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Pennsylvania Attorney Obtains Favorable Verdict in Magisterial District Court

Pittsburgh attorney Kyle A. Peterson recently obtained a verdict in Washington County, Pennsylvania in favor of a real estate company client that was sued by a home buyer for the alleged failure to disclose information during their real estate transaction.

During the transaction that was related to the purchasing of a home, our client allegedly failed to disclose information pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). The UTPCPL is intended to prevent “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce,” as defined by the statute. The alleged non-disclosed information was related to a stayed foreclosure on the home. Therefore, Plaintiff sought $12,000 in damages, the magistrate court’s jurisdictional maximum, related partially to attorney’s fees and the loss of a seller assist payment.

The case was heard in Magistrate District Court in Washington County, Pennsylvania in August 2021. Litchfield Cavo LLP attorney Kyle Peterson’s contentions, on behalf of our client, included the disclosure of a “threatened or existing legal action affecting the property”; the immediate disclosure of the stayed foreclosure affecting the property upon Plaintiff’s real estate agent’s inquiry, substantially ahead of the closing date; fact-specific reasons why Plaintiff was motivated to get the sale completed early, and why those actions were the reason he lost out on the seller assist money; and, also public policy-related reasons for not allowing the UTPCPL to benefit Plaintiff.

The Court held that our client’s conduct during negotiations did not serve to create a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding, as required for liability under the “catch-all” category under section 201-2(4)(xxi) of the UTPCPL. Prior to this case, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently had reinterpreted the meaning of provisions within the UTPCPL. Nonetheless, Kyle was still able to prevail on behalf of our client, even where the new Pennsylvania Supreme Court case law was directly cited by Plaintiff’s counsel.

Kyle focuses his law practice in the areas of mass and toxic torts, general liability and employment law, and has additional experience handling products liability claims. He has represented a variety of manufacturing and industrial clients in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia state courts.