Realtors required to defend fraud claim
Frank and Tonya Alfieri sued Marc Bertonelli and others, including Coldwell Banker Weber Seiler Realtors, allegin fraud in the sale of a condominium. The Alfieris bought a condominium in an restored, previously abandoned factory. They alleged that the defendants failed to disclose that the factory, which had previously been contaminated with the chemical TCE, had not been adequately decontaminated.The defendants argued that they owed no duty to the purchasers as mere "agents" of the seller, and appealed the trial court's decision to the contrary. This week the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decsion. It pointed out that while the realtors owed no duty to investigate the condition of the condominiums, in the instant case it was alleged that they had received direct notice from the State Department of Environmental Quality confirming the fact that the Defendants' sales brochure contained false claims of remediation. Under these circumstances, it was a question of fact for the jury to determine whether the Defendants were guilty of silent fraud in failing to disclose material defects in the property.