Buyer Sues Seller For Not Disclosing Deadly Plants Eaten By Pet Rott. Disclosure Nightmare?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642
https://activerain.com/droplet/qQH

Your average home seller isn't a Botanist. And your average seller plants and cares for many plants and shrubs they know very little about. Throughout the Houston area we have an abundance of Oleanders. These shrubs are widely popular because of their extreme durability, price and overall appearance.

oleander 

When consumed by mammals, especially dogs, oleanders can kill. But so can many other types of plants. A friend of mine who owns a landscaping company told me that many of the plants in your average garden are considered toxic. One lady reportedly died from attempting to make oleander tea as a last ditch effort to cure her cancer. Another man died from eating mass quantities of it because he read that it was a natural plant that could cure his stomach cancer.

Should a seller disclose anything they know about the dangers of their plants?

If I were an attorney, and I'm not, I'd say yes. You should disclose anything relevant to the property that might expose you for claim. Best to over disclose and get a signature...then be forced to explain later.

Or maybe that's being extreme. It's not like homeowners disclose that the batteries in the upstairs smoke detector are old, cheap and likely to stop working. I suspect there will be comments from readers on this post that will suggest a buyer with pets should have the responsibility to decide if plants are harmful to their pet or not. A seller shouldn't be responsible to understand, learn or know the danger levels of every plant or chemical used in their lawn. Lets not even talk about the organisms in the pool or type of fertilizer tossed out back. Damn those electromagnetic fields from the power lines! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!  

Today you're the Jury!

The Plaintiff (buyer) is suing the homeowner for 10 trillion dollars because the buyers salivating Rott ate some oleander as a side salad with the neighbors pussy cat & died. Hey don't laugh, this is America.  

Posted by

 

 
Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)

www.GiveMeMyHomesValue.com

www.EverydayHoustonHomes.Com

 

 

The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  

 

 

 

 

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Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Doug Patterson 01/08/2012 01:39 AM
  2. Jimmy Phan 01/08/2012 01:57 AM
  3. Kathy Sheehan 01/08/2012 02:31 AM
  4. Helen Dansker 01/08/2012 03:34 AM
  5. Jon Quist 01/08/2012 05:50 AM
  6. Karen Steed 01/08/2012 10:32 AM
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Rainer
61,647
John King
Bluefax Realty, LLC - San Antonio, TX
President & Broker

Attorneys have to make a living too.  Just saying :)

Jan 09, 2012 06:48 AM #213
Rainmaker
427,977
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Just about every yard has something dangerous in it. I think its up to the dog owner to check out the yard to ensure the safety of their pet. As a dog owner I have always inspected the yard in every home I have purchased for hidden dangers. Then I don't leave the dog unattended until all cacti or other offenders have been removed.

Jan 09, 2012 07:49 AM #214
Rainmaker
295,932
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

The american dream these days is preficed by saying "my attorney says . . . "  What a shame!

It it wasn't for threat of politics or lawsuits, think how much further ahead of China, Japan and Russia we would be.  I think even the Somlian pirates are outpacing our GNP as a result.

Jan 09, 2012 09:16 AM #215
Rainmaker
213,832
Dora Griffin
D A Griffin Financial.LLC - Fort Thomas, KY
NMLS 6380

Common sense would say the buyer should be aware of the plants that may harm their pet(s). Pet owners should not leave their pets unattended. Some dogs eat everything - this week my niece had her yellow lab operated on to remove half a shirt, after finding 3 socks in her gut a week earlier. My pets would not be left to their own devices, even in a fenced yard.

Jan 09, 2012 09:32 AM #216
Rainmaker
813,512
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi  Greg interesting post and thanks for sharing.  But in my opinion another example of a litigious society gone wild!

Jan 09, 2012 11:39 AM #217
Rainer
193,008
Kristina Heili
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Woodbury, MN
Comprehensive Real Estate Services

Shame on attorneys who would even entertain this to be a legit claim. It's a BUYER BEWARE situation and should be solely the buyer's responsibility to check out any potential hazzards possibly lurking in the backyard. This isn't any much different from a buyer having the sole responsibility to check out criminal activities or predatory sex offenders in the neighborhood.

Jan 10, 2012 02:34 AM #218
Rainer
84,237
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

#110 - I heard a joke from a lawyer friend of mine as well.  "Why did New Jersey get all the toxic waste dumps and California the attorneys?  New Jersey got first choice!"

Jan 10, 2012 02:48 AM #219
Rainer
343,076
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

People have to hold themselves responsible. If you own a dog do some reserach and find out what is good and bad for him.  Common sense.

