Legal Case Summaries

Case summaries are provided for educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for legal advice by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Case law may change over time, so be sure to confirm a case is still good law. 

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In Menzel v. Morse, the Supreme Court of Iowa addressed the issues of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. The court found that the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) was the standard for determining a broker's negligence. Further, the court held that conduct between the parties can constitute an implied agency relationship with attendant fiduciary duties...

Article 11 (excerpt): REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such...

In Leo v. Neill, the Supreme Court of Alabama addressed the issue of reliance in the context of MLS errors. The court concluded that where purchasers do not reasonably rely on MLS information, they may not recover damages, even though the information is actually in error.

On April 12, 1979, Neill (buyer) purchased a house in Huntsville, AL. Mary Leo, d/b/a The Leo Agency, was the...

In Jorgensen Realty, Inc. v. Box, Jorgensen Realty appealed an order confirming a Board arbitration award. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed that the Board had legally arbitrated an inter-member dispute.

Jorgensen, Box, McClintock, and The Frederick R. Ross Investment Co. (FRIC) were members of the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR). A commission...

In Farnsworth Samuel Limited v. Grant, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana addressed the issue of procuring cause in the sale of property. The court found that although the sale occurred outside of the listing agreement and extension periods, because broker initially introduced the buyer to the property and assisted in the original bid, which differed from the final bid by...

In 1985, the Supreme Court of Washington held that a real estate agent does not commit the unauthorized practice of law by completing a pre-printed earnest money agreement, provided the transaction is simple and the form was drafted by an attorney. The court held that in drafting such agreements and their addenda, an agent is held to the standard of care of a practicing attorney. Because the...

Prior to the enactment of the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 adding handicapped to the protected classes, the Supreme Court addressed the applicable standard of review for alleged Equal Protection clause violations against mentally retarded people in the case City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center. The Court held that a city ordinance violated the Equal...

In Carl Sandburg Village Condominium Assciation No. 1 v. First Condominium Devel. Co., the Seventh Circuit addressed tying arrangements concerning the sale of condominiums and the use of a particular management company. The court held that the plaintiffs failed to show that the developers sold both the tied and tying product or service, and that no Sherman Antitrust Act...

In Award Realty v. Copeland, the Supreme Court of Tennessee addressed the issue of dual agency. Based upon the specific facts of the case, the court held that the broker acted only on behalf of the vendor and, as such, was entitled to a commission.

In October 1982, Copeland spoke with Silver, a broker at Award Realty (Award), and advised him he was interested in...

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