Nathaniel Lucey and Von Reyes Prevail in Six Day Bench Trial
Senior Associate Nathaniel Lucey and Partner Von Reyes have obtained a defense verdict in a six day bench trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court. In the case of Diri v. Nuovoplaintiff/buyer Diri sued seller/defendant Nuovo for Fraud, Breach of Contract and Negligence in connection with the 2010 purchase of an 85 year old home in Willow Glen, California. Plaintiff Diri claimed that the seller had failed to disclose numerous problems with the home, including serious structural issues, a sagging roof and a collapsing garage. In reaching its decision, the court agreed with the defendant that all of the defects were known to the buyer before close of escrow on the purchase.
Even before signing the purchase agreement, the buyer had noted multiple issues with the home. During the escrow period the buyer conducted several inspections herself and hired home and roof inspectors to investigate the property. Her investigations revealed foundation problems, a severely leaning garage and visible sagging of the roofline due to framing issues. The buyer acknowledged the existence of these problems in e-mails with her agent written before close of escrow. Among the various emails was one from the buyer’s mother (plaintiff’s attorney), sent before escrow closed, stating that she would sue the seller for fraud because of undisclosed defects.
The plaintiff buyer sought over $300,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. At trial, Mr. Lucey and Mr. Reyes introduced numerous e-mails and reports attributable to the buyer and her construction professionals demonstrating that the buyer had knowledge of the property’s condition both before she signed the purchase agreement and during the escrow period. Evidence during trial revealed that the buyer’s motivation in filing the lawsuit was to obtain funds to complete a planned expansion.
The court found against the buyer on all her claims and ordered her to pay costs to the seller. The court found that the seller and her daughter had not made misrepresentations about the home’s condition and also found that the buyer had not relied upon their disclosures, since she had informed herself of the home’s condition through her own inspections and from reports prepared by her home and roof inspectors. Plaintiff will not appeal and has agreed to pay defendant’s costs.