Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NJ Homeowners sue real estate agent for fraud

From the Daily Record:

Jury to decide what's in a name

A Morris County jury is expected to begin deciding today whether a real estate agent's description of a new home as being in Montville constitutes fraud because the new homeowners claimed they later discovered that it is in Towaco --which they claimed was a less prestigious location.

In their lawsuit, Theodore and Frances Vagias claimed in 2001 that they told Weichert Co. real estate agent Gabrielle Dingle that they were seeking a home in a prestigious community.

After looking at about eight homes, they settled on one for sale for $743,435 in a then-new development called Woodmont Court at Montville.

The Vagiases claimed that only after the purchase was completed did they find out that the home they were led to believe was in the Montville section of Montville Township -- which reflected the prestigious address they were seeking -- was in fact in the Towaco section of the township, which they claimed was less prestigious.

The location of the home, the couple claimed, would mean that their son would have to attend a different school than they were seeking -- one with a lesser reputation.
The case is being heard before Superior Court Judge Catherine M. Langlois in Morristown after the state appeals court overturned an earlier trial court dismissal of the case.

The Vagiases filed the original lawsuit in 2002 under the Consumer Fraud Act, claiming that Dingle's statements were intentionally misleading.

The trial judge ruled that Dingle's statements were an "omission," not an affirmative misstatement, according to the appeals court decision. The appeals court ruled that the Consumer Fraud Act prohibits both affirmative acts of deception and acts of omission "with intent that others rely on such concealment, suppression or omission."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only a moron could move to a town
or section without knowing.

Court should toss this one.

9/12/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These boundary lines are sometimes very misleading and the counties don't always do a good job at it either.

As much as I can't stand Weichert Co and think they are all a bunch of fruitcakes....they may have a point and could just say they were going with what the county maps have written.

Seller can say same thing too...

This could get ugly, start a snowball effect to other households.


9/12/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GSMLS.COM NNJ inventory - 32,035

Back over 32000!

9/12/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wouldn't rely on a used car salesman to honestly tell you whether a car he's peddling has been in a wreck, right? So why would anyone rely on a used house salesman for important information?

Yup - the court should toss it.

9/12/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger thatbigwindow said...

The family needs to end themselves.

9/12/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the Towaco section of Montville is bad??? What is wrong with these people? The whole area is nice.

9/12/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

The listings in and around "Princeton" are rampant with realtor deception as well.

9/12/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plaintiffs should heed the advice of Julius (Groucho) Marx: "I wouldn't join a club that would have me as a member." In other words, Montville wouldn't be as 'classy' if the plaintiffs actually lived there.

Many realtors are scum, but Grim often lays it all out there for all to see: "Caveat Emptor." Read the goddamn site assessment.


9/12/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GSMLS.COM NNJ inventory - 32,035

Gluts of invneotry piling up up and up.
Can we hit 40,000 by yearend?

Bad news grubbers.



9/12/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger lindsey said...

The first responder pretty much summed it up, but I need to vent.

There is no way the realtor doesn't win. The house is in Montville for chrissakes, it's not like its in another town.

How do you buy a house and not know where your kid will go to school?

Finally, what lowlife lawyer took this case? I know lawyers get a bad rap,but this is a case where they deserve it. The court should definitely throw it out, the lawyer should have thrown them out of his office.

9/12/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Skeptic said...

Every real estate listing in NJ usually lists 3 schools (junior, medium, high) to which the listed property is assigned to. These are the schools where the buyer’s children are supposed to go if he buys the property. It was the duty of both real estate agents (seller’s and buyer’s) to verify the school information before the seller’s agent listed the property and the buyer’s agent showed it to the buyers. Therefore, the family’s expectations were fully justified – they trusted the data that the agents presented to them. However, the tricky part is how to determine whether the agent(s) intentionally lied to them, or failed to perform their judiciary duty to verify the data, or just made an innocent mistake (error/omission). The error could occur just because the property was located in the new development and the municipality could reassign the school. The attorney can easily find it out during the discovery process. Anyway, IMHO, the family clearly has a case and is entitled to the compensation for the value that they “lost” as a result of the agent’s misrepresentation of the facts. If that misrepresentation was willful (fraud), then the family is entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages; if it was just an innocent mistake, this can be settled out of court and paid by the broker’s E&O insurance. If the family is able to prove that the agent(s) actually committed fraud, this will definitely go to court, and the jury may assign significant (millions) punitive damages. Just my two cents 

9/12/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tomback said he gave the Vagiases a packet of information when they came to the on-site trailer before they bought the home. It included information from the Montville township government that indicated that the mailing address of the Vagiases' home was Towaco"

enough said

9/12/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The realtor has to be responsible...There is a vested interest in selling the property meaning there is a commission involved in the transaction...My old man always said: never listen to the salesman before buying something!

9/13/2006 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid people... what more can I say........ who cares

9/17/2006 11:33:00 AM  

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