Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

PA Supreme Court To Hear Failure To Disclose Psychological Damage To Property Appeal

January 29, 2014

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently granted the petition for allowance of appeal of a December 26, 2012, Superior Court ruling that psychological damage to real property is not considered a material defect in the property which must be revealed by the seller to the buyer.

The case involved a murder in a property that was not disclosed to the buyer. “The fact that a murder once occurred in a house falls into the category of home-buyer concerns best left to caveat emptor – let the buyer beware,” the Superior Court wrote in 2012. In Janet S. Milliken v. Kathleen Jacono and Joseph Jacono and Cascia Corporation, trading as Re/Max Town & Country and Fran Day and Thomas O’Neill and John Restrepo and Fox & Roach LP, 2012 Pa. Super. LEXIS 4105 (December 26, 2012), Ms. Milliken sought review of the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, home sellers and their agents by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County.

In affirming the summary judgment order granted to the seller, the Superior Court found that sellers should only be required to reveal material defects to: the actual physical structure of the house, with legal impairments on the property and with hazardous materials located at the property. The court was concerned with opening the flood gates, finding that if psychological defects must be disclosed, then we are not far from requiring sellers to reveal that a next door neighbor is loud and obnoxious, or on some days you can smell a nearby sewage plant, or that the house was built on an old Indian burial ground.

As stated by the Superior Court in affirming the lower court’s granting of summary judgment: “To allow consideration of possible psychological defects opens a myriad of disclosures that sellers will need to reveal, and starts a descent down a very slippery slope.” The Supreme Court’s decision to grant the petition for allowance of appeal in this case may indicate that Pennsylvania is beginning to descend down this “slippery slope.”

Case Law Alert, January 29, 2014

This Law Alert has been prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. It is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. We would be pleased to provide such legal assistance as you require on these and other subjects. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1 © 2014 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All rights reserved.

Affiliated Attorney

Samuel E. Cohen
(215) 575-2587

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."