A lawsuit filed in July 14, 2018, alleging that Houlihan Lawrence, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, failed to fully disclose the details of its dual agency policy and other conflicts of interest has been granted class action status. Houlihan Lawrence adamantly denies the allegations. New York Supreme Court Justice Linda F. Jamieson granted the motion to certify the suit as a class action on January 21, 2022. The class includes all buyers and sellers of residential real estate in three counties (Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess) in which Houlihan Lawrence represented both buyer and seller in the same transaction. Estimates put the class at approximately 20,000 buyers and sellers in 10,000 transactions. Houlihan Lawrence adamantly denies the allegations and plans to appeal the Class Action Status.
The suit could have broad implications for agents and brokerages that regularly represent both the buyer and the seller and the entire New York real estate industry. By allowing the lawsuit to move forward the Court is saying that establishing informed consent to dual agency requires more than a consumer’s signature on a disclosure form. A position the Department of State seems to agree with. (read Legal Memorandum LI12: Be Wary of Dual Agency)
In a seperate proceeding Houlihan Lawrence’s professional liability insurance provider is also seeking a federal court order declaring that the company has no obligation to provide insurance coverage to the brokerage in connection with the dual agency suit. See GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff, v. HOULIHAN LAWRENCE INC., Defendant.
The suit could have broad implications for agents and brokerages that regularly represent both the buyer and the seller. Read numerous articles by googling “Houlihan Lawrence Lawsuit”.