Laying Down the Law
January 24, 2017
Christopher J. Charles, Esq.
Founder and Managing Partner, Provident Law
Attorney Christopher Charles recently achieved a noteworthy victory for his real estate client in a purchase contract dispute where the buyer sought specific performance of the contract. The threat of specific performance is often an effective tool for buyers when a seller gets cold feet and threatens to cancel a real estate contract. Indeed, “[s]pecific performance is ordinarily available to enforce contracts for the sale of real property because land is viewed as unique and an award of damages is usually considered an inadequate remedy.” Woliansky v. Miller, 135 Ariz. 444, 446, 661 P.2d 1145, 1147 (App.1983). But “[w]ide discretion is afforded the trial court to determine whether damages are an adequate remedy in contracts concerning the sale of real property, and specific performance is never a matter of absolute right.” Id.
In Mr. Charles’ recent case, the buyer and seller entered into the standard AAR Purchase Contract concerning the sale of a luxury home in North Scottsdale. After the buyers’ due diligence period expired, the buyers requested an additional inspection to further investigate the property’s condition. The seller declined the buyers’ request and instead requested that the buyers sign the loan documents and close escrow within the agreed-upon time frame.
Put simply, a dispute arose between the parties regarding their respective obligations in the transaction, and the buyers filed a lawsuit against the seller for breach of contract and specific performance. The buyers also filed an Application for Temporary Restraining Order requesting that the court immediately compel the seller to complete the transaction.
After receiving service of the lawsuit, the seller engaged Mr. Charles to defend her property rights. Within days of accepting service of the lawsuit for the seller, Mr. Charles filed an Answer and Counterclaim against the buyers for breach of contract and damages, including treble damages for the buyers’ wrongful recordation of a lis pendens against the property. Furthermore, Mr. Charles filed an Application for Provisional Remedies requesting an order from the court allowing the seller to immediately garnish and attach the buyers’ non-exempt assets in order to satisfy the seller’s anticipated judgment against the buyers.
Shortly thereafter, pursuant to section 7c of the Purchase Contract, the parties participated in private mediation. At mediation, Mr. Charles successfully persuaded the buyers to capitulate and dismiss their lawsuit against the seller. As a result, and within only 10 days of accepting service of the Complaint, Mr. Charles obtained a complete dismissal of the lawsuit and a release of the lis pendens.
Mr. Charles regularly represents property owners concerning real estate disputes. If you or someone you know has questions regarding a real estate matter, please call or email today to speak with Mr. Charles.