Real estate agency denied motion to transfer venue; Defense says case will unnecessarily congest Madison County

Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Oct. 15, 2013, 9:26am

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian denied a real estate agency’s motion to transfer venue in a couple’s lawsuit claiming that sellers of a Clinton County home failed to disclose defects.

According to the complaint filed May 6, Plaintiffs Richard and Beverly Braun say they were unaware of numerous defects in their house because the residential real property disclosure report, of which they relied on the purchase the house, did not list any issues with the property.

Defendants Ron and Anna Adams owned the home prior to selling it to the Brauns and allegedly failed to reveal cracks and bulges in the basement and foundation, problems with the home’s septic system and defects in the walls and floors.

The Brauns claim in their complaint that they would not have purchased the home if the Adams had disclosed the alleged defects.

Rod Sno Real Estate, Darlene Baltzell and Maria Lauder, who were employees for the real estate agency, are also named defendants for allegedly knowing about the home’s defects but failing to share that knowledge with the Brauns.

Rod Sno, Inc. filed a motion to transfer venue to the Circuit Court for the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Clinton County on Aug. 28 through its attorney James C. Cook of Walker and Williams P.C. Cook argued that the intrastate doctrine of forum non conveniens, the case should be transferred because the subject property, records of both parties concerning the purchase and the situs of action are located in Clinton County.

“Since the situs of the subject property is Clinton County,” Cook said, “it is more in the interest of the courts and people within Clinton County to see that the sale of property located in that county does not cause damage to purchasers of property in the county.”

Cook further argued that cases belonging to other counties would result in making the Madison County docket more congested. Further, he wrote, that it would unnecessarily burden taxpayers and extend the time Madison County residents must wait to have their own cases handled.

“It is not fair to citizens of Madison County,” Cook states, “that cases not involving residents or citizens of the county are brought in Madison County when the person seeking recovery and the subject property are residents of or located in Clinton County.”

Defendants Ron and Anna Adams filed their answer on Aug. 26 admitting that they lived in the subject property for 12 months prior to the sale and did not list any material defects. However, they deny the other allegations against them and state that the plaintiffs are not entitled to judgment against the defendants.

Ron and Anna Adams also filed an affirmative defense stating the allegations against them are not well-founded in fact or in law and request an award of attorney’s fees.

The Brauns seek a judgment of more than $350,0000, compensatory damages of more than $250,000 and punitive damages of more than $250,000.

Thomas G. Maag of Maag Law Firm in Wood River represents the plaintiffs

Daniel R. Price of Wham & Wham Attorneys in Centralia represents Ron and Anna Adams.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-708

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