Friday, January 25, 2008

Real Estate Brokers Stem The Tide, For A Day

The Widget:

Court: Appeals Court
Judge: Kantrowitz
Subject: Real estate broker blunders
Tone: Even-handed
Importance: 5.2

An old saying in Alabama goes “Thank God for Mississippi! As professions go, it would not be surprising if lawyers started declaring “Thank God for real estate brokers!”*

Today offered a respite from brokers’ well publicized tales of woe. In Quinlan v. Clasby, No. 06-P-1500, the Appeals Court decided that a broker could not be liable under the Commonwealth’s unfair business practices statute for getting a South Boston four family’s zoning classification wrong in advertisements.

Cosmically, the plaintiffs sure deserved to lose. Though this was a pretty straightforward dispute, they included an emotional distress claim. Emotional distress? Because you sold an investment property for less than you thought you could? A novel theory.

*For the record, Decisionism thinks that like (ahem) most other professions, a few bad apples give the vast majority of real estate brokers – an honest, diligent, pleasant bunch – a bad rap.

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