French v. Ahlstrom (204 A.D.2d 861) defendant's counterclaims properly dismissed where defendant claims breach of fiduciary duty to keep business sale confidential; plaintiff's advertising of sale in trade journal is not breach; defendant failed to tender proof to establish connection between blind advertisement and loss of business and other damages.

2. Cohan v. Sicular (214 A.D.2D 637) motion for summary judgment dismissing buyer's complaint against brokers reversed; buyer sufficiently stated a cause of action sounding in fraud against listing and selling brokers where buyers alleged that brokers confirmed alleged misrepresentation on the part of seller as to the amount of annual real estate taxes. Buyer's fraud complaint against sellers is dismissed, as seller was insulated by merger clause in deed ("after full investigation neither party (is) relying upon any statement made by anyone else that is not set forth in this contract.") In contrast, brokers not entitled to summary judgment dismissing complaint based upon merger clause in the sales contract, as brokers (listing broker and buyer's broker) are not a party to real estate contract.

3. Guilderland Reinsurance Co. v. Gold (227 A.D.2d 759) - fiduciary duty; broker is a fiduciary for his client; cause of action stated against broker based upon contractual and fiduciary relationship where complaint alleges broker breached its fiduciary duty by using confidential information from the fiduciary relationship to induce client to enter into purchase contract contrary to client’s best interests.

4. Dubbs v. Stribling & Assoc., Inc. (274 A.D.2d 32) - where broker contracts to purchase her client’s property, the relationship of principal/broker terminates when the contract is executed, thereby severing the fiduciary relationship; broker/principal purchase contract executed after appropriate full disclosure by broker; new relationship between the parties is defined by the terms agreed upon in the contract of sale; broker’s continued relationship with seller for the purchase of a new home by seller, even if acting as a buyer’s agent, does not extend the prior fiduciary relationship and any fiduciary duties that are owed extend only to matters within the scope of the broker’s new employment; broker did not use confidential information in competition with or to the detriment of seller after entering into contract of sale with seller where information was not a secret

5. Sonnenschein v. Douglas Elliman-Gibbons & Ives (274 A.D.2d 244) - a real estate broker may represent more than one seller or lessor at a time, and may show multiple properties to the same buyer without breaching its fiduciary duties; in the absence of a special restrictive contract, a real estate broker is free to offer the properties of all his principals to a prospective customer; the fiduciary rules against dual agency, which bar a broker’s simultaneous representation of a seller and buyer unless both parties consent, cannot be extended to bar simultaneous representation of several sellers or rivals for the same customer

6. Kenneth D. Laub & Co., Inc. v. The Bear Stearns Co., Inc. (278 A.D.2d 121) - broker breached its fiduciary duty and therefore forfeited any right to compensation for its services where broker failed to disclose to its principals that broker had agreements with third parties to receive commissions in connection with the leasing of two properties which broker was proposing that its principals lease

7. Silverstein v. Flat Iron Acquisition, LLC (278 A.D.2d 144) - duties of manager and leasing agent for subject property did not extend to acting as broker for owner with respect to the sale and purchase of interests in the building and therefore manager and leasing agent did not owe owner a fiduciary duty with respect to manager’s and leasing agent’s purchase of the interest at issue

8. Dubbs v. Stribling & Assocs., Inc. (96 N.Y.2d 337) - after making full disclosure consistent with her fiduciary duty, broker enters into purchase contract with her principal; pursuant to the terms of the sales contract, it is clear that broker/principal relationship had been discontinued; broker no longer required to act as a fiduciary with respect to the sale of principal’s apartment (see, II.C.4 above)

9. Sonnenschein v. Douglas Elliman-Gibbons & Ives (96 N.Y.2d 369) - in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, a broker owes no duty to refrain from offering the properties of all its principals to a prospective customer (see, II.C.5 above)

10. Precision Glass Tinting, Inc. v. Long (293 A.D. 2d 594) – broker denied summary judgment where questions of fact exist as to whether broker breached fiduciary duty to its principal when principal instructed an agent of the broker to obtain consent to a proposed assignment of plaintiff’s lease from the plaintiffs landlord and the principal further testified that the agent told the principal that he had obtained the landlord’s consent when in fact he had not

11. Rokosz v. Belmont Watkins Realty Corp. (5 Misc. 3d 1003A) - broker’s complaint for commission dismissed; broker forfeits his right to compensation by failing to promptly disclose to principle all material information he possesses and obtains concerning the transaction in which he is engaged

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Fourth quarter Legal Lines now available

The fourth quarter 2019 edition of NYSAR’s Legal Lines is now available online at This edition covers new DOS proposed regulations, emotional support animals in housing, Landlord discrimination and more. Learn more