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Court Upholds Award of Approximately $350,000 to Real Estate Brokerage

A California appellate court recently upheld an award of approximately $350,000 to Coldwell Banker based on the express indemnity provision in the listing agreement. In Bardack v. Tomjanovich, the sellers were sued for failing to disclose reports they had regarding their property. The reports were not given to the buyers or their agent, Coldwell Banker. The buyers sued the sellers for nondisclosure. The sellers sued Coldwell Banker on a cross-complaint for indemnity. Coldwell Banker filed a cross-complaint against the sellers seeking reimbursement of attorneys’ fees under the express indemnity provision set forth in the California Association of Realtors’ Listing Agreement. The matter proceeded to trial. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs. However, the jury found Coldwell Banker had no liability. Coldwell Banker subsequently moved for its attorneys’ fees against the sellers. The trial court awarded approximately $350,000 in fees. The appellate court, in an unpublished decision, upheld the award.

While the decision was unpublished and therefore, we cannot rely upon it, it is a good indication of how a court would handle an award of attorneys’ fees where a seller fails to disclose reports. A complete and detailed summary of this case has been posted to the CRELA website.

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