Facts: A listed property was inspected by a licensed contractor. The contractor reported the attic stairway ladder and numerous cosmetic components of the property needed be repaired, but did not expressly indicate the ladder was immediately dangerous. The seller’s agent reviewed the inspection report, but neither the seller nor the agent acted to prevent injuries potentially caused by the ladder. Later, a buyer’s agent was injured when the ladder failed.
Claim: The buyer’s agent sought money for their injuries, claiming the seller and seller’s agent knew the ladder was potentially dangerous and, despite reviewing the inspection report, left the ladder in disrepair.
Counterclaim: The seller and seller’s agent sought to avoid liability for the buyer’s agent’s injuries, claiming they did not know the degree of the ladder’s disrepair since the report included the repair of the ladder in a list of cosmetic repairs and did not indicate the ladder was immediately dangerous.
Holding: A California Court of Appeals held the buyer’s agent may be entitled to money for their injuries since the inspection report implied the ladder was potentially dangerous and, despite their knowledge of the inspection report, the seller and seller’s agent left the ladder in disrepair. [Hall v. Aurora (2013) __ CA4th__]
Editor’s Note – A word to agents: Knowledge is strength, if you use it.