Local real estate association wins federal copyright case

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal, Technology 

A federal district court in Florida has awarded $2.7 million to the Key West Association of REALTORS® Inc. in its copyright infringement action against Robert Allen. In finding for the association and imposing such a large award, the court sent a strong message on behalf of copyright owners, said Attorney Steven Robert Kozlowski, who represented KWAR in the case. Read More.

Relief for Kentucky homeowners tops $61M under National Mortgage Settlement

May 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal, Mortgage 

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers continue to provide direct relief to homeowners in Kentucky and across the country as part of the historic national mortgage foreclosure settlement. According to the fourth post-settlement report released today by the independent settlement monitor, 1,757 Kentucky homeowners received more than $61.1 million in settlement-related relief from Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, Chase and Wells Fargo through March 31, 2013. Borrowers received an average of $34,806 in assistance.

The report also shows that as of March 31, 2013, mortgage servicers were processing additional relief claims for Kentucky borrowers totaling more than $2.1 million, bringing Kentucky’s total consumer relief to $63.2 million. The report compiles information provided by the servicers and has yet to be verified by the compliance monitor. Read More.

Fraud lawsuit dismissed for lack of harm

May 15, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

A New York court has examined a sellers’ lawsuit for fraud against a real estate professional who presented them with a fabricated purchase offer.

In 2006, Stephen and Janet Alikes (“Sellers”) entered into a listing agreement to sell their home. The court noted that Stephen was a retired attorney who had practiced law for 45 years, while Janet was a retired paralegal who had specialized in real estate law and had also once held a real estate license. The real estate professional who represented the Sellers was Shari Reals (“Salesperson”), whose license was eventually held by Andy Griffith Realty (“Brokerage”). Read More.

Broker wins lawsuit over escrow retention

April 26, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

A Massachusetts court has considered whether a broker properly retained a share of the escrowed funds when transaction failed to close.

Lee Kupperstein died, leaving her three children (Joel, Robert, and Gordon) to divide her estate (“Estate”). All three children were co-executors of the estate.

One item in the Estate was a condominium that she owned. The Estate listed the condominium for sale with Susan Baum (“Broker”) of Berkshire Homes and Condos (“Brokerage”). The listing agreement contained a clause which stated that if a buyer defaulted on the purchase contract and forfeited the earnest money held in escrow by the Broker, then the “Broker shall be entitled to retain up one-half (1/2) of the Seller’s retained damages, up to an amount not exceeding the full brokerage fee due, in payment of services, advertising, and other expenses.” Read More.

Award for MLS violations upheld

April 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

A Pennsylvania court has considered whether a MLS participant was properly sanctioned for violating a stipulation agreement he entered into with a REALTOR® association.

In 2007, Thomas Wilkins (“Broker”) filed a lawsuit against the Pike/Wayne Association of REALTORS® (“Association”) after the Association removed some of the Broker’s listings from the Association’s multiple listing service (“MLS”) that were listings of non-MLS participants. The parties entered into a settlement agreement (“Stipulation”) that was filed with the court. In the Stipulation, the Broker agreed to: abide by the MLS’s rules; provide the Association with a verification form for all listing agreements; and he would only place listings into the MLS secured by him. Read More.

Court to look into negligent misrepresentation charge

March 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

An Ohio appellate court has considered whether a buyer’s action for misrepresentation against a brokerage and its salesperson could proceed when the salesperson incorrectly told the buyer that she could lease the property to third-parties after purchase.

In March 2010, Billie Levert-Hill (“Buyer”) contacted real estate professional Jason Caccamo (“Salesperson”) of Associated Holding Group, LLC, d/b/a Prudential Select Properties (“Brokerage”) about her interest in one of the Salesperson’s listings. She told the Salesperson that she planned to purchase the property as an investment and would lease the property following purchase. Read More.

Agent dismissed from fair housing lawsuit

March 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal, Technology 

A Tampa, Fla., real estate professional has been dismissed from a complaint filed by a fair housing tester in November 2012, says National Association of REALTORS® General Counsel Laurie Janik. His case generated attention online and off this week after he posted an account of the resulting legal and financial complications on real estate social media site ActiveRain.

“What started out as blog post that I thought would get maybe 20 replies ended up blowing up and going viral,” says Jeff Launiere, the practitioner originally named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff — an independent real estate tester — found language on a listing on realtor.com® that she believed violated the Federal Fair Housing Act, Janik says. Specifically, the property description mentioned that it was for “adults only… no children under 16,” yet it was not in a designated 55-plus community. Read More.

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Court considers when commission is earned

March 5, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

An Iowa court has considered whether a salesperson was entitled to receive her usual commission split for transactions that were under contract when she left the brokerage but had not yet closed.

Jo Ernst (“Salesperson”) has worked part-time as a real estate salesperson since 1987. Over the years, she has affiliated her license with a few different brokerages, as required by state law. In 1990, she affiliated with The Craven Agency. In 2007, broker Bruce Engel (“Broker”) of the Engel Agency (“Brokerage”) purchased the The Craven Agency, and the Salesperson transferred her license to the Brokerage and continued to work out of that office. There was no written agreement establishing the terms of the relationship between the Brokerage and the Salesperson over the payment of commissions, including the time when commissions were earned. Read More.

Liability for purchase not subject to sale

March 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal 

A Nevada’s highest court has considered whether to uphold a jury verdict against a real estate professional over allegations that she failed to make a subsequent purchase contingent on the sale of a residence.

Kristen Beling and William Dougherty, Jr. (collectively, “Doughertys”) decided to sell their home in Augusta (“Augusta Property”) and build a new home in a development. They entered into a listing agreement with Cheryl Davis (“Davis”) of Triple Win, LLC d/b/a Platinum Properties GMAC Real Estate (“Brokerage”) to sell their existing home. The Doughertys planned to use the proceeds from the sale of the Augusta Property to finance the construction of their new home. Read More.

Relief for Kentucky homeownwers tops $55M under National Mortgage Settlement

February 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Legal, Mortgage 

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers continue to provide direct relief to homeowners in Kentucky and across the country as part of the historic national mortgage foreclosure settlement. According to the third post-settlement report released today by the independent settlement monitor, 1,562 Kentucky homeowners received more than $55.5 million in settlement-related relief from Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, Chase and Wells Fargo through December 31, 2012. Borrowers received an average of $35,534 in assistance. Read More.

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