Jan 10, 2012 05:59 AM #220
Rainmaker
163,915
Faye Y. Taylor
StepStone Realty, LLC - Floresville, TX
Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni

Have you seen all the oleanders on the side of the highways in Texas?  It is the favorite plant of the TX Hwy Dept.  Can we sue them if we stop to walk our dogs & they eat the oleanders? 

Don't think you have to disclose what you don't know.

Jan 11, 2012 09:31 AM #221
Rainer
295,171
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
TimeshareLawyers.pro - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

WOW, I am shocked (but I suppose not surprised) by this type of lawsuit....personally..as\nd as an attorney,  I am appalled by this lawsuit!!

Jan 11, 2012 07:20 PM #222
Rainer
343,076
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Frivolous lawsuits should be dealt with harshly. Person that brings it forward should have to pay all the lawyer fees for both sides and all court costs.

Jan 12, 2012 01:49 AM #223
Rainer
9,916
Gloria Marina
EWM Realty - Coral Gables, FL

Wow! So if I sell my house here in Florida do I need to disclose that there are lizards in my yard and they can be harmful to cats? What about the buffo toads? They certainly are harmful to dogs? Snakes? Fire ants? Where does it end. I had a dog that I had to put down because he kept eating paint -- should I have sued Benjamin Moore? Hum maybe I could have retired already.

Jan 24, 2012 08:40 AM #224
Rainer
140,586
Chris "The Loan Ranger" McBrearty, NMLS 274079
People's Mortgage Company - Rancho Bernardo, CA
FHA, VA, USDA, Loan Officer and Educator

Every disclosure we have is representative of a lawsuit filed somewhere at some time.

Oleander is very dangerous. I have a neighbor that did not know this. He made a habit of throwing his cuttings and trimmings into my 40 acre cow pasture. i was happy with this because a variety of greens is good for the cows. One day he threw in oleander and I lost a prized cow leaving her calf orphaned.

This is not the only dangerous plant around though. There are many growing in my yard that are extremely toxic!

My vote is that this is overkill and filing a suit is ridiculous.

Buyers, get to know your property when you buy it. Put on your big boy and girl pants and take control of your destiny! Walk around your yard and look for inherint risks inlcuding plants, animal dens and dangerous objects. Be responsible for yourself and your loved ones including your pets.

Jan 24, 2012 09:40 AM #225
Rainmaker
121,035
Bob Krus
Keller Williams Foothills Realty - Evergreen, CO
What About Bob? For All Your Real Estate Needs!

What if the cat ate the oleander and the dog ate the cat...

Jan 26, 2012 05:13 AM #226
Rainmaker
686,539
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Maybe cat and oleander is a toxic mixture? Seriously, I just never thought about this. The California Association of Realtors need to put that on the property disclosure statement! You know, absolving sellers and agents about knowing plants.

Dec 28, 2012 05:03 AM #227
Rainmaker
48,375
Kelvi Cunningham
ERA High Pointe Realty - Manhattan, KS

Your post made me think of the words in the book "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly"

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a bird,
How absurd to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that, to swallow a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a dog,
My, what a hog, to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

 

I know an old lady who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow,
I wonder how she swallowed a cow?!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a horse,
She's dead, of course!!

Dec 28, 2012 06:50 AM #228
Rainmaker
1,078,723
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

I hope the neighbors are equally suing the owners of the Rott for eating their pussy cat. In my mind, the Rott got what he deserved.

Sharon

Dec 28, 2012 10:53 AM #229
Rainmaker
863,166
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Frivolous lawsuits. Are we to disclose that there are toxins in the air and bacteria in the water? What about the buyers due diligence? Curious to find out what was the outcome of the lawsuit.

Dec 28, 2012 12:22 PM #230
Rainer
136,205
Julie Bentley
Watson Realty Corp, Jacksonville, FL - St Johns, FL
Saint Johns, FL REALTOR

When is disclosure too much? Should we disclose that the microwave emits rays? That the [insert tree name here] may cause allergies? Or that licking shingles may cause you to get sick? At some point it should fall on the buyer to become informed and use reasonable sense in their home. Unless the shrubs were being marketed as pet food, it seems to me that a reasonable person wouldn't assume it was okay for their dog to eat them.

Congrats on your position in the Top 10 of 2012!

Dec 29, 2012 09:47 AM #231
Rainmaker
1,437,282
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

ha, they are not shy with a number: 10 trillion dollars?!

I like that their lawyer is that confident in success:) or did they come up themselves with this number?

Dec 30, 2012 08:46 AM #232
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Rainmaker
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Greg Nino

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