Voorde Poorte v. Evans

Washington Court of Appeals

832 P.2d 105 (Wash. Ct. App. 1992)

In a real estate contract that places the risk of loss on the seller prior to closing, possession of the property by the buyer prior to closing will not shift the risk of loss to the buyer if the home is destroyed prior to closing.

Relevant Facts

William and Jeanette Evans (the defendants) entered into a real-estate contract to buy a mobile home from Art and Ann Voorde Poorte (the plaintiffs). The terms of the agreement set a closing date of August 15, 1987 and entitled the defendants to possession at closing. Further, the contract set the risk of loss on the plaintiffs until closing, and if the property was destroyed by fire, the defendants had the right to terminate the contract. The plaintiffs had difficulty clearing title to the home, which delayed the closing. Prior to closing, the defendants took possession. Shortly thereafter, the mobile home was destroyed by an electrical fire. The defendants notified the plaintiffs of their decision to terminate the contract. Subsequently, the plaintiffs brought suit, alleging breach of contract.

The defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit. The plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the defendants should bear the risk of loss of the mobile home because the defendants took early possession of the home without the plaintiffs’ knowledge or consent.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 13, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

832 P.2d 105 (Wash. Ct. App. 1992)