The trial court did not err in granting defendant seller summary judgment against plaintiff’s claim that seller failed to disclose non-obvious defects in construction of the vineyard and tasting room seller sold to plaintiff. A seller of real property owes the buyer a duty to disclose facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property that are not otherwise within a buyer’s knowledge through diligent attention and observation—but only when the seller had actual or constructive knowledge of the undisclosed facts. Here, seller produced on summary judgment a deposition of plaintiff’s principal admitting lack of evidence to contradict seller’s claim of ignorance of the building’s defects. That shifted the burden to plaintiff, who did not satisfy it by submitting a structural engineer’s declaration detailing the defects he found—since he stated that those defects were not obvious to someone lacking his technical training and thus he did not show that seller must have known about the defects, numerous and serious as they might have been. Seller employed various construction professionals at various times, but there was no evidence that they gained knowledge of defects while acting as seller’s agents in dealings with third parties sufficient to impute their supposed knowledge of the building’s defects to seller.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3 (Jenkins, J.); September 29, 2017; 2017 WL 4325299