Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to Rule in Real Estate Agent Case

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is expected to decide a case that will have a resounding impact on the way real estate is handled under Massachusetts law.

The case, Monell, et al. v. Boston Pads, LLC, et al., will address whether the lower court judge properly exempted the real estate industry from the requirements set forth for independent contractors in Mass. G.L.c. 149, § 148B.

In the initial case, the plaintiffs worked for a real estate company, in which they were paid by means of commission. However, their positions were allegedly controlled and directed in a manner more commonly carried out in a typical employer-employee relationship. Such control included such factors as a dress code.

The relevant statute regarding real estate provides that an agent may be classified as either an independent contractor or an employee. However, the law also states that all agents must operate under a broker.

Separately, the independent contractor statute requires that sales people operate entirely free from the control and direction typically seen in employment relationships in order to be properly deemed independent contractors.

The issue that arose, then, is how real estate sales people can possibly be free from control of the broker, when they are required to work under one in an unrelated and literally conflicting statute under Massachusetts law.

Counsel for the defendants in the case has argued that the real estate law supersedes the independent contractor law, since it is more specific to the way in which the real estate sales realm works.

An unrelated group has filed an amicus brief, arguing that the independent contractor statute should be applied explicitly, absent a legislative exception.

It will be interesting to see how the court rules, and to what extent the decision has an impact on the real estate market within Massachusetts. In addition to a potential impact on real estate sales, the decision could also have a resounding impact on issues typically related to employment, such as carrying workers’ compensation insurance, as required by law, and the like.

Being represented by an experienced Massachusetts real estate lawyer is not only required during the course of a closing, but  it’s also generally a good idea. Attorneys owe their clients various duties in order to ensure that they are being zealously represented. This sort of representation is advantageous during any stage of a real estate transaction.

The property transactions attorneys at Pulgini & Norton offer meticulous advice in regards to home purchases and refinancing. Our attorneys can advise you regarding every phase of the process, identifying and addressing in advance any potential obstacles that could affect your goals. We serve clients in Somerville, Cambridge, and Malden, among other communities. You can reach us by calling  (781) 843-2200, or by contacting us online in order to schedule an initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Massachusetts Zoning Laws and Construction Permits, Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer Blog, published May 14, 2015

U.S. Department of Justice Announces Settlement in Massachusetts Fair Housing Discrimination Case, Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer Blog, published May 7, 2015

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