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Baker v. Dennis Brown Realty, Inc.

New Hampshire Supreme Court
433 A.2d 1271 (1981)


Facts

Sharon Baker (plaintiff) enlisted the services of Jody Keeler, a real estate agent, to find a home to purchase in Concord, New Hampshire. After Keeler found a home owned by Sarah Landry to show to Baker, she contacted Dennis Brown Realty (Brown Realty) (defendant), the exclusive listing agent for the property. Immediately after seeing the property shown by Keeler and one of Brown Realty’s agents, Faye Olson, Baker decided to purchase it and offered to pay $26,900—the full asking price. The two agents immediately drafted an unconditional purchase and sale agreement which Baker signed. Shortly thereafter, another agent for Brown Realty, Douglas Bush, arrived at the house and insisted that two provisions be included in the already signed contract, (1) bank financing and (2) sale of Baker’s house. Baker acquiesced to Bush’s demands after initially arguing that inclusion of the provisions was not necessary since Baker had already secured bank financing. Subsequently, Bush showed the home to the Piars family who, after viewing the property, offered to purchase it for $300 more than what Baker had offered. Bush then prepared a purchase and sale agreement for the Piars to sign without including a provision relating to sale of the Piars’ home. Both offers were then communicated to Landry without any notification to Baker of Piars’ offer, which Landry accepted. Because the Piars had dealt exclusively with Brown Realty, the entire sales commission went to it and Bush received 35 percent of the commission. Baker brought suit against Brown Realty for intentional interference with a prospective contractual relationship. The trial court found for Baker and awarded damages of $3,525.29. Brown Realty appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brock, J.)

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