Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hillis v. Lake case brief

Hillis v. Lake421 Mass. 537

Appellant agents challenged the decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which reversed the trial court's judgment that the agents were entitled to a commission from appellee sellers on a sale of real estate.

-The sellers entered into an agreement for the agents to serve as exclusive brokers for their property. -The agents obtained a buyer, but after hazardous materials were found, the buyer's investor and its mortgagor withdrew from the project.
-The buyer located another investor, and the sellers also purchased an interest in the project.
-After the sellers could not produce certification that the contamination had been cleaned up, the sellers repurchased the property and discharged the mortgage.
-The agents brought an action against the sellers to recover their commissions.
-The trial court concluded that the agents were entitled to a commission with interest and, on the finding of a violation of Mass. Gen. Law ch. 93A, an award of attorney's fees.
-The appeals court reversed.
-On appeal, the court affirmed the appeals court's decision and reversed the judgment of the trial court.
-The court held that the conditions for payment of a broker's commission were not met because no closing occurred.


-When a broker is engaged by an owner of property to find a purchaser for it, the broker earns his commission when (a) he produces a purchaser ready, willing and able to buy on the terms fixed by the owner, (b) the purchaser enters into a binding contract with the owner to do so, and (c) the purchaser completes the transaction by closing the title in accordance with the provisions of the contract.
-The requirement that the sale actually be consummated, however, is subject to an exception.
-A broker has an enforceable claim when the first two requirements are met but the failure of completion of the contract results from the wrongful act or interference of the seller.
-Ordinarily, when an owner of property lists it with a broker for sale, his expectation is that the money for the payment of commission will come out of the proceeds of the sale.
-Brokers also have legitimate expectations, and if the broker brings the parties together on mutually acceptable terms he expects a commission for his labor.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the appellate court's reversal of the trial court's judgment in favor of the agents in an action to recover commission from the sellers of real estate.

Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...