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

Reblogger Karen Steed
Real Estate Agent with Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton Licensed in GA & AL

Oleanders are more prevalent in the southwest than they are in Georgia, but I have seen some planted in Tallapoosa, GA landscapes.  I was not aware that oleander leaves are poisonous to animals and people.  If you plant oleanders in your yard, should you be required to disclose this?

If you need real estate assistance in Tallapoosa, Ga or anywhere in West Georgia or East Alabama call Karen at Haralson Realty 678-521-3585 cell or 770-574-9221 office.


Original content by Greg Nino 0524642

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.


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 decided 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 oranisms 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.  





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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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Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Yes, Oleander is poisonous to pets.

But not all people know that, and most sellers would probably know that either.

Now that I think about it, if the buyer has a pet, it is probably more the buyer's responsibility to be aware of poisonous plants and how to recognize them when they take possession of a new home.

Jan 08, 2012 10:37 AM #1
Harry Morris
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate Co - Omaha, NE

This case sounds like a perfect candidate for a "Stella Award." A Stella Award is described on as "A bouquet of outrageous lawsuits [that] demonstrates the need for tort reform."  Wikipedia describes Stella Awards as follows:

"The Stella Awards are awards given to people who file outrageous and frivolous lawsuits, named after Stella Liebeck who, in 1992, ordered a cup of McDonald's coffee at a drive thru, took off the lid and put it in between her knees while sitting in the passenger seat of her grandson's car.[1] The 180 to 190 °F (82 to 88 °C) coffee spilled from the cup, causing third degree burns.[1] The lawsuits are documented by Colorado writer Randy Cassingham.[2] Cassingham documents the awards on a website[3] and in a 2005 book, both known as The True Stella Awards.[4] "

If this case is not outrageous, frivolous or ridiculous enough to qualify for the Stella Award, it could at least be a measure of the current level of economic desperation that exists in the Houston legal community. 

Is this plaintiff and lawyer going to be penalized for filing this suit that the defendant must hire an attorney to litigate? Probably not. Does this seller have legal insurance to protect him? Probably not, since only about 1-2% of the U.S. population has legal insurance. Did someone say "Tort Reform"?

The really crazy thing about some of these kind of cases is not only that they are filed, but that juries and courts actually may find in favor of the plainiff and award damages, which gives new meaning to the idea of justice being blind.  Maybe Lady Justice should be depicted as holding a sword in one hand, a scales in the other and wearing not only a blindfold, but also a strait jacket. No, that won't work. What we need here is another symbol for "crazy."

Perhaps the seller should file a counter-suit against the buyer for animal neglect by allowing their dog to eat the plant.

It could happen. This is America. We have 5% of the world's population and 85% of the world's lawyers. They have to pay for those BMWs somehow.

Jan 08, 2012 11:38 AM #2
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Karen Steed

Associate Broker Haralson Realty
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