The Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has much to celebrate. While the coach has been on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer several times this week, and now having secured a return to the Superbowl, the press will continue, but did you know that at the same time, he quietly won a significant victory in a Burlington County Court?
Earlier this month, a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Sirianni and his wife Brett in a court decision holding that home sellers have a duty to disclose if an outside party has a right of first refusal in a real estate sale. Incredibly, it is believed to be the first such ruling in New Jersey.
Sirianni was hired by the Eagles in January 2021. He and his wife Brett then went house hunting and found a home in Moorestown. The Sellers and Siriannis entered into a contract for $2.3 million; however, the property had a right of first refusal not initially disclosed by the seller. The clause, attached to the property by its previous owner, stated that any future agreements for the sale of the house must first be offered to his daughter for purchase under the same terms, then to his son, and if they both declined, to the family’s trust. That right of first refusal would remain with the property if the Siriannis purchased it.
The Siriannis asked the Seller to eliminate the clause, but while the seller and their legal team were able to waive the clause for the Sirianni purchase, it was not permanently removed from the property. As a result, the Siriannis refused to close on the deal and the home was sold to a different buyer for $1.95 million. The Seller then sued the Siriannis for the $350,000 difference.
After nearly two years of litigation, Judge Eric G. Fikry sided with the Eagles coach in the January 6th decision, establishing what appears to be a new legal precedent in the state of New Jersey, with potential nationwide implications.
Specifically, the court held that a seller has a duty to disclose a right of first refusal, or a buyer can terminate the contract.
The Court also ordered the seller to return the Sirianni’s $100,000 deposit and reimburse their costs for the title search, survey and mortgage application fees. A complete legal victory, with clear precedent for the next buyer in similar circumstances.
The timing of the ruling could not be better because, according to the court docket a trial would have started around the time of last week’s game against the New York Giants. Thankfully, Sirianni was able to fully focus on the game.
This decision will have a lasting impact on the New Jersey real estate market, and we can only hope that Sirianni’s winning streak continues with another Eagles Superbowl victory.