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March 16, 2011

Defense Verdict in Favor of Real Estate Broker

Sacramento Shareholder William A. Muñoz obtained a defense verdict in favor of his real estate broker client in a binding arbitration arising out of a failed real estate transaction. Mr. Muñoz’s client represented both the seller and buyer in the transaction.  A few weeks before the anticipated close of escrow, the buyer removed all contingencies and deposited the entire purchase price into escrow.  A few days before the closing date, the seller backed out of the transaction after the buyer refused to sign a hold harmless agreement with respect to future special assessments anticipated to complete capital improvements to the subject complex that the seller insisted upon him signing, although the buyer was fully apprised of, and agreed to pay, the special assessments.  Mr. Muñoz’s client filed suit against the seller for his commission and the seller cross-complained asserting claims of breach of fiduciary duty based upon, among other things, the dual representation and the purported failure to advise the buyer of the potential future assessments.  The arbitrator rejected the seller’s claims finding no breach of fiduciary duty under any theory.  The arbitrator awarded Mr. Munoz’s client his entire commission, interest, and attorney’s fees in prosecuting his commission claim.








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