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Cal State University Northridge Applying IRAC on Real Estate Analysis


There are TWO fact patterns you need to respond to located below the following instructions:

  • Answer all questions in IRAC format. You may have more than one IRAC per question.
  • Write accurate issue statements: Issue = party names + name of the rule of law + key fact.
  • Include comprehensive rule statements, including all rules of law the court will need to fully analyze the fact pattern and arrive at a legally sound conclusion.
  • Analyze all facts (evidence) presented. Argue both sides of all debatable issues.
  • Reach a decisive conclusion that clearly articulates whether defendant is liable and why.
  • Prioritize your discussion. How you prioritize and emphasize issues in your answer may affect your grade.
  • Read the questions very carefully. Answer the questions actually asked.
  • Reference to course reading and materials as much as possible and relevant to show you have mastered the material. Cite all your sources. Any citation format is acceptable.
  • If any additional information would be useful in your analysis, indicate what information would be helpful (and why it would help) and then state your assumptions in order to proceed with your analysis.
  • While generally your answer should be based on legal principles, you are also welcome to address other perspectives and concerns.


Although I made a few changes for purposes of your exam, the following facts were taken from an article in the LA Times titled: “Did an L.A. real estate broker shortchange the citizens of an African nation out of millions?” (Links to an external site.)

FACTS: The bluff-top mansion at the end of Malibu’s Sweetwater Mesa Road sold for more than $30 million in 2016. The home is 15,000 square feet of interior space, six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. There are multiple guest houses plus a guard house, a tennis court and a swimming pool.

The Seller was represented by Mauricio Umansky, a broker with the high-end real estate firm the Agency. The seller alleges that Umansky caused him to sell the home for millions less than it was worth in 2016 because he had partnered as an investor with the winning bidder, allowing the pair to maximize their profits when they resold it less than a year later.

However, the defendant argues, “Mr. Umansky did exactly what he was retained to do,” attorneys for Umansky and the Agency wrote in a court filing. “He sold the Sweetwater property with virtually no publicity, under a strict deadline and at a price above the appraised value.”

The seller insisted that the property not be advertised and the sale happen quietly, according to Fredric Trester, an attorney representing Umansky and the Agency. Umansky got five offers, and Seller settled on one for $33.5 million from Mauricio Oberfeld, a developer of luxury homes. Oberfeld would eventually buy the house in 2016 for $32.5 million after asking the Seller for a discount because of repairs that needed to be made at the property, which had been vacant. Before escrow closed, another investor, Sam Hakim, offered Oberfeld $8 million to take over his bid and purchase the property, suggesting that Hakim though the property was worth at least $41.5 million. Umansky never told the Seller about Hakim’s higher offer.

Oberfeld spent millions of dollars on renovations, then sold the house nine months later for $69.9 million, more than double his purchase price. And he had a partner in the deal: Umansky, a longtime business associate who invested alongside Oberfeld in the 2016 purchase and listed the home in 2017. The seller alleged Umansky did not disclose his investment until shortly before the sale closed.

The Seller alleged Umansky had used his position as both broker and buyer to get a deal that favored himself over the Seller.

Later, the Seller added a more explosive allegation: that Umansky pushed the sale to Oberfeld and recommended the $1-million discount, despite knowing that another potential buyer was interested in the property and was willing to pay $8 million more than Oberfeld. The Seller is upset because it appears that Umansky did not report the higher offer from Hakim even as he was recommending to the Seller that he agree to Oberfeld’s demand for a $1 million decrease in the purchase price due to necessary repairs.

In the case of Seller v. Umansky, what result? (Answer in IRAC format- 30 points)


FACTS: Michelle and her children live in an apartment owned by Lakefront, Inc., in North Hollywood, CA. Michelle has poor credit and was unable to find a suitable home for her family. She was relieved when she toured Lakefront’s property and was told that she could lease an apartment, even with her poor credit, if she put down 4 month’s rent as a deposit.

In the lease, which was prepared by Lakefront (they did not use the standard CAR form and instead prepared their own lease), is a clause stating:

“Tenant acknowledges that children tend to cause damage to residential units. Tenant shall be liable for all such damage. Further, Lakefront shall not be liable for any injury caused on the property.”

Michelle signed the lease prior to moving in. As she was moving in with the help of her kids, they scratched some paint off the wall when trying to position their furniture. After a few humid months, the paint started to peel off. Although Lakefront knew there was lead in the paint (it was a very old building), Lakefront did not disclose this to Michelle. Michelle called Lakefront and asked that someone come and re-paint her apartment but she was told that they only re-paint between tenants, after the tenant moves out.

One day, Michelle noticed that her 3-year-old was putting the paint chips in his mouth. The paint contained lead and the 3-year-old was hospitalized with lead poisoning. He recovered but Michelle incurred $300,000.00 in hospital bills. Michelle, who does not have health insurance for her family, sued Lakefront for her child’s injuries. Lakefront is refusing to settle stating that it’s Michelle’s responsibility for not mitigating her damages and repairing the wall, and in any event, she signed a waiver.

In Michelle v. Lakefront, what result?


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