Jury to Urban Living: Pay Up for Suing Your Former Client

JURY TO URBAN LIVING: PAY UP FOR SUING YOUR FORMER CLIENT Urban Living, 5023 Washington Ave., HoustonA Harris County jury declared today that the parent company of Urban Living should pay more than $150,000 in legal fees to the former client it filed suit against last year. The real estate broker failed to comply with promises made in the same buyer’s representation agreement it insisted former client Christopher Drummond sign, the jury found, and Drummond therefore doesn’t owe the company anything. The company filed suit against Drummond last year, hoping to win just under $13,000 in commissions and bonuses it said it was owed after Drummond purchased a Dickson St. townhouse from another broker. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Urban Living offices at 5023 Washington Ave.: Vinod Ramani

20 Comment

  • Whoop de f-ing doo

  • The whole “protect your paper”/”reputation” strategy to aggressively enforcing your consumer contracts only works when you are a giant behemoth that people have no choice but to do business with. Otherwise, it just ends up with a huge attorney’s fee bill and a ton of negative PR blowback. Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.

  • Well that was dumb. Huge losses and bad publicity over $13,000. Idiots. I guess their management is aligned with the bad quality of their construction. Overall a bad company, and I hope people stop buying their products, but there are more dumb people out there to keep them going.

  • You can bet this will be appealed.

  • Well played, Vinod. Well played.

  • Some things just warm your heart, don’t they?

  • That’s awesome. Maybe this will send a message that to get the commission, you actually have to earn it by doing your job and helping your client.

  • The Chron article mentions that Urban Living plans to move to “delete the (attorney’s) fees.”

    Yeah, good luck with that. The written agreement provides that the prevailing party is entitled to attorney’s fees, and I sincerely doubt that the jury just pulled an unsupported number out of thin air (they tend not to do that). I skimmed the court file on line – this was a pretty thoroughly fought case, and undoubtedly took up a LOT of lawyer time.

  • Couldn’t happen to a nicer/better company.

  • Sometimes when I go looking for properties, the seller agents try to get me to sign a rep agreement with them. I laugh and not so politely explain to them how worthless their job is and that I always represent myself. Much like travel agents, real estate agents are going the way of the Dodo bird within the decade.

  • This will get appealed imo. This ruling sets a precedent for a lot of business in this state.

  • I am surprised Urban Living is still around.

  • As long as douchebags exist, so too will Urban Living.

  • I don’t understand people who are worried about setting precedent for business. Urban Living failed to perform their duties outlined in the contract. This seems like a fairly routine contract case in my non-legal opinion. Why should UL not be punished?

  • More details needed. The story makes the defendant sound like a passive fool who deserves nothing for signing a contract that he didn’t read first. If UL didn’t do it’s job, I’m sure the contract spelled out his recourse…oh wait, he didn’t read the contract. This finding is entirely consistent with the attitude that consumers who sign contracts (like mortgages) are automatically victims and need government protection. Terrible precedent.

  • Urban Living is not being “punished”. It is merely being required to live up to a contract it signed. And probably wrote every word of, by the way. Nothing really to see here, in the “massive precedent” sense. And appeals are generally based on errors of law. While I don’t pretend to have seen the trial, or read the court file, it is quite likely in this case that the facts are what killed Urban Living.

  • GISGO – I’m not sure what experience you have in contract law or even basic commercial negotiations. There is no precedent being set here – just a reminder that agents need to do their jobs. Just because the client did not read the contract, doesn’t excuse the service provider who wrote the contract from being held to its conditions.

    If UL was truly dumb enough to use the phrase “best efforts”, they had better be able to beat basic Zillow, RedFin, HAR, etc. searches for finding clients properties. Otherwise, they need to change their contract to “lazy and sloppy efforts provided by people who could not get jobs anywhere else, but who still aspire to drive Lexus SUVs.”

  • Punished was a poor choice of words on my part.

    Agree with Bill on this one when he said “a reminder that agents need to do their jobs. Just because the client did not read the contract, doesn’t excuse the service provider who wrote the contract from being held to its conditions.”

  • As a purchaser of a UL property, I am glad they were made to pay the fees as I’m sure they didn’t comply to the agreement as expected but yet try to get something out of the buyer. I can honestly say I will NEVER buy through UL again. Their sales techinque is crafty and they wrap it up in a nice little package to reel you in and then the fun begins. The agents don’t know the products, there is a lot miscommunication, changes are made that they don’t convey back to you and SURPRISE. Good luck getting if the way it should be. I paid for an upgrade and luckily I was able to catch the error (or their intention) before it was complete. They didn’t deliver what was paid per the change request and had been paid. I blame a lot of that on the below superior builder/ contractors they used for this development. For a 350K home it looks pretty on the outside but what we went through from time of signing contract to move-in (4 mo period) was another story. While this was supposed to be an exicting process it was quite the opposite. And, after being in the home for almost 4 mos we are still having issues with the builder. I don’t know about their other builders but this one is very poorly managed and appeared to cut corners to save $. It’s obvious they used the cheapest sub-contractors as well. So heads up folks, do your research before purchasing new construction of a developement with UL or any other for that matter. I know the Houston market is in resurgence of new home construction but you should still get what you pay for.