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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

JEFFREY K. BROOKS
JODY A. BROOKS
631 Truxton Road
Annapolis, MD 21409

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Plaintiffs,
v.

BARBARA VAN HORN


637 Truxton Road
Annapolis, MD 21409

Case No:

and,

CHAMPION REALTY, INC.


541-B Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard
Severna Park, MD 21146
Serve On:
R/A for Champion Realty, Inc.
The Corporation Trust Incorporated
351 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

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and
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THE JOAN A. BROSEKER
REVOCABLE TRUST
607 Thomas Way
Severna Park, MD 21146
Serve On:
Joan Broseker, Trustee
607 Thomas Way
Severna Park, MD 21146

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and

JOAN BROSEKER
607 Thomas Way
Severna Park, MD 21146

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Defendants.
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COMPLAINT
Jeffrey K. Brooks and Jody A. Brooks (the Brooks), Plaintiffs, by and through Law
Offices of Matthew S. Evans, III, LLC, Matthew S. Evans, III, and Genevieve H. R. Lindner,
their attorneys, hereby file this Complaint against Barbara Van Horn (Van Horn), Champion
Realty, Inc. (Champion), The Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust (the Trust), and Joan
Broseker (Broseker), Defendants, and for cause, state:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1.

The Brooks are Maryland citizens and reside in Anne Arundel County,

Maryland.
2.

Barbara Van Horn is a Maryland citizen and resides in Anne Arundel County,

Maryland. Van Horn is a real estate agent for Champion and the daughter of Joan Broseker.
3.

The Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust is a trust established under Maryland laws.

4.

Joan Broseker is a Maryland citizen and resides in Anne Arundel County,

Maryland.
5.

Champion Realty, Inc. is a Maryland corporation with its principal place of

business in Severna Park, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


6.

The property that is the subject of this dispute, 631 Truxton Road, Annapolis,

Maryland 21409 (the Property) is located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


7.

Based on the foregoing, jurisdiction and venue are proper in the Circuit Court for

Anne Arundel County.


FACTS COMMON TO ALL COUNTS
8.

The Property was at certain times hereto owned by the Trust. The Property was

transferred to the Trust by Joan Broseker on or about February 6, 2010. Van Horn is related to

Joan Broseker as she is her daughter.


9.

Van Horn, at all times relevant hereto, was acting as an agent of Champion as the

listing agent for the Property and listed the Property for sale on Champions website, posted a
Champion sign in the front yard to advertise the sale of the home, and otherwise engaged in
marketing efforts to sell the Property.
10.

On or about October 24, 2014, the Brooks entered into a contract to purchase the

Property. Broseker signed the contract individually.


11.

On October 31, 2014, as part of a diligent investigation of the Property, the Brooks

spoke with neighbors of the Property and were told that the neighbors had heard the Property had
some snakes in the home at one time.
12.

The Brooks promptly contacted their agent who contacted Van Horn regarding

what they were told by the neighbors.


13.

Jody Brooks mother was high school acquaintances with Van Horn and called her

to ask questions regarding the snake rumors.


14.

Van Horn assured Jody Brooks mother that there were no snakes living in the house

and the neighbors statements were untrue.


15.

At all times, the Brooks were diligent in inspecting the property.

16.

As a part of such diligence, the Brooks had a home inspection performed by a

licensed home inspector on November 16, 2014.


17.

During the inspection, the Brooks agent asked Van Horn for documentation and

information on the snakes and told Van Horn that they would need the information prior to
settlement.
18.

Van Horn told the Brooks that she had a pest control company come out to the

property and do a snake away treatment and an infrared study.


19.

Van Horn promised to provide documentation that there was no snake problem. No

requested documentation has ever been provided by Van Horn.


20.

The Brooks also learned that the prior tenants claimed to have moved out due to

snakes being in the Property.


21.

When Van Horn was asked about snakes, she assured the Brooks that the prior

tenants were gypsies who did not want to pay rent and had Photoshopped a picture of a snake at
the Property to get out of the lease.
22.

During all inspections of the home, including the home inspection, no evidence of

snakes living in or ever having been in the Property was ever observed by the Brooks or the
licensed home inspector.
23.

Broseker personally executed a Maryland Residential Disclosure as a part of the

contract. In the Disclosure, Broseker did not disclose any snake infestation, which was a known
defect to the Property.
24.

The Brooks relied on diligent observation, the Disclosure signed by Broseker, the

home inspection, and most importantly, Van Horns extensive assurances as a professional, licensed
real estate agent, there was no snake problem at the Property.
25.

The Brooks closed on the Property on December 29, 2015.

26.

The Property was transferred to the Brooks from the Trust.

27.

Champion received a commission in the amount of $8,200.00 at closing as the

listing broker.
28.

After moving in, the Brooks began a pest control program with Home Paramount as

a part of regular home maintenance.

29.

Home Paramount found snake skins, newly generated feces coming down the wall

and on the floor in multiple places in the unfinished portion of the basement as well as a
Catchmaster stick pad with an eight inch rat snake trapped on it in a hidden location in the Property.
This immediately raised the Brooks concern about more snakes in the house, and the veracity of
Van Horns statements.
30.

