This brokerage is accused of forging signatures in a dual agency lawsuit

Houlihan Lawrence called the case “meritless”

New York /
Nov.November 30, 2018 06:16 PM

(Credit: iStock)

Earlier this year, Houlihan Lawrence was hit with a lawsuit alleging the brokerage engaged in dual agency without proper disclosures. Now the firm is being accused of forging documents in the legal process.

Attorneys for homebuyers Pamela Goldstein and Paul Benjamin and home sellers Tony Berk and Dr. Ellyn Berk alleged that the signatures on a statutory disclosure form are fake, Inman reported. “The document shows that the signatures on that form were copied and pasted from a prior, differently marked form — all without the Berks’ knowledge or consent,” they said in a filing.

Creating “sham” statutory disclosure forms demonstrates the brokerage’s “culture of disregard for client consent,” they added. “And it is yet another reason why statutory disclosure forms, standing alone, cannot establish disclosure and informed consent as a matter of law.”

In a statement to Inman, Houlihan Lawrence dismissed the premise of the lawsuit.

“For more than 130 years, Houlihan Lawrence has had a reputation of responsible business practices and integrity,” a spokesperson told Inman. “We believe this lawsuit is meritless and intend to vigorously defend against plaintiffs’ claims.”

The initial class-action lawsuit against Houlihan Lawrence was filed in July. It accused the brokerage of representing both sides of the deal in nine out of 10 of its biggest Westchester sales. Since then, more clients signed on to the lawsuit. In October, an amended complaint alleged the firm “pays secret kickbacks” agents who secure double commissions through dual-agent transactions.

Brokers in New York are allowed to work on both sides of the deal, so long as they disclose their dual roles. The practice isn’t uncommon, but lack of transparency can make the arrangement unethical or illegal. [Inman] — Meenal Vamburkar


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(Getty)
Where the lawsuits challenging NY’s 2019 rent law stand
Where the lawsuits challenging NY’s 2019 rent law stand
Steven Mnuchin and 740 Park Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)
Steven Mnuchin’s $26M home finally finds a buyer
Steven Mnuchin’s $26M home finally finds a buyer
Robert Millard and 9 East 88th Street (MIT Corp, Google Maps)
Former Lehman exec lists Carnegie Hill mansion for $38M
Former Lehman exec lists Carnegie Hill mansion for $38M
April’s occupancy levels climbed to 61.6 percent, above March’s 60.9 percent. (iStock)
Demand for short-term rentals surges past pre-pandemic levels
Demand for short-term rentals surges past pre-pandemic levels
Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore suffered among the sharpest inventory declines. (iStock)
Here’s where homes virtually sold out in the pandemic
Here’s where homes virtually sold out in the pandemic
1384 Meadow Lane
The 20 priciest Hamptons sales this year
The 20 priciest Hamptons sales this year
(NYC Housing Authority, Google Maps, iStock)
Navillus seeks bankruptcy protection from NYCHA lawsuit
Navillus seeks bankruptcy protection from NYCHA lawsuit
From left: Mathew Chapman, Michele Kowal, Maryanne Elsaesser and Rhonda Battifarano (NJ Home Navigators)
Christie’s affiliate in NJ sues Compass for poaching, stealing trade secrets
Christie’s affiliate in NJ sues Compass for poaching, stealing trade secrets
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...