Hagar v. Mobley

In Hagar v. Mobley, 638 P.2d 127, 136 (Wyo. 1981), the Court cited with approval the reasoning of the Utah Supreme Court reversing the dismissal of a claim against a realtor: "In this state, it is apparent that the rule of caveat emptor does not apply to those dealing with a licensed real estate agent. Though not occupying a fiduciary relationship with prospective purchasers, a real estate agent hired by the vendor is expected to be honest, ethical, and competent and is answerable at law for breaches of his or her statutory duty to the public." Hagar, 638 P.2d at 137 (quoting Dugan v. Jones, 615 P.2d 1239, 1248 (Utah 1980)). Furthermore, the Court cited with approval the Montana Supreme Court's then recent holding that real estate brokers have, like other professionals, certain standards of care which must be satisfied. The Court said that the Montana court observed that the failure to maintain those standards of skill, competency, and integrity exposes realtors to, in effect malpractice actions. Hagar, 638 P.2d at 137 (citing McCarty v. Lincoln Green, Inc. 190 Mont. 306, 620 P.2d 1221, 1225 (Mt. 1980)). The Court went on to state that we may exact a high standard of care from realtors and held that the standard of care for realtors may be adopted by the court from a legislative enactment. Id. (citing Distad v. Cubin, 633 P.2d 167 (Wyo. 1981)). The Court reiterated: "Realtors, just like doctors, lawyers, engineering consultants, and builders, hold themselves out as professionals; it is their job to know their profession. People rely on and trust them. Failure to comply with either the accepted standards in the field or the standards society is willing to recognize as acceptable, is actionable." (Hagar, 638 P.2d at 138.) As to the question of damages, the Court held "the liability of real estate agents, brokers and salespersons, as in all actions predicated upon the failure to perform some duty, sounds in tort. In tort cases damages are generally awarded in order to compensate claimants for loss. The measure of damages is the amount which will compensate for all the detriment proximately caused by the breach of duty." Hagar, at 139.