Saggese v. Beazley Co.
A real estate agency may not be required to inform a buyer about the boundaries of a property that the buyer contemplates buying or to forward a letter from attorneys who represent a third party. The plaintiff buyer, Barbara Saggese, sued the defendant real estate agency, Beazley Co., alleging that Beazley's agent failed to inform her that the subject property, which was advertised as "waterfront," did not include a lawn located between the residence and the water. There was evidence that residents of the neighborhood used the lawn to access the beach since approximately 1895. After Saggese purchased the property, there were 232 complaints to the police department and civil actions alleging harassment. In McBurney v. Paquin, a 2011 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the residents possessed an implied easement to use the lawn as a right-of-way. Saggese alleged that the defendants intentionally withheld or failed to disclose material facts and engaged in intentional fraud, negligent nondisclosure and violation of CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Saggese testified that she assumed that the description "waterfront" indicated the property included all the land to the shoreline. The Superior Court was not persuaded that the description of the property as "waterfront" in a brochure misled the plaintiff. The Supreme Court in McBurney referenced the plaintiff's property as a "waterfront lot" approximately 10 times. Also, the real estate agency was not required to forward to the plaintiff the contents of a letter from Robinson and Cole, which represented a third party. Robinson and Cole, which represented a neighbor, informed Beazley Co. that any potential buyer should be informed about pending litigation and neighbors' claims to the lawn. Plaintiff's expert Lorene Rubino opined that Beazley Co. departed from the standard of care, because it did not forward the law firm's letter to Saggese. The seller claimed that he informed Saggese that he did not own the land in front of the house. The Superior Court found that if Saggese was misled, it was not as a result of the defendant real estate agency's conduct, and it granted judgment to the defendant.