Friday, September 7, 2007
It’s common for home buyers to sue sellers for breach of contract or fraud when the home turns out to have an undisclosed problem. But a recent Massachusetts decision gives them an additional cause of action: negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In the case, Pizzochero v. Vergados, Mass. Law. Weekly No. 13-049-07, the buyer suffered headaches caused by sewage in the basement, which presumably came from the septic system. He testified that the odor caused him nausea and headaches for six months. At trial he won on his breach of contract and misrepresentation claims, and the jury also gave him $7,000 for his emotional distress.
The state appellate court held that he could recover the money even though the sole evidence of his physical symptoms was his own testimony.