Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate)

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Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Anyone can sue anybody for anything - and they do!

To answer your question - I would think it could go either way. I'm wondering why homeowner's insurance wouldn't cover this? 

Aug 24, 2017 08:41 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Everybody is sue crazy and accepts no personal responsibility for their own carelessness or actions. The real estate agent is an easy target even though the listing agreement clearly states we accept no responsibility.

Aug 24, 2017 08:30 PM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I guess we no longer have any self responsibility for anything - I mean really!!!

Aug 25, 2017 06:33 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I had not heard of this case and was happy for the ruling. And that is also one of the reasons I carry additional umbrella liability insurance for such incidents and have for years. Fortunately have never had to call on it.

I don't like open houses and for me this is just another reason not to do them.

Aug 25, 2017 04:36 AM
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

The best you can do is act in a manner that 12 jurors would agree with your decision making.  Who sues and how judges rule is beyond my scope of worry.  


The odd thing about that case is that its not like the victim fell from the diving board, the diving board collapsed.  If you are responsible for that then the liability is unimaginable, and unpredictable

Aug 24, 2017 09:27 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I had not heard of this case but it certainly raises some interesting questions about liability, with a yes or no that depends on the situation, the facts, and no doubt the parties, including the attorney, involved, and where the case is being tried.

Aug 24, 2017 08:40 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Interesting.  Another reason to add to the list of reasons why we don't do open houses!

Aug 25, 2017 05:05 AM
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Tampa, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Tampa Home Buyers

Personally, I think it was careless of the seller not to barricade the pool.

I have never seen an empty pool that was not protected from people. Banks automatically build a barrier...sometimes even just because the pool is murky.

If I was an agent I would not have held an open house with an empty pool...too dangerous.  Where is the common sense?  It is not like slipping up the could be death.



Aug 25, 2017 04:54 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Fred -- Thank you for the link which led me to additional investigation -- interesting case.  Since it's in California and with the brokerage I'm affiliated(btw - plaintiffs are no relation to me) I'm sure this  casewill be the source of additional discussion.       

Aug 25, 2017 05:18 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

An empty pool. 

I find it hard to understand that the AGENT did not see the potential hazard.

Further do not understand that the agent did not take necessary precautions.

I HAVE shown real estate in open house environments where hazards were perceived to exist. Entrants were REQUIRED to sign a hold harmless agreement and indicate they would stay within the barricades. To increase the excitement, those with open toe foot ware were denied entry.

Be aware, adequate staff was on hand to keep the cats in a heard. Such an event should never be attempted by a agent operating alone.

The strategy was an AWESOME list builder and not the waste of time many would suggest.

Then there are those 1960 constructed homes with the step downs into the living room. Is it a hazard that requires a barricade?

Here in Florida, the TVs are full of attorney ads pleading for slip and fall cases. The talking heads say the outcome is much more certain than the lottery. 'You don't pay us until we win!"  That is hard to turn down for those who want to hold others accountable for their lack of sound judgement.

Aug 25, 2017 05:16 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I'd say any one is liable when anyone can be sued. But, just another reason why Open Houses are a waste of time in 2017.

Aug 25, 2017 05:01 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I suppose they can, especially if they created a situation where someone could get hurt.People sue for everything these days. If an agent erects a huge open house sign at an intersection that blocks drivers view, driver pulls out and gets hit broadside, yes, agent deserves to be sued. In the diving board case, it could go either way. Access to diving board should have been blocked, and a warning sign posted. Actually, access to the entire pool should have been blocked/restricted.

Aug 25, 2017 02:45 AM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Everyone gets sued. Call your insurance agent and get a $1,000,000 umbrella policy that covers, among other perils, injury at an open house.

Aug 24, 2017 07:48 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

That's a question for an attorney.

Aug 24, 2017 07:46 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I will read this but an empty pool sounds like something that should have been covered by a tarp.

Aug 25, 2017 03:43 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Fred Griffin - well, court cases do not need to have a reason behind it, many people believe in that.

Aug 24, 2017 10:14 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


My first thought in seeing the picture is that is was California...This is a bit far fetched, how could anyone know that a diving board will collapse.  One of the top real estate attorneys we invited to speak at our company, made the remark that in California they can sue if they think you are ugly!  In California pools have to have fencing! This should have been the case, or covered.  Common sense is no longer common in our state or anywhere else,  A

Aug 25, 2017 06:52 AM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

There is no cure for stupidity!  Why would someone walk out on a diving board over an empty pool?   

Aug 25, 2017 06:43 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty Evolution - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

The best thing the agents did was post, in the listing [P]lease use CAUTION around the empty pool.

Aug 25, 2017 06:36 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Not familiar with the Jacobs case, but liability is assigned today in some silly ways. 

