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Swinton v. Whitinsville Sav. Bank

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Brief Fact Summary. Defendant Whitinsville Savings Bank sold Plaintiff Swinton a house that was infested with termites. Defendant knew of the infestation but did not inform Plaintiff of the infestation.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A selling party is not liable for failing to disclose defects.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

The law has not yet, we believe, reached the point of imposing upon the frailties of human nature a standard so idealistic as this.

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Facts. Plaintiff purchased a home from Defendant. Defendant knew that the house was infested with termites and did not disclose this fact to Plaintiff. Plaintiff could not readily observe the condition, but Defendant did not prevent Plaintiff from acquiring information as to the condition of the house.

Issue. Must a seller of a home disclose every known defect?

Held. No. Absent a false statement, the concealment of a known defect is not actionable. Here, the facts do not demonstrate that the defendant made a misrepresentation or a representation at all regarding the condition of the home. Defendant merely concealed the termite infestation from Plaintiff, for which Plaintiff can recover no damages.

Discussion. One cannot recover damages for the concealment of a known defect.

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