Appellate Division Holds That Buyer Can Sue Seller’s Broker For Failing To Relay Offer To Seller

by: Peter J. Gallagher (@pjsgallagher)

In a decision issued earlier this week, the Appellate Division reinstated a lawsuit against a real estate broker who failed to relay an offer from the buyer to its client, the seller. If you are thinking, as I was, "of course the court would do this, why wouldn't you be able to sue" then read on because the facts of the case make the trial court's decision to dismiss the complaint even more unbelievable. (Of course, at this point in the case, all we have are plaintiff’s allegations, which the court had to assume were true for purposes of evaluating the trial court’s decision on the motion to dismiss.)

In D'Agastino v. Gesher LLC, plaintiff wanted to buy a home in Jackson, New Jersey. The home, which had been foreclosed, was owned by the lender and was being offered for sale at $184,900. Plaintiff instructed his broker to contact the seller's broker and make an offer of $150,000. After receiving no response, plaintiff's broker faxed a written offer to the seller's broker, sent a confirming email to the broker, and eventually tried to contact the seller directly to confirm that the offer was received. None of these efforts were successful.

Seller's broker eventually responded and told plaintiff that the seller had lowered its price to $129,000 and suggested that plaintiff lower its bid. Plaintiff's broker said this "sounded fishy" and advised plaintiff not to lower the bid. Plaintiff took his broker's advice.

 

Continue reading “Appellate Division Holds That Buyer Can Sue Seller’s Broker For Failing To Relay Offer To Seller”

If Courts Awarded Points For Creativity, These Defendants Might Have Received A Few!

by: Peter J. Gallagher (@pjsgallagher)

Tax sale foreclosures are rarely that interesting. This is purely my opinion, and I understand that buying tax sale certificates can be a lucrative trade, but I think I am probably not alone in saying that the field tends to be a bit dry. This is not always the case, however, and the best proof of this might be the recent decision in Lien Times, LLC v. Rader. (It is not what makes the case interesting, but Lien Times is a great name for an entity that buys tax liens.)

Lien Times started out with a fairly routine set of facts. Defendants fell behind on the taxes for their home, so the township issued a Certificate of Sale for unpaid municipal tax liens. Plaintiff purchased the Certificate of Sale. Plaintiff eventually foreclosed on the lien and the property was auctioned at a sheriff's sale . This is where it gets interesting.

 

Continue reading “If Courts Awarded Points For Creativity, These Defendants Might Have Received A Few!”

“Put Your Makeup On, Fix Your Hair Up Pretty, And Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City.”

by:  Peter J. Gallagher

Apparently there is more than fist bumping (pumping?) going on "down the Shore."  The PropertyProf Blog has an interesting story about what it calls "A Non-Taking On The Jersey Shore."  If nothing else, the story gives me a work-related reason to go down to Atlantic City.  I don't really want to go down to the casinos, I have to do it for the sake of the blog . . .

The article tells the story of a tiny lot sandwiched in between Trump Plaza and Cesar's Palace.  It is zoned for gambling, which the post notes "doesn't exactly seem like the highest and best use."  But, the lot has some history, as it was at the center of a high-profile takings case from the early days of the once booming (now not really booming) gambling mecca:

Vera Coling and her husband bought the property in 1961, when Atlantic City was still a thriving beachtown. A decade later, as the city fell into decline, it made the drastic decision to legalize gambling and welcome big-time casino development.  The prime location of Coking's three-story house quickly attracted the interest of the real estate industry. In 1983, for example, Bob Guccione (the founder of Penthouse), offered to purchase the house for $1 million to build a casino. Coking said no.

Soon enough, the property attracted the attention of another tycoon – Donald Trump.  Unlike Guccione, Trump had the local redevelopment agency attempt to acquire the property through eminent domain for $250,000, a much reduced price.  Coking sued Trump and the redevelopment agency, claiming that the taking was not for a public purpose.  The Superior Court in New Jersey agreed with Coking.  It ruled that because there were few restrictions on what Trump could do with the property, there were "no assurances that the public interest will be protected."

The post notes that the arguments raised in the case are "[o]f historical interest for property profs" and other folks interested in takings, because it was "the Institute for Justice's first test case for the theories it later advanced in Kelo [v. City of New London]," the controversial eminent domain/takings case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court a few years back.

Also of historical interest is the interview with Donald Trump embedded in the post, which presents a much younger, pre-Apprentice, less coiffed, but no less pompous, version of the Donald. 

Finally, in case you are interested, the property is for sale.  Here is the listing.  It can be yours for only $5 million, or slightly less than what this guy took from the Tropicana in a marathon gamling session a few weeks ago.