Two former Miami Dolphins players are now battling in court. Patrick Surtain brought suit against former wide receiver Brandon Marshall regarding a property Marshall bought for $4.15 million. Surtain alleges that he spent hundred of thousands of dollars making modifications and improvements to the home and while he was in the process of negotiating to close on the house, Marshall purchased the home. Surtain had a contract to buy the home for $5.2 million, but was unable to obtain financing on the home, due to the appraisal coming back below the contract price. Surtain then filed this action to retrieve his deposit and the value for improvements from both the developer and Marshall.
Marshall tried to remove himself from the matter, but it was denied, because Surtain alleged Marshall was told about the improvements and knew about the pending litigation with the developer and closed on the house anyways. In essence Marshall bought the lawsuit along with the property. Surtain on the other hand could have avoided the issue by closing on the home pursuant to the terms of the original contract, instead of trying to renegotiate the purchase price.
The question now is whether Marshall or the developer or both are liable for Surtain’s alleged damages if any. The developer alleges Surtain is to blame for breaching the contract in not closing, which would allow all improvements to stay with the home. Surtain is alleging that the contract is void because it said that no improvements were to be made during construction, but the developers allowed for improvements to be made.
Although, it is hard to determine what the outcome of these legal proceedings may be, a valuable lesson can be learned here to avoid such an issue. Whenever you are purchasing a home do not close on a home without inquiring as to whether the home is subject to any type of litigation, because this can cause serious issues in the future, such as those that now face Marshall. You should always consult with an attorney before purchasing a home.