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Stechschulte v. Jennings

Supreme Court of Kansas
298 P.3d 1083 (2013)


Facts

A. Drue Jennings (defendant) hired several professionals to repair leaks in his home’s roof and windows that had caused significant water damage. Later, Jennings retained real-estate agent Emily Golson (defendant) to list the home for sale. Jennings completed a Seller’s Disclosure and Condition of Property form, which stated that there were no known material defects that could affect the value of the home. Specifically, Jennings indicated on the form that there had been no water leakage. Additionally, Jennings failed to disclose the repairs that had been made to correct the water damage. Jennings did state on the form that several windows had leaked after the home’s construction and that repairs had been performed. Golson had some knowledge of the repairs performed on the house. Daniel and Satu Stechschulte (plaintiffs) purchased the home from Jennings. At closing, the Stechschultes signed a Buyer’s Acknowledgement form indicating that they received Jennings’s statement that no problems existed with the home. Shortly after the purchase, the Stechschultes noticed large leakages and water infiltration in the home after several heavy rains. After an infrared scan on the home, the Stechschultes learned the actual extent of the water damage to the home. Additionally, an environmental fungal survey showed elevated mold levels inside the home’s structure. The Stechschultes filed suit against Jennings and Golson for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, fraud by silence, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The Stechschultes appealed. The court of appeals reversed. Both parties successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of Kansas for review.

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Holding and Reasoning (Beier, J.)

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