Aug 25, 2017 05:49 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

I imagine that homeowners insurance covers injuries on the property.

Aug 25, 2017 05:05 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

In this sue happy world i would say yes. On another note an empty pool should be fenced off. 

Aug 25, 2017 04:57 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

No, broker along with the realtor.  They both sink together.

Aug 24, 2017 08:45 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

I don't think it's the agent's fault.  I mean the buyer could easily be viewing the property with a buyer's agent and fell as well.  Debbie Reynolds is so true that everyone is sue crazy.  

Aug 25, 2017 07:14 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

You CAN be liable for everything. I think a lot of it depends on how you react when the accident takes place. We can't round off every corner in the world.

Aug 25, 2017 07:12 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Thank you for sharing Fred... I never thought of this... I'll have to upgrade my reading on this...

Fred Griffin . Just did dome reading about this... would be a great idea that you turn this into a full fledged discussion blog! 

Aug 25, 2017 07:03 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Had not heard of this !

Aug 25, 2017 06:35 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Smart real estate professionals carry an umbrella liability policy for added protection.

Aug 25, 2017 06:34 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Brokers all act like they have deep pockets and juries believe them and help to lighten the load.

Aug 25, 2017 02:58 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Fred Griffin - your examples show the court goes both ways on it. I would think the seller's insurance policy should be in force here.

Aug 25, 2017 10:24 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

I've seen many empty pools on the market.  I wouldn't allow anyone outside if I had an empty pool at an open house.  That's negligence.

Aug 25, 2017 10:17 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

People will sue over just about anything so it doesn't surprise me that the answer is "maybe... maybe not". It not only depends on the circumstance it also depends on the judge and or jury.

Aug 25, 2017 08:52 AM
Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

Thanks for sharing this case Fred Griffin

As if anyone needed another reason to NOT hold a public open house as Kenneth J. Jones, Director succinctly opined.

Aug 25, 2017 07:09 AM
Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula
House Match Inc - Poway, CA
Excellent Sales and Property Management

Yikes, not a fun predicament.   What was the result of the lawsuit? was the agent liable?

Aug 25, 2017 07:05 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Well the point of being sued can happen over a hang nail!

Aug 25, 2017 05:52 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

My first thought was if the pool was empty why on earth were they doing an open house.  That was their first mistake.

Aug 25, 2017 12:41 PM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Thanks; I will read the case, but I already know agents ARE responsible as representatives of the principal (seller), if it was a condition that they knew of, or should have known about and warned or taken other measures to assure the safety of invitees.

Aug 25, 2017 11:35 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

It is possible that someone could be sue for that.  

Aug 25, 2017 09:57 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Liable or not this just made me go firm with a decision to do no open houses!

Aug 25, 2017 08:43 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Once again, I could not say it any better than Kenneth J. Jones, Director - I am not a fan of open houses.  Thanks for sharing the article Fred Griffin 

Aug 25, 2017 07:56 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Interesting & another good reason not to hold an open house. If I have to acquire liability insurance on something that I don't own but are considered 'taking control of the property' - I'm really out.

I kept close watch on this but they were out to sue the bank foreclosure. Go with the biggest pockets.

Aug 25, 2017 07:21 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

When something is litigated, it is not uncommon to sue everyone involved

Aug 25, 2017 06:53 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Fred Griffin This was an interesting case. It could have gone either way. I'm sure the lawyers are lining up to bring suits against real estate brokers.

Aug 25, 2017 06:53 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Pools can be dangerous, especially at an open house.    Can imagine a homeowner would be liable on their property.

Aug 27, 2017 09:28 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Here in CA that would not be a surprise.....that is just terrible. People slip on the flat surface if they want to. As Debe said: 

Anyone can sue anybody for anything - and they do!

Aug 26, 2017 03:54 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

This is interesting and something we should all keep in mind when doing open houses as well as showings.

Aug 26, 2017 06:15 AM
Melissa Jackson REALTOR
Trinity Premier Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Everyone is sue happy.  States the inspection report didn't mention the possibility of breakage.  People don't take responsibility for their own actions.  Why walk out over an empty pool?  Freak accident..

Aug 25, 2017 08:58 PM
Joe D'Agostino
NMLS# 729950 - Manahawkin, NJ
Mortgage Officer 46 years!

I would think HO Insurance would cover this? As for the empty pool. That can be considered "Creating an Attractive Nuisance" and is open to a libel suite. Once again, I think covered by the HO Insurance.  However in today's world I could believe anything. Under the law, the "Reasonable man" theory goes out the window today. I read where a woman sued the maker of a motor home, because she put the motor home on cruise control while on the highway and got up to make a sandwich and of course crashed. She sued, based on nothing  in the owners manual stating the safety issue  regarding this  and she won.....

Aug 25, 2017 10:42 AM