Trial Win For Broker In 12 Story Condo Conversation/Asbestos Case
Billy Newcomb and Joe Kingma represented a Real Estate Brokerage sued when a 12 story condo conversion failed. The Plaintiff had purchased a portion of the building and sued the Brokerage, claiming it had known about the need for asbestos abatement but did not inform him. He was ultimately foreclosed on and faced a large deficiency. Plaintiff asserted he would not have bought into the building had he known of the asbestos. Plaintiff also argued that the Brokerage’s dual representation of both the seller and the buyer and the Brokerage’s prior purchase of several floors for its own account created conflicts of interest. A former Brokerage employee testified that the Brokerage’s own manual required disclosure of all known facts about asbestos, and the Plaintiff’s expert agreed. The trial judge denied the Brokerage’s motion for summary judgment, and the case went to trial on the Plaintiff’s fraud, negligence, breach of contract and statutory violation claims. The Plaintiff also sought his attorney’s fees and punitive damages. While acknowledging the Brokerage had not told its client all it knew about the asbestos, the defense focused on the Brokerage’s proximate cause argument. An artful timeline showed that the delay in renovations due to the asbestos was only 4-6 months, and it was really other developer delays and the general decline in the real estate market that caused the Plaintiff’s losses. The Plaintiff’s attorneys were formidable trial lawyers on their home court, but the jury was convinced the Plaintiff was personally responsible for his losses and rendered a complete defense verdict.