My parents were recently in a real estate dispute when it came to selling their old home. At the end of mediation, they were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding the entire case (when they complained about it, they were told to sign or prepare to continue litigation). However, the new owner and their attorney have done something regarding this sale that I believe to be criminal, enough that I'm willing to submit the matter to the appropriate authority (please don't worry about the details of the crime, as it isn't really relevant to my question).
My question: If I submit this matter to the authorities, can the purchaser and their attorney come after my parents for violating the non-disclosure agreement? If yes, is there a good way to report this without getting in trouble?Interesting, I have an answer of "No", an answer of "Probably no" and an answer of "Yes" :). Again, my real concern is if *I* am the one that reports it. I was aware of the situation long before the NDA was signed, and *I* never signed one myself. It seems like Mr. Barnes is saying that it is very much legal to effective gag someone (and those around that someone) from reporting a crime, which seems fishy to me (though I appreciate the perspective, since essentially you're saying to be cautious). But if you think this is a real concern here, what is the right way for *me* to report this to authorities?
Generally, no. It is against public policy to prevent people from reporting crimes. Furthermore, if the NDA was executed by virtue of some intentional misrepresentation or fraud--then it is null.
Another consideration would be the areas covered by the NDA. I doubt crimes are included in there. Without knowing the facts, I would say the answer is generally no.
I would look at this is a little bit differently. It is not about whether or not the agreement covers this issue at all. I wouldn't even have to look at the agreement. It doesn't matter what the agreement says. The agreement could specifically contain a covenant that would prevent the disclosure and it wouldn't matter. It is an absolute privilege to make a report of a potential crime to any government agency at any time. Any contract attempting to limit that right is void. Any lawsuit for breach of contract because of a report of a potential crime to a government agency would likely be thrown out of court by an "anti-slapp" motion. Nothing to worry about.
Kevin A. Spainhour, Esq. - Hopefully this information is helpful. My answering this question giving my general thoughts does not create an attorney/client relationship and is not a legal opinion. The only way to create an attorney client relationship is to retain our services and that can be done over the phone, email or in person.
Yes, the purchaser can come after your parents for violating the non-disclosure agreement. If there really was criminal conduct, that effort will be unsuccessful. But they cannot escape the effect of the non-disclosure agreement by simply claiming that they though a crime might have been committed.
Your parents need to contact a lawyer to provide them with detailed advice based on the specific facts of this matter. Otherwise they run the risk of incurring substantial civil liability.
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