Procedural Posture

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Appellant property owner challenged a decision of the Superior Court of Fresno County (California), which entered summary judgment in favor of respondent real estate brokerage company and awarded respondent its share of a real estate commission plus attorney fees and costs in respondent’s third party beneficiary action for breach of contract.

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Overview

Appellant property owner sought review of the lower court’s decision in favor of respondent, a real estate brokerage company, on respondent’s suit against appellant for recovery of a real estate broker’s commission. Appellant had contracted with a broker whereby the broker was to obtain a buyer for an apartment complex according to the terms of a listing agreement. An individual, a principal of respondent, made an offer through respondent to purchase the complex. Appellant’s broker and respondent agreed to share the real estate commission. Appellant subsequently changed the listing agreement, and refused to sell the complex unless his additional terms were met. Respondent initiated suit for its portion of the broker’s commission, and was granted summary judgment by the lower court, plus attorney fees and costs. The court found that the trial court’s judgment was not in error, because the broker and respondent were entitled to the commission after they produced a ready and willing buyer, even if the sale was never completed. The award of attorney fees and costs was also affirmed

Outcome

The decision was affirmed. Respondent real estate brokerage company was properly granted summary judgment awarding it a portion of the real estate commission even though the sale was never consummated, because appellant property owner’s broker and respondent were entitled to the commission once they produced a ready and willing buyer.