Client’s been defrauded in sale of property — what date do you choose to determine the value of the property in calculating damages? Contract Date, Date of Close of Escrow, Trial Date?

In an unpublished BAP opinion (but citing published authority), the panel held that in order to determine the proper value of the damages re: the property that you were defrauded of — the court must use a date close to the contract date or date when escrow closed but not a date much later (i.e. trial date that was 7 years later or even date of confirmation).

In Joseph Zenovic (click here), the BAP found the proper date for valuing certain real property for the purpose of calculating damages claim is a date closer to the transaction date/close of escrow and not “as of the trial date” which in this case was about 6 years later. ┬áThe panel said that the danger of using an unduly late valuation date is that it might subject the defendant to liability for losses that the defendant did not cause.

As a side note, the panel found the proper prejudgment interest to apply is California’s 7.0% and not the fairly low, less than 1% federal rate.

Neat case.

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