“If It Walks Like A Duck . . .” – Expert Testimony Not Always Required In Realtor Malpractice Cases Where Alleged Breach Of Duty Can Be Easily Understood By Lay Persons

Three ducklings walking on grass

Sometimes an act or omission is such that anyone can see it using simple common sense.

April 17, 2019
David W. Evans & Renata L. Hoddinott - Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP

In Ryan v. Real Estate of the Pacific, Inc., et al. (No. D072724, filed 2/26/19), the Fourth Appellate District reversed a trial court’s granting of summary judgment and finding that expert testimony is not required in a professional negligence action where the claimed acts or omissions are within the understanding of a lay person.

Daniel and Patricia Ryan hired Defendants David Schroedl, David Schroedl & Associates, and Real Estate of the Pacific, Inc., doing business as Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty to list, market, and sell their property. During an open house, the Ryans’ neighbor informed Defendant David Schroedl that he planned significant construction on his own property which would impact the Ryans’ property including, but not limited to, building a large addition that would obstruct the property’s westerly ocean view. Schroedl never disclosed this information to the Ryans or to the subsequent purchasers of the Ryans’ property. The day after escrow closed, the new owners’ interior decorator spoke with that neighbor who again explained his extensive remodeling plans.

Reprinted courtesy of David W. Evans, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Renata L. Hoddinott, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP
Mr. Evans may be contacted at devans@hbblaw.com
Ms. Hoddinott may be contacted at rhoddinott@hbblaw.com



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