Shannon B. Jones Law Group Successfully Defends Multi-Million Dollar Jury Trial

On October 18, 2012, a Contra Costa jury returned a defense verdict in favor of one of the Shannon B. Jones Law Group’s commercial real estate broker clients.  In that case, the plaintiff purchased a six-unit apartment building in Contra Costa County.  The seller had been cited by the City for various Building Code violations.  The seller agreed to undertake all of the repairs prior to the close of escrow.  The agent obtained a pest certificate confirming that all of the Section 1 work had been completed and a Certificate of Occupancy from the City confirming that all of the violations had been remedied.  After the close of escrow, the plaintiff allowed his girlfriend, who had no real property experience, to manage the property for him.  Three years later, the tenants started complaining about the living conditions.  They asserted claims such as:  cockroaches; holes in the walls allowing feral cats to run in and out of the building; mold; water intrusion; broken windows; loose electrical wires, which allowed the tenants’ children to be shocked; dry rot to the extent where a child put their foot through a hole in the floor; and other unsafe, uninhabitable conditions.

The plaintiff was sued by his tenants.  The plaintiff’s insurance company paid $60,000 to the tenants.  The plaintiff then pursued claims against the seller and the broker for indemnity and non-disclosure of the alleged conditions of the property.  The matter proceeded to trial on October 1, 2012.  Plaintiff claimed that the seller made misrepresentations regarding the condition of the building and whether the repairs had been done.  He also claimed that the agent concealed information regarding the City violations.

The court, before allowing the matter to proceed to a jury, granted a non-suit as to the seller on the grounds that the seller never had any direct communications with the buyer.  Therefore, the seller could not have made any material misrepresentations.  The court allowed the case to proceed to the jury as to the real estate broker and agent.

After a three-week trial, the jury found in favor of the brokerage and the agent on all claims.  In less than two hours, the jury voted 9-3 in favor of the agent and broker.  Shannon B. Jones tried the case, with the assistance of Hannah Shafsky, Marc Cardinal and support from the entire firm of Shannon B. Jones Law Group.


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