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Sometimes common sense gets kicked out of Orange County courtrooms.
That was the case in Bradford Kuish v. William W. Smith. In December 2005, Kuish offered $14 million for Smith's Laguna Beach estate and made a substantial deposit. Smith found another buyer willing to pay $15 million for the beachfront property, but refused to refund Kuish's $600,000 deposit. Smith claimed he considered the money "non-refundable."
Following a bench trial, Superior Court Judge David T. McEachen sided with Smith. This month, however, the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana overruled McEachen and noted that the terms of the deposit never mentioned a non-refundable status. The justices ordered McEachen "to issue a new opinion consistent" with their decision.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly