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Bowers v. Transamerica Title Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Washington
675 P.2d 193 (1983)


Facts

In 1978, Mr. and Mrs. Bowers, as well as Mrs. Bowers’ brother (the Bowers) (plaintiffs), placed a piece of their jointly owned property up for sale. Quantum Construction, Inc. (Quantum) came forward, and offered to pay the Bowers a $10,000 down payment, with the remaining proceeds to be paid by a note. The parties agreed that Transamerica Title Insurance Co. (Transamerica) (defendant) would perform the closing. Transamerica’s escrow closer, Bonniejean Evans, prepared all of the documents necessary for closing. During these proceedings, Transamerica approached Quantum and asked if the note in question was to be unsecured. Quantum responded affirmatively. After the closing, Quantum defaulted on the note, with its shareholders fleeing the country. The Bowers brought suit against Transamerica, alleging that Transamerica engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and as such, was liable to plaintiffs for the amount owed by Quantum. The superior court ruled in favor of the Bowers, determining that Transamerica engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Transamerica petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of Washington.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pearson, J.)

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