fees in real estate case

Appellate judges ruled that broker did not initially seek mediation

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A California appellate court reversed a lower court's ruling and recognized a California Association of Realtors mediation clause related to attorney fees in a real estate dispute. The broker who filed the lawsuit, Jay Lange, charged fraud, negligence, failure to disclose and suppression over a real estate transaction in which he purchased a property for himself. He filed the lawsuit in 2004 against Roxanne Schilling, a real estate agent, and her company, Segerstrom Real Estate Inc. The complaint centered on construction problems with the property and the level of the nearby lake. The lower court found that Lange was entitled to $13,475 in the case and $113,096.03 in lawyer fees, according to court documents. But on appeal, a panel of Third Appellate District Court judges found that a mediation provision in the real estate documents signed by Lange "bars recovery of any attorney fees by a prevailing party who does not first attempt mediation" prior to filing a laws...