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Hoffman v. Connall

Supreme Court of Washington
736 P.2d 242 (1987)


Facts

In January 1983, Bryan Connall and Connie Connall (defendants) signed a listing agreement with Charles Huggins (defendant) and Cardinal Realty, Inc. (Cardinal Realty) (defendant) to sell their five-acre property. When showing their property to Huggins, the Connalls firmly explained certain ambiguous areas of the property’s boundaries. Huggins accepted the Connalls’ statements and chose not to investigate any of the boundary issues. On February 28, 1983, James Hoffman and Verna Hoffman (plaintiffs) purchased the property from the Connalls. A few months later, the Hoffmans discovered discrepancies in the property’s boundaries. Specifically, the Hoffmans learned that important improvements, including a corral, cattle chute, barn, and shed, formed an encroachment of up to 21 feet onto the neighboring property. The cost of relocating these improvements would be almost $6,000. On September 18, 1984, the Hoffmans sued the Connalls, Huggins, and Cardinal Realty for damages, claiming that the defendants were liable for misrepresenting the property’s boundary lines. The trial court dismissed the case, finding that the Connalls were unaware of any boundary problems and that Huggins and Cardinal Realty had met the standard of care of a reasonably prudent broker. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that owners and brokers were liable for innocent misrepresentations. The Supreme Court of Washington granted review to Huggins and Cardinal Realty.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Andersen, J.)

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Dissent (Dore, J.)

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