A recent case involving rescission of the sale of a 200-year-old house based on a claim by buyers of fraudulent inducement by the seller. Issues in dispute are termite infestation/damage, rotted wood, windows, siding and the homes structural integrity. It is my opinion this case would apply in Iowa based on a failure to properly disclose by the sellers.The only portion not really relevant is the VCPA claims.  Iowa Department Of Justice, Office of the Iowa Attorney General, Iowa Consumer Protection Division

Legal Relief: Rescission of sale contract sought and awarded.

Damages Sought: All expenses paid since sale sought along with double damages under willful violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

Winning Party: Plaintiffs

Justia Opinion Summary

In 2005, Donald Devine and his wife Nancy Devine acquired ownership of Rock Hall, a 200-year-old house. In 2007, Charles Buki and Kimberly Marsho signed a contract agreeing to purchase Rock Hall. Later that year, Buki and Marsho (together, Plaintiffs) brought suit against Donald and Nancy (together Defendants), alleging that Defendants fraudulently induced them to enter into the real estate contract and to close on Rock Hall by misrepresenting and concealing the true condition of the house. The trial court concluded that Nancy had committed no wrong but nonetheless granted rescission of the real estate contract against both Donald and Nancy, concluding that Nancy should be “responsible jointly and severally with her husband for the payment of the purchase price” of Rock Hall. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Nancy, the trial court had no basis for awarding any remedy, including rescission, against Nancy.

The evidence failed to show the wife took part in any of the fraudulent acts as alleged. The trial court seemed bothered by what was described in the opinion as "reaped the benefit" of the sale of Rock Hall and allowed rescission. But the higher court overturned that ruling finding no basis for awarding any remedy against the innocent wife. 

Reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. 

Devine v Buki, Record No. 140305, Justice Powell for the Circuit Court of Northumberland County, Virginia. 

An interesting legal claim (double damages) was asserted under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act ("VCPA"), Code Section 59.1-196, et seq. Here is the companion case summary. 

Justia Opinion Summary

In 2005, Donald Devine and his wife Nancy Devine acquired ownership of Rock Hall, a 200-year-old house. In 2007, Charles Buki and Kimberly Marsho signed a contract agreeing to purchase Rock Hall. Later that year, Buki and Marsho (together, Plaintiffs) brought suit against Donald and Nancy (together Defendants), alleging that Defendants fraudulently induced them to enter into the real estate contract and to close on Rock Hall by misrepresenting and concealing the true condition of the house. The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs were entitled to rescission of the contract where David, but not Nancy, committed fraud. The court awarded consequential damages and attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the trial court (1) did not err in granting rescission of the real estate contract based on Donald’s fraudulent concealment of the true state of the house and did not err in awarding attorney’s fees; (2) did not abuse its discretion in refusing to award punitive damages; and (3) erred in awarding consequential damages and prejudgment interest.

These are companion cases with the likely citation of, Devine, Jr. v Buki, et al., __ Va. __ S.E.2d __ (2015)

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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