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February 2015

New York/New Jersey Team Wins Summary Judgment in a Personal Injury Action

On February 6, 2015 New York/New Jersey partner Robert Modica and associate Lauren Conston Wilke won summary judgment on behalf of their clients, a real estate agency and one of its agents.

The initial action filed by the plaintiffs, a family of tenants of a property the Gordon & Rees clients served as the real estate agent for, sought damages for personal injuries resulting from mold exposure against a residential property owner. In turn, the property owner initiated a third party action alleging that representations made by the Gordon & Rees clients regarding mold at the property negligently induced Plaintiffs to enter into the lease agreement with the property owner. Accordingly, the property owner claimed that the Gordon & Rees clients were liable for contribution.

After oral argument, the court held that there was never an agreement between Plaintiffs and the real estate agency/agent to inspect for mold. Additionally, the court found that Plaintiffs could not have relied upon any alleged representation as to whether mold existed at the time the lease was signed because the plaintiffs testified at their depositions that the Gordon & Rees clients never made any representations. Finally, the court determined that there was no evidence as to when the alleged mold condition started, or whether there was a mold condition at the property prior to the time the lease was signed.

Based upon the foregoing, the court held that the property owner could not maintain a cause of action against the Gordon & Rees clients and dismissed the action in its entirety.

Lauren Conston Wilke