A Douglas County woman has filed a complaint against a Roseburg real estate company for what she claims is representation so bad that it cost her a fifth-wheel trailer she owned, and the chance to buy a house she wanted.
Sally Willis filed the complaint against Currieco Real Estate in Douglas County Circuit Court on Oct. 26. Willis, who is seeking $17,500 for negligence, is represented by Portland attorney Paul Conable.
Valynn Curry is the owner/broker of Currieco Real Estate. The company has not formally responded to the complaint. Curry declined to comment.
According to the complaint, in 2019, Willis was living in an RV in the Roseburg area. She was in her 70s and employed part-time. Willis wanted to buy a house in the Canyonville area. She began working with Leonard Davis, a real estate agent in the Currieco Real Estate office.
Davis, who has since died, was an experienced real estate agent, according to the complaint, and he worked as Willis’ agent and represented himself as being associated with her.
Willis, by contrast, was “comparatively unsophisticated” in real estate and financial matters. She relied on Davis’ expertise in real estate matters to guide her in her home search.
Davis and Willis located a house in Canyonville that Willis liked. However, when Willis tried to buy the house, she and Davis learned that she was not able to secure mortgage financing because her debt-to-income ratio was too high.
Davis was determined that the purchase should go through despite Willis’ debt ratio. In an effort to reduce her apparent debt, Davis suggested to Willis that she sell a fifth-wheel trailer she owned. The trailer was encumbered by a secured note for approximately $17,500, which was held by Selco Community Credit Union, based in Eugene.
The trailer was advertised for sale. An individual named Richard Otis McCracken responded that he was interested in acquiring the trailer but did not have cash or access to financing to make the buy.
Davis responded that Willis herself could finance the sale. He presented her with a generic contract document, titled “Security Agreement,” which he had apparently printed off the internet, according to the complaint.
Davis gave the agreement to Willis and told her that she could sell her trailer to McCracken under the agreement, and that the purchase would be “secured,” according to the complaint.
Davis then filled in the blanks on the agreement. The purchase price was set at $17,000. A generic “Promissory Note” was attached. The note — a downloaded, fill-in-the-blank contract like the agreement — set the amount at $17,500, not $17,000. The note set the interest at “same as Willis pays on her loan,” but did not specify what that rate was. The note also specified monthly payments, by mail, of $201.45.
Neither the note nor the agreement provided any actual security for the loan from Willis to McCracken. The agreement listed two vehicles as “collateral” — a 1986 Toyota and a 2006 Plymouth Horizon — but did not identify any security interest in the purported collateral.
NO MORE TRAILERFollowing Davis’ advice, Willis signed both documents that Davis had provided and prepared. McCracken signed them too, and took possession of Willis’ trailer.
Because Davis’ agreement provided no actual security for the debt, there was nothing to stop McCracken from simply driving away with the trailer and disappearing — which he did, according to the complaint.
“McCracken made only a few payments on the note, and then simply left with her trailer,” the complaint said.
For purposes of her home purchase, however, Davis treated the trailer as having been sold, with a corresponding reduction in Willis’ debt. This supposed debt reduction allowed Willis to qualify to purchase the home in Canyonville. Davis was her agent for the purchase, and he and Currieco Real Estate received a commission on the sale.
But Willis’ debt had not been reduced. Although Davis was aware of the Selco loan and security interest in the trailer, he did not actually review the terms and conditions of the loan, according to the complaint.
“If he had, he would have learned that, under the Selco loan, Willis was not permitted to sell or transfer her trailer without first satisfying her debt to Selco. That debt, after all, was secured by the trailer,” the complaint said. “Not only did Davis cause Willis to hand over her trailer to McCracken with no security, he also caused her to breach her obligations under the Selco loan. Even though the trailer is gone, Willis still has to make payments on the Selco loan.
“Willis relied on Davis to act in her interests and advise her in real estate transactions,” the complaint continues. “In order to allow her to qualify for a house she could not afford, Davis caused her to hand over her trailer, without any security, to McCracken. He exposed her to liability under the Selco loan. And he advised her to sign grossly inadequate contracts, which he had prepared, and which did nothing to protect her when McCracken stole her trailer.”
As her real estate agent, Davis owed Willis duties of reasonable care and diligence. And as the real estate agency that employed Davis, Currieco Real Estate was responsible for Davis’ actions, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Davis acted negligently and breached his and Currieco Real Estate’s duties of care by advising Willis to give her trailer to McCracken without security; advising Willis to sign the agreement and note he had prepared without first ensuring they provided security to Willis; and failing to recognize or advise Willis she was breaching the terms of the Selco loan by transferring the trailer to McCracken.
As a result of Davis and Currieco’s negligence, Willis lost her trailer without any compensation, but was still obligated to pay on her $17,500 loan to Selco loan, the complaint said. Because of that, Willis is seeking $17,500 from Currieco Real Estate, as well as attorney fees and other costs associated with the case.