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Newport Beach Real Estate Broker Denied Six-Figure Commission for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Owed to Client.

Newport Beach Real Estate Broker Denied Six-Figure Commission for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Owed to Client.

OC Attorney Journal Cover Sept 2015Brown & Charbonneau, LLP business attorney Gregory G. Brown represented a seller of multi-million dollar Orange County real estate. The broker sued Mr. Brown’s client for a six-figure commission after the client fired the broker, hired another broker and sold the property. Mr. Brown prevailed in the case by proving that the broker, although contractually entitled to a commission, breached his fiduciary duties to his client and thereby forfeited his commission. He also committed constructive fraud against the client. Since the real estate contract contained an attorney fee provision, Mr. Brown’s client is entitled to recover all of her attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending the case.

In the broker’s zeal to go after his client for the commissions, he apparently did not realize that he owed his client a fiduciary duty in all of his dealings with her.  This fiduciary duty required the broker to always act in highest good faith and with the utmost care and honesty toward the client, to never obtain any advantage over the client, and disclose to the client any facts within his knowledge material to their relationship.

Once the broker realized that his case was going downhill, he changed his testimony to support his arguments.  Mr. Brown hammered the broker on these significant credibility issues by presenting prior deposition testimony and evidence of numerous contradictions. In addition to the defense of breach of fiduciary duty, Mr. Brown also presented compelling evidence of the broker’s:

The broker’s legal claims were breach of contract and quantum meruit, both of which were defeated.  For a complete copy of the winning closing argument brief, click here. The matter went to binding arbitration with Judicate West located in Irvine.

Gregory G. Brown is a Board Certified Trial Attorney in Irvine, CA.  He is a founding partner of Brown & Charbonneau, LLP, a business litigation and complex divorce firm in Southern California.  Mr. Brown is a highly rated and award winning trial attorney who has been practicing in Orange County since 1987.