Notaire should have checked on Google

A notaire has been held liable and made to pay damages for not doing checks on Google to get more information on a man selling a house 

24 January 2018

It turns out that the man’s business had gone into liquidation and the house was no longer his to sell.

The Paris appeal court found against the Besançon notaire, Me David Gaume, saying that a simple name search would have discovered vital information that should have flagged up problems over the sale.

The case dates to 2007 when the woodworking business owned by Enrico Brites Pires in Montargis, Pressigny Palettes, was put into liquidation and then seven years later, in March 2014, when Mr Brites Pires and his wife sold a house for €40,000. Me Gaume was the notaire.

However, the sale was completed just three weeks before Mr Brites Pires’ liquidator authorised another notaire, Me Jean-Paul Jousset from Orléans, to sell the house by public auction at €40,000.

Mr Jousset took court action against Me Gaume, Mr Brites Pires and the new ‘owner’ of the property.

He won the case but Me Gaume appealed, saying that he had carried out his obligations as he had consulted the two legal information sources, the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés (RCS) and the Bulletin Officiel des Annonces Civiles et Commerciales (Bodacc), and had found nothing against Mr Brites Pires.

The Paris court rejected his appeal saying that the Code Civil obliged him to carry out sufficient verifications on the seller’s situation to ensure that the seller was in a position to sell.

It supported Me Jousset’s claim that an internet search would have linked Mr Brites Pires to Pressigny Palettes and revealed that he was not, as he had told Me Gaumes, a maintenance worker, and that his business was in fact in liquidation.

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