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Commercial Broker Not Liable For Metroscan Information

January 26, 2005 | Ralph J. Swanson
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Commercial brokers can pass on widely used real estate database information with a disclaimer to a potential buyer without fear of liability, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mary Jo Levinger ruled in a judgment entered on January 26, 2005 in favor of Cornish & Carey.

In ruling in favor of Cornish & Carey on all claims, attorney Ralph Swanson, who represented Cornish & Carey, stated, “The Court has affirmed the common industry practice.”

The dispute centered around the stated acreage in a Metroscan printout for commercial property located at 2865 Park Boulevard in Palo Alto, which a Cornish & Cary agent had supplied to Court House Plaza before it entered into a purchase agreement. Court House Plaza claimed that the acreage stated in the Metroscan information was inaccurate and should have been researched by the broker at the county assessor’s office. The judge disagreed, basing her decision in part on the disclaimer that Cornish & Carey provided along with the Metroscan information.

The case between Court House Plaza and Cornish & Carey is 1-04-CV-013559. It was consolidated with Court House Plaza’s underlying case against the seller of the property, Arco Securities, Inc., and an affiliate, Mercer Processing, Inc. (Case. No. 1-01-CV-797922). The judge also found in favor of the sellers in the underlying matter.


Ralph Swanson, Berliner Cohen partner, has been practicing law since 1975.  During his many years of experience in commercial and environmental litigation, he has represented a variety of clients, from individuals to large, publicly-traded corporations, in business disputes, environmental and toxic contamination litigation (including Cal/OSHA environmental injury claims), real estate matters, trusts and estates, trade secrets, and closely held and family-owned business disputes. He also serves as a Judge Pro Tem, Settlement Conference Judge, Mediator and Arbitrator of such disputes through private and court-coordinated programs.  For more information, please contact Mr. Swanson at

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