Broker Alert –Supreme Court DecisionA long-awaited Supreme Court Decision has saved brokers and their clients from potential uncertainties in their relationships and will prevent increased broker liability by reinforcing the legal duties of brokers in state statute rather than unknown and unpredictable “common law” duties.
The Washington State Supreme Court released its decision in Jackowski v. Borchelt et al., a long-awaited case regarding real estate broker liability.
While the case involved a number of legal questions, the Supreme Court sided with the position argued by Washington REALTORS® that the duties of real estate brokers are those statutory duties established by the State Legislature in the real estate agency law, Chapter 18.86 RCW, and that brokers are not subject to in consistent common law fiduciary duties:
“Thus, although RCW 18.86.110 retains the common law to the extent it is not inconsistent with chapter 18.86 RCW, the legislature redefined the duties of real estate brokers . . . In adopting this statutory scheme, the legislature changed some of the common law fiduciary duties of real estate licensees and codified other pre-existing duties.” – Jackowski Opinion, at 12.
Washington REALTORS® filed amicus briefs before both the Court of Appeals and Washington Supreme Court, and worked closely with leading industry attorneys on this case over past three years.
“The Supreme Court’s decision protects our members from increased liability, and preserves the very reason why REALTORS® advocated for the creation of the real estate agency law. It also provides certainty regarding the nature of the relationship between REALTORS® and our clients and customers. This is big victory for the real estate industry and for consumers,” said Faye Nelson, REALTORS® 2012 President.
The case also involved a number of other important legal issues for real estate brokers that will now be closely analyzed by real estate industry attorneys. Brokers should review this case with legal counsel to understand its implications.
Read the decision HERE.
Download the decision HERE.
Watch the WAR video discussing the decision HERE.