No Duty to Contact Former Client

Read the full decision: Kim v. Park, 772 S.E.2d 799 (Ga. Ct. App. 2015).

A Georgia court has considered allegations against a real estate professional brought by a former client claiming that the real estate professional had a duty to notify him that a caller had sought his contact information, as the caller was a process server and later a default judgment was entered against the former client.

Hyoung Kim (“Owner”) entered into a property management agreement with Global Brokers, Inc. (“Brokerage”) to manage several properties that he owned.  A group of tenants filed a lawsuit against the Owner alleging mold problems in their home.  In April 2010, the Owner terminated the Brokerage’s management agreement.

In May 2010, the Brokerage received a phone call asking for the Owner’s home address.  The caller did not explain the purpose of the call.  Because the Brokerage was no longer working for the Owner, the Brokerage did not notify the Owner about the call and declined to provide the Owner’s address to the caller.  The caller later turned out to be a process server attempting to serve the tenants’ lawsuit on the Owner.

In December 2010, a lower court entered a default judgment in the tenants’ lawsuit against the Owner in the amount of approximately $75,000.  In 2013, the Owner filed a lawsuit against the Brokerage, claiming that the Brokerage’s failure to notify the Owner about the phone call from the process server caused the default judgment against him.  Eventually, the trial court entered judgment against the Owner and the Owner appealed.

The Court of Appeals of Georgia affirmed the trial court’s judgment.  The trial court had ruled that because Brokerage was no longer representing the Owner and the process server had not stated the purpose of the call, the Brokerage had no duty to alert the Owner to the call.  The court agreed with this ruling, and so affirmed the ruling of the trial court.

Kim v. Park, 772 S.E.2d 799 (Ga. Ct. App. 2015).