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Fineg v. Pickrell

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 18, 1956

Bert FINEG, Appellant,
v.
W. W. PICKRELL, Appellee.

Page 456

[81 Ariz. 314] Frank E. Flynn, Phoenix, for appellant.

Snell & Wilmer, Phoenix, for appellee.

[81 Ariz. 315] LA PRADE, Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment, granted on motion, dismissing the first cause of action as stated in appellant-plaintiff's amended complaint. The essential elements of the first cause of action stated in the amended complaint are as follows:

That the appellant and the appellee were at all times mentioned in the complaint realtor members of the Phoenix Real Estate Board, Inc., hereinafter referred to as the Phoenix Board;

That each executed an individual pledge, pursuant to the by-laws of the Phoenix Board, asserting that he would observe, and therefore be subject to, the articles of incorporation, by-laws, and rules and regulations of both the Phoenix Board and the Arizona Association of Realtors, Inc., as well as the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and its constitution and by-laws;

That the following provisions of the by-laws of the Phoenix Board and the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards are pertinent and were in effect at all times mentioned in the complaint;

Article 2 of Part 1 of the Code of Ethics:

'The Realtor should so conduct his business as to avoid controversies with his fellow-realtors, but in the event of a controversy between Realtors who are members of the same Real Estate Board, such controversy should be submitted for arbitration in accordance with the regulations of their Board and not to a suit at law, and the decision in such arbitration should be accepted as final and binding.'

Article 4 of Part 1 of the Code of Ethics:

'When a Realtor is charged with unethical practice, he should voluntarily place all pertinent facts before the proper tribunal of the Real Estate Board of which he is a member, for investigation and judgment.'

Article 5 of the by-laws of the Phoenix Board:

'The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards is hereby adopted as a part of the Rules and Regulations of the Board, and the Rules and Regulations of the Board shall be deemed to be amended and changed by the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Each Article of the Code of Ethics pertaining to ethical practices shall be interpreted as a mandatory requirement of each Realtor: and the Realtor shall require his salesmen to comply with the provisions of the Code of Ethics.'

Section 1 of Article 20 of the by-laws of the Phoenix Board:

'Court of Ethics. There shall be a Curt of Ethics composed of nine (9) [81 Ariz. 316] members, for the purpose of conducting hearings and recommending penalties for Realtor members who are guilty of violating * * *,'

any of the provisions which the realtors agreed to observe by signing the pledge.

Section 12 of Article 20 of by-laws of the Phoenix Board provides in effect that when a realtor is accused of violating any of the provisions he has pledged to observe and his guilt established at a proper hearing, the Court of Ethics may recommend in addition to recommending such restitution to the injured parties deemed

Page 457

equitable, a fine of not less than $25 and not to exceed $300, or a period of probation, or a period of suspension, or a fine and suspension, or expulsion;

That the by-laws of the Phoenix Board also provide that all decisions of the Court of Ethics shall be construed as recommendations and shall be referred to the Board of Directors for ratification, and that when a decision of the Court of Ethics is sustained by the Board of Directors the plaintiff and defendant shall be furnished a written copy of the decision, and they shall be required to abide by such decision as final in all cases of such nature that may not directly concern the National or State Association;

That the appellant pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Ethics and the rules, regulations and by-laws of the Phoenix Board, filed a complaint with said Board, the body of which complaint is in words and figures as follows:

'The Plaintiff herein is a duly qualified Real Estate Broker under the laws of the State of Arizona. This complaint involves the purchase by one C. A. Helsing of the property located on the Southeast corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren, and owned by the Heard Investment Company.

'This complaint is made against W. W. Pickrell and Walter Pocock of Pocock & Smith, Realtors.

'The plaintiff alleges that he was informed by the defendant, W. W. Pickrell that he was acting as realtor for the owner of said property in an effort to secure a sale thereof and that said defendant agreed orally with this plaintiff that if he secured a purchaser for said property at the sale price of Two Hundred Thousand ($200,000.00) Dollars, and that the commission for securing such sale would be divided as follows:

'40 percent to the defendant-60 percent to the plaintiff. That thereafter the plaintiff relying on said understanding with the defendant, W. W. Pickrell, produced the said C. A. Helsing, who was ready, able and willing to purchase said property at the agreed price and on the agreed terms.

[81 Ariz. 317] 'That the defendants well knowing the foregoing facts caused a contract to be executed for the sale of said property to the said C. A. Helsing at the sale price of One Hundred Ninety-Four Thousand ($194,000.00) Dollars. The difference of Six Thousand ($6000.00) Dollars in the sale price and the price for which plaintiff was to sell said property was the amount of commission plaintiff would be entitled to. That the sale of said property, above alleged, was consummated by the defendants without notifying this plaintiff that such sale was being made. That this plaintiff upon learning that this property was being sold by defendants to C. A. Helsing and that the same was in escrow in the Phoenix Title & Trust Company, did on August 28, 1953, notify said Title & Trust Company on behalf of the Lee Ackerman Enterprises and the Title Realty Company, that said plaintiff was entitled to a commission as a broker for producing a purchaser for said sale.

'That the defendants by their action as above set forth, violated the ethics of the Real Estate Board; first, in not notifying the plaintiff of the contemplated sale and second, by accepting as their commission an amount less than the minimum fee as ...


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