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Court of Appeals Affirms Judgment in Favor of Seller and Agent in Property Disclosure Case

The Eleventh District Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s granting of summary judgment against buyer plaintiffs who sued sellers and the sellers’ agent in a property disclosure case.  The buyers alleged various claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation for the sellers’ failure to disclose structural defects on the Residential Property Disclosure Form.  The sellers did disclose a history of water intrusion on the form but did not disclose any structural defects on the form.  As part of their due diligence, the buyers hired a home inspector and subsequently negotiated a $16,000.00 concession from the sellers to cover any structural issues resulting from the disclosed water intrusion.  The buyers proceeded with their purchase “AS/IS” with no warranties.  After the purchase the buyers discovered additional structural defects, the cost of which to repair exceeded the sellers’ concession.

The Court of Appeals considered whether the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the sellers and the sellers’ agents was proper.  On the negligence claims, the Court found that the sellers’ agent and sellers did not owe the buyers any fiduciary duties in the transaction and because the sale was “AS/IS”, the Court found that the buyers could not be liable for non-disclosure.  The Court also found that there was not any evidence that the sellers knew of the structural defects and failed to disclose them to the buyers.  The Court concluded that the trial court did not err in granting judgment to the sellers and the sellers’ agent.

The case is captioned Li-Conrad v. Curran, 2016-Ohio-1496.

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