As the weather warmed up in April, when snakes come out of hibernation, more

snakes were sighted on or about the Property.


31.

On April 3, 2015 the Brooks young son found a three foot snake coming out of the

house between the brick and the soffit.


32.

On April 11, 2015, Mr. Brooks found a snake, approximately seven feet long, in the

unfinished section of the basement.


33.

The Brooks called Home Paramount to come remove the snake in the basement.

34.

Home Paramount killed the snake that Mr. Brooks had found and applied snake

35.

Approximately an hour after Home Paramount left the Property, a snake four feet

away.

long came out of the woodwork in the basement. Mr. Brooks killed and disposed of this snake.
36.

Several days later, the Brooks could hear a snake slithering in the downstairs

bedroom ceiling while their infant daughter slept upstairs.


37.

Home Paramount sent a snake inspector to investigate the Property because of the

unusual amount of snake activity.


38.

During the preliminary snake inspection, The Home Paramount snake inspector

observed highways in the basement walls that the snakes use to traverse the home.
39.

In order to understand the magnitude of the problem and to be able to offer

remediation recommendations, the snake inspector told the Brooks to hire a contractor to gut the
basement so that Home Paramount could observe the insulation.
40.

The Brooks contacted a contractor, who on April 18, 2015, gutted the basement and

found another snake approximately four feet in length.


41.

On April 20, 2015, Home Paramount continued their investigation of the matter to

find out where the snakes were coming from and removed insulation in the basement. They found
tunnels created by the snakes and snake nests.
42.

The snake inspector classified the Property as infested by snakes and advised the

Brooks that it was not healthy or safe to live in the house with small children.
43.

After this discovery, and inspection of the attic insulation, it was recommended that

the ceiling drywall upstairs be removed so that the snake inspector could inspect the remaining
insulation.
44.

On April 23, 2015, the entire ceiling of the first floor was removed.

45.

On April 28, 2015 extensive snake activity was found in the ceiling insulation with

snake nesting, tunnels, and feces on the drywall sheets.


46.

Home Paramount determined that the snake activity was not limited to the basement,

and Property is a snake den where snakes come to hibernate and remain dormant in the fall and
winter months, such as the time that the Brooks entered into the contract for the home and moved
into the Property.
47.

It was also determined that due to the size of the snakes found, ranging from three

feet to seven feet in length, the snakes have been nesting in the home for many years.
48.

The Brooks were advised that even if they tore down the home and rebuilt, there

would be no guarantee that the snakes would not return.

49.

The snake infestation has rendered the Property uninhabitable and worthless.

50.

Van Horn, while at all times acting as an agent of Champion and in the scope of her

work for Champion, actively concealed her knowledge of the latent infestation which can now be
traced back to 1985.
51.

Van Horn refused to keep a lock box on the premises while acting as the listing

agent and would personally unlock the home and turn on the lights and, upon information and
belief, check for snake activity before anyone entered the premises.
52.

Due to the Sellers and Van Horns fraudulent actions while working as an agent of

Champion, the Brooks have incurred substantial costs and had to move out of the home.
53.

The Brooks purchased the Property for $410,000.00, plus paid $10,830.01 in

closing costs, $61,259.00 in home improvements, pest control and contractor charges since the
snake problem was discovered, for a total of $482,089.01 that the Brooks have paid for a home that
is uninhabitable and worthless. Additional Damages continue to accrue. They are entitled to a
return of all such expenditures. In the alternative, the Brooks are entitled to the total costs to
remediate the snake infestation, completely remove any evidence of snakes from the home, prevent
snakes from reentering the home if possible, and to repair and rebuild the home so that the Brooks
receive the home that they contracted for.
54.

Since living in the home from January 2015 through the first week of April 2015, the

entire Brooks family, including the two small children, has suffered health issues including severe
respiratory problems likely caused by the excessive amount of snake feces in the home.
COUNT I
Breach of Contract- Joan Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust
55.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-54 as if fully set forth herein.

56.

Plaintiff entered into a contract for the sale of the Property with Joan Broseker on

October 24, 2014 and closed on the contract on December 29, 2014 with the Joan A. Broseker
Revocable Trust.
57.

Defendants materially breached the contract by failing to disclose a latent defect

with the property.


58.

As a result of the breach, Plaintiffs incurred, and continue to incur, substantial

damages which will be proven at trial.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Joan Broseker,
and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust, jointly and severally in the amount of One Million
Dollars ($1,000,000.00) plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees
and costs; and such further and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.
COUNT II
Negligence- Barbara Van Horn, Champion Realty, Inc.
59.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-58 as if fully set forth herein.

60.

Barbara Van Horn and Champion Realty, Inc. acting as sellers agent owed duty of

care for to the Plaintiff.


61.

By failing to disclose a latent defect, Defendant Barbara Van Horn, working through

Champion Realty, Inc. breached the duty of care by actively concealing a latent defect, intentionally
misrepresenting the fitness of the property, and inducing the Plaintiffs into entering into a contract
for the sale of the Property.
62.

Plaintiffs have been actually harmed by having to spend excessive amounts of

money on pest control, contractors, and on a mortgage for the Property that is now uninhabitable.
63.

Plaintiffs injury was proximately caused by the Defendants breach of duty.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
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Horn and