Psychiatric Injury to Real Estate, Part 2

Several months ago I wrote about a case in Delaware County involving psychiatric damage to real property.  At that time, the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas had denied preliminary objections and allowed the case to go forward.  The facts of the case were that a murder/suicide had taken place in a property listed for sale.  The purchaser learned of the incident after closing.  The murder/suicide was disclosed to the listing agent by the sellers who independently researched the issue of the need to disclose the murder to a prospective purchaser.  They also went so far as to obtain and memorialize in writing conversations with representatives of the State Real Estate Commission among other things.


After closing, the buyer sued for negligence and fraud and asserted a loss of nearly $100,000 based upon the psychiatric damage.  The Delaware County Court dismissed the case on motion and the dismissal was recently affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.  The decision was not unanimous – three judges felt that the seller had an affirmative duty under the Pennsylvania Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law codified at 68 Pa. C.S.A. –7102 to disclose the information. At the end of the day, the Superior Court refused to expand the disclosure requirement to deal with the character of a psychiatric disclosure.


– Bill Brennan

Posted in General / Opinion