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August 2023

Gordon & Rees Phoenix Team Wins Summary Judgment Dismissal of Realtor Fraud Claims on Behalf of Client

Managing Partner Leon Silver, Associate Chanel Rizk, and paralegal Davina James obtained summary judgment in favor of Gordon & Rees' real estate broker and licensee clients in a AAA Arbitration case, resulting in the dismissal of the firm's clients from the case. 

The buyers of a home claimed they were fraudulently induced into the purchase by intentional misrepresentations and omissions regarding a litany of claimed defects with the property and the area in which the property sits. Stating claims for fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, the complaint alleged that the sellers and agent intentionally hid from the out-of-state buyers excessive noise from a nearby Air Force Base, dust and noise from a nearby sand and gravel operation, defects in the roof, plumbing, irrigation system, and swimming pool, and a half dozen other problems with the home. Because the buyers asked the sellers' agent to serve as a dual agent for the purposes of carrying offers back and forth, they alleged a heightened duty on the agent's part which gave rise to additional claims.  

The Phoenix team moved for summary judgment, demonstrating that none of the ten separate claims should survive, either as a matter of law (the home was not legally in the "vicinity" of the Air Force Base as that term is defined in Arizona statutes), as a matter of fact (there was no evidence that the agent had knowledge of a number of alleged defects or that the defects were actually disclosed), or due to having been waived in the purchase contract. To overcome the strong bias against summary judgment in arbitration proceedings, the team argued that even though the arbitration hearing was just weeks away, their client should not be required to prepare for and attend the planned three-day hearing. In a reasoned ruling, the arbitrator agreed with all of the motion’s arguments. While there was one ancillary claim that was not included in the motion, the ruling eliminated any potential damages for that claim.

As a result, Gordon & Rees' clients were able to reach a nuisance settlement to prevent any appeal or challenge to the ruling and avoid continued participation in the case.

Chanel A. R. Rizk