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$________ Alleged fraud in sale of condominium unit - Breach of fiduciary duty - Claimed concealment of known structural defects.

Philadelphia County

The plaintiff in this action was a female who purchased a Philadelphia Condominium unit from the defendant sellers. Other defendants in the case included the realtor involved, her real estate agency and the condominium association. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants intentionally concealed the known structural defects of the unit prior to the sale. The plaintiff’s complaint included counts of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, violation of the Sellers’ Disclosure Act, violation of the Uniform Condominium Act and common law negligence. The defendants denied that there were defects in the structural integrity of the condominium unit.

The plaintiff had a home inspection of the interior of the unit prior to closing. She claimed that, after moving into the unit, she learned of significant exterior defects in the unit’s structural integrity. The plaintiff claimed there was significant erosion undermining the foundation of the building.

The plaintiff testified she learned of the structural problems during a meeting of the defendant condominium association. The plaintiff called a former property manager who testified that a storage room behind the plaintiff’s third floor unit had required repairs to reattach it to the building.

The plaintiff contended that the Real Estate Disclosure Act (requiring the seller to disclose any known defects of the property), which had been prepared by the defendant realtor, was missing the section dealing with structural defects.

The plaintiff testified she also learned that the defendant condominium association was facing financial difficulties and was unable to properly maintain the common areas. The plaintiff claimed $________ in damages for expenses associated with acquiring a mortgage, moving from the unit and storage.

The defendants maintained that there was nothing wrong with the building nor the finances of the defendant condominium association and, in fact, property values in the complex were increasing. The defense argued that the plaintiff had sold her unit, a year after purchasing it, for a profit.

The defendant sellers testified that they spent much of their time at a second home in Sea Isle City and were unaware of any defects of the condominium unit. The sellers testified that, had they been presented with the section of the Real Estate Disclosure statement dealing with structural defects, they would not have listed any defects. The sellers admitted knowledge of repairs to the storage room.

After a four-day trial, the jury was asked to complete a 28- question interrogatory form. The jury found for the defendant sellers on all counts. It found that the defendant realtor violated the Real Estate Sellers’ Disclosure Act, breached a fiduciary duty owed to the plaintiff and was negligent. The jury awarded $________ against the realtor ($________ against the realtor individually and $________ against her real estate agency) for breach of fiduciary duty. It awarded an additional $________ against the realtor on the negligence count. The jury found that the realtor’s violation of the Sellers Disclosure Act was not a factual cause of damages to the plaintiff. The jury additionally found that the defendant condominium association breached a duty to the plaintiff by not providing the most recent balance sheets and income and expense statement of the association. However, the jury found that this breach did not cause damages to the plaintiff. Post-trial motions are currently pending.

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