No Jury Trials Allowed in Certain Real Estate Cases

In a recent case, Anderson v. Klasek (2009 Ill.App.LEXIS 708, 5th Dist., 2009), the Buyers sued the Seller, the Seller’s real estate agent, and their own home inspector after closing on a home that was infested with termites and had purportedly been treated for the same. The home inspector settled the case outside of court, but the Seller and the Seller’s real estate agent decided to proceed to trial. The real estate agent demanded a trial by jury, which the judge granted.

Subsequently, the Buyers lost the case. They filed an appeal on the grounds that the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act, which was the basis of part of their claim, did not allow for trial by jury. The appellate court agreed, stating that the Illinois legislature had not allowed for trials by jury when drafting the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act. Cases that fall within the purview of this Act should therefore be tried in front of a judge, not a jury. The court also added that the Real Estate License Act and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act should also be tried in front of a judge, not a jury.

When bringing cases before the court, attorneys and real estate practitioners should keep in mind that a jury trial might not always be an option!