Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zere Real Estate Services v. Parr General Contracting case brief

 Zere Real Estate Services v. Parr General Contracting

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Defendants, a general contractor and his companies (GC), appealed a judgment entered by the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, New York, for plaintiff commercial real estate broker in a quantum meruit action awarding the broker commissions of $ 307,000. The broker cross-appealed the judgment insofar as it limited its award to 1.5 percent of the value of the initial construction cost of the project.


-This action arose out of a dispute between Marie Zere, a New York licensed commercial real estate broker and owner of the plaintiff,  Zere Real Estate Services, Inc. and Ronald Parr, president and sole shareholder of the defendants, Parr General Contracting Company, Inc. over what role, if any, Zere played in the retention, in January 2005, of Parr Organization, Inc., as the general contractor supervising construction of the Touro Law Center (hereinafter the project) in Central Islip. By order dated January 14, 2011, the Supreme Court directed the dismissal of the complaint insofar as asserted against Ronald Parr, individually.

-The appellate court held that the action was not time-barred under CPLR 203(a).
-The action accrued with the execution of the contract between the GC and a law school since only then did the broker have a legal right to demand payment. The claim accrued less than six years before the suit was filed. The GC's challenge the sufficiency of the evidence was unpreserved. The trial court's findings were not contrary to the weight of the evidence. The broker provided brokerage services to the GC in connection with the project. The GC accepted those services, which ultimately resulted in the award of the construction contract to the GC. Both the broker and the GC expected that, if the deal went through, the broker would be compensated for services rendered, as evidenced by a letter from the GC to the broker. The evidence also included recordings of telephone conversations between the broker and the GC, recorded without the GC's knowledge, in which the GC acknowledged the broker's role in bringing about the contract. The appellate court deferred to the trial court's decision to credit the testimony of the GC's expert that the broker was entitled to a 1.5 percent commission.

CONCLUSION: The judgment was affirmed.

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