Sunday, April 14, 2013

Petrillo v. Bachenberg case brief

Petrillo v. Bachenberg case brief summary
139 N.J. 472, 655 A.2d 1354 (1995)

An attorney sought review of the Superior Court of New Jesery.
The court had reversed the decision of the trial court below which stated that he owed no duty to a buyer in a real estate transaction.

The buyer claimed she was mislead by a percolation report that was written by the attorney and as a result was induced to purchase land that she would have not otherwise.
The trial court held that the attorney owned no duty to the buyer. 
However, the appeals court reversed and held that the attorney had a duty to not provide misleading information to potential buyers who the respondent knew (or should have knew) would rely on the information.

The court held that the objective purpose of documents such as title reports, letters of opinion, etc., as well as how much others may foreseeably rely on such letters, determines the scope of an attorney's duty in the preparation of such documents.

The respondent should have foreseen that his report would have been relied upon by a purchaser after he provided it to the real estate broker as well as further assumed a duty to the buyer to provide information that was reliable by his continuous involvement in the sale.

The judgement of the lower court was affirmed.

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