Homebuyer seeks punitive damages from realtor in lawsuit over allegedly concealed fire damage

CVN screenshot of plaintiff’s attorney Abraham Sandoval delivering his opening statement

Compton, CA – A real estate agent could face punitive damages in a trial that began Wednesday in California state court over allegations that he failed to disclose damages caused by a fire to a buyer, and the proceedings are webcast -hammer by Courtroom View Network.

Plaintiff Jose Jimenez sued his former real estate agent, Louis Teque, after he bought a home in Lynwood that Jimenez claims he cannot live in due to fire damage in the attic, faulty wiring and a number of unauthorized modifications.

Jimenez’s attorney, Abraham Sandoval of Sandoval Law, told jurors during his opening statement that he would seek punitive damages for Jimenez’s breach of contract and negligence claims, arguing that Teque deliberately failed to refer to fire damage and other issues in official documentation.

Teque and co-defendant Capero Investments Inc. argue that Jimenez knew the home needed extensive renovations and voluntarily waived a series of inspections that would otherwise reveal the damage.

Sandoval told jurors that Jimenez, a first-time home buyer, hired Teque on the recommendation of a friend in 2017 to find a new home as his family grew.

“What Jose realized after buying the house was that it had various material defects that were not disclosed to him,” Sandoval said, according to CVN’s webcast of the lawsuit.

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Sandoval claimed that Teque himself filled out disclosure forms omitting any reference to fire damage instead of providing Jimenez with seller disclosures directly. He reportedly told Jimenez not to date it, then later added a date the same day the deal closed.

“How could all this have happened,” Sandoval asked the jury. “Simple. Fraud.”

He told jurors he would seek $144,577 in compensatory damages related to Jimenez’s rental costs for his recent home and current mortgage payments, as well as an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

Representing the defense, Maximiliano Galindo of Curd Galindo & Smith LLP told jurors that Jimenez had agreed to purchase the home in question after rejecting numerous offers on other properties, and that Teques had made it clear to him that the home ” needed work.”

Galindo claimed that the seller’s acceptance of Jimenez’s offer included an addendum stating that the seller would make no further repairs and that the purchase was dependent on the buyer’s personal inspection and not on statements made by the seller.

Galindo explained how Jimenez and Teque went to City Hall and confirmed there were no signs of city violations on the property, then undertook a home inspection that reportedly left Jimenez satisfied.

“After walking through the entire house and property, Mr. Jimenez told Mr. Teque that he thought it was going to be worse and that he was happy because he thought the house was going to be in worse shape,” said explained Galindo to the jury. , adding that Jimenez reportedly rebuffed Teques’ suggestion to get additional inspections.

Galindo argued that the fire damage, supposedly caused by faulty wiring, was minor enough that even the sellers themselves were unaware of it.

“Sellers don’t recall a fire at the house, and LA County records will show there were never any service calls to the address for the fires,” Galindo said.

The trial is before Judge Michael Shultz.

The case is captioned Jose Ivan Rodriguez Jimenez against Capero Investments Inc. and Louis Brian Teque, case number 18CMCV00035, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Email David Siegel at [email protected]

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