Advocacy in Court

May 4, 2023

- By The MAR Legal Team

In addition to legislative lobbying, MAR advocates through the judicial process, often through so-called amicus briefs in which we provide the court with industry-specific information. MAR filed amicus briefs in two recent cases: 

Protecting buyer agency – In Biping Huang vs. Jin Ma, real estate broker Biping Huang alleged that her former clients breached an oral exclusive buyer’s agency agreement by purchasing a home with another agent. The appeals court struggled with whether Huang was entitled to her commission and considered whether there should be a “clear statement rule” requiring the contract to state that a commission would be owed upon a breach of the agreement. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court accepted the case to ultimately decide what remedy should be available to the broker. MAR’s brief argued that this dispute, like any other contract dispute, should be handled under long-established rules entitling the aggrieved party (in this case broker Huang) to the benefit of their bargain. In this case, because the homebuyers breached an exclusive buyer agency agreement, Huang’s could rightfully be entitled to the commission she would have received had the homebuyers not broken the agreement. The state’s highest court agreed, extensively citing MAR’s brief in oral argument and their decision. Read more about this case and access our brief as well as the court’s decision here. 

Preventing blight and expanded REALTOR® liability – In Hill-Junious vs. UTP Realty LLC, a patron was murdered outside of a nightclub shortly after the property changed hands and there had been several incidents at the club under the prior owner. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court requested amicus briefs on whether a commercial landlord’s duty to prevent reasonably foreseeable criminal acts encompassed a duty to learn of criminal acts that occurred prior to their purchase of the property. MAR provided a brief explaining that such a duty would have a harmful impact on properties in lower-income neighborhoods and potentially also harm property owners and real estate professionals by exposing them to liability. Read MAR’s brief 

MAR’s brief was featured repeatedly in oral argument where it was cited and discussed by both justices and attorneys. Watch the video. A decision is due by mid-August.