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Leyendecker & Associates, Inc. v. Wechter
Texas Supreme Court
683 S.W.2d 369 (1984)
In 1976, William and Mildred Wechter (plaintiffs) purchased a townhouse from Leyendecker & Associates, Inc. (Leyendecker) (defendant). Prior to the purchase, the Wechters were shown a representative home in the subdivision and told that their home would be slightly larger than others on the lot. After the purchase, it became clear that the deed inadvertently included 2,411 square feet that were not part of the property. Meanwhile, the Wechters discovered construction defects and complained to the local builders association. An employee of Leyendecker, Chris Hilliard (defendant), sent a letter to the builders association and the Veterans Administration that falsely accused the Wechters of suing their neighbors. The Wechters brought suit against Leyendecker for misrepresentation and construction defects, and the Wechters brought suit against Leyendecker and Hilliard for libel. There was no inquiry as to the amount paid by the Wechters for the 2,411 square feet versus the amount paid for the entire lot. The jury found no difference between the value of the 2,411 square feet as represented by Leyendecker and the value received by Leyendecker. In 1982, the trial court found in favor of the Wechters, awarding damages of $9,644 for misrepresentation, $4,500 for construction defects, $1,500 to William for mental anguish arising from libel, and $4,000 each in exemplary damages. Leyendecker appealed. The court of appeals changed the misrepresentation damages from the 1982 value of the 2,411-square-foot shortage—$9,644—to the 1976 value—$4,822—when the Whecters actually purchased the home. The court of appeals also added damages for loss of use of the 2,411 square feet, $1,500 to Mildred for mental anguish, and attorney’s fees. The other damages were sustained. Leyendecker appealed. The Texas Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Robertson, J.)
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