Stewart Title of the Midwest v. Reece & Nichols RealtorsAnnotate this Case
This case arose as an interpleader action to settle the rights to one-half of a brokerage commission resulting from a residential real estate transaction. Reece & Nicholas Realtors, Inc. (RAN), the listing broker, refused to split the brokerage commission with Patrick McGrath, who acted as the broker for the buyer. McGrath was a licensed Kansas attorney but was not licensed under the Kansas Real Estate Brokers' and Salespersons' License Act (KREBSLA). RAN contended it was statutorily prohibited from paying a commission to any person not licensed under the KREBSLA. McGrath maintained that, as an attorney, he was exempt from the requirements of the KREBSLA. The district court granted RAN's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an attorney is exempt from the provisions of the KREBLA, including the prohibition against splitting a fee with a nonlicensee, only to the extent he or she is performing activities that are encompassed within or incidental to the practice of law; (2) this attorney exemption does not create an exception to the commission-splitting prohibition of KREBSLA; and (3) consequently, an attorney who is not licensed under the KREBSLA cannot share in a real estate brokerage commission.