Bank of New York Mellon, N.A. v. Re/Max Realty OneAnnotate this Case
A Bank and Re/Max Realty One signed a listing agreement granting Re/Max the exclusive right to sell a certain property. A buyer signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with the Bank and paid $86,900 in earnest money, which Re/Max held in escrow. The buyer later defaulted under the terms of the agreement. Re/Max subsequently procured a second buyer to purchase the property. After participating in mediation, the Bank and the first buyer agreed the divide the earnest money between themselves, with $49,500 going to the Bank and $37,400 to the buyer. Re/Max sent a $37,400 check to the buyer and a check for $24,750 to the Bank, retaining the remaining $24,750. The Bank sued Re/Max for breach of the listing agreement stemming from Re/Max’s retention of $24,750 of the earnest money. The superior court granted summary judgment to the Bank. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that Re/Max was entitled to summary judgment on the Bank’s breach of contract claim because the unambiguous language of the listing agreement obligated the Bank to divide any forfeited earnest money with Re/Max, including money the Bank received pursuant to its mediated agreement with the first buyer.