BRADFORD V. GOODWIN, 56 VA. CIR. 370, 2001 VA. CIR. LEXIS 473 (VA. CIR. CT. 2001)
Plaintiff purchaser of a house sued defendant sellers of the house, seeking specific performance of a contract for the sale of the home. The purchaser moved to compel discovery.
The purchaser sought disclosure of communications between the sellers’ real estate agent and their attorney. The court held that the attorney-client privilege attached to communications of the client made to the attorney’s agents when such agent’s services were indispensable to the attorney’s representation. If a communication would have been privileged if made directly between an attorney and his client, it was equally privileged when made through the client’s agent or employee. The court found that acceptance of the contract by the purchaser was communicated to the sellers by the acceptance date provided for in the contract. Under the terms of the contract, the settlement date was to have been extended to remedy defects in title. Rather than correct the defect found in title, the sellers notified the purchaser of their desire to terminate the contract. As a result of the breach by the sellers, the purchaser was entitled to specific enforcement of the conveyance and to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees. What amounts an attorney charged his client in litigation did not automatically entitle the client to a dollar for dollar recovery against the opposing party.
The court deferred ruling on the motion to compel. The court ordered settlement in accordance with the terms of the contract. The court also awarded counsel fees to the purchaser in the amount of $ 3,000.
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