Nevada Case Confirms Tail Periods Are Valid.

Easton Business Opportunities, Inc. v. Town Executive Suites-Eastern Marketplace, LLC

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What is a tail period?  In an exclusive right-to-sell brokerage agreement the tail period is a certain amount of time after the final termination of the listing period.  During this “tail” or extension period if the property is sold to anyone with whom the listing broker has had negotiations or to whom the property was shown prior to the final termination, a commission is owed.  The duty to pay a commission ends typically if the seller enters into a valid brokerage listing Agreement with another licensed real estate broker after the final termination of listing agreement.

The dispute in Easton Business Opportunities was a commission claimed under an exclusive right-to-sell brokerage agreement.  The purchaser viewed the property during the listing period and purchased the property directly from the seller during the tail period.  The Seller refused to pay the commission.

TRIAL – BROKER LOSES

The case went to trial in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada, County of Clark.  The District Court ruled in favor of the seller and against the broker.  The District Court declared that the broker failed to give the seller a list of the people to whom the broker had shown the property at the end of the listing period.  Therefore no commission was owed.

APPEAL – BROKER WINS

On the May 6, 2010 in Easton Business Opportunities, Inc. v. Town Executive Suites-Eastern Marketplace, LLC the Nevada Supreme Court reversed and held in favor of the broker and against the seller.  The Nevada Supreme Court said, “ we are loath to impose such an obligation.”  So there is not an obligation for a broker to give a ‘list’ to a seller in Nevada at the term of the listing agreement of potential purchasers.  The Nevada Supreme Court placed liability on the seller for the commission if the seller sold during the extension period to a buyer to whom the broker had shown the property or negotiated with-in other words, it allocated the risk of being wrong about the buyer being commission-free to the seller.

The Nevada Supreme Court said, “we disagree with the district court’s reading of the brokerage agreement as a matter of law …  The agreement, as written, supports the opposite result and should have been upheld.”

The oral arguments can heard by clicking here.

Questions? darren@dwelshlaw.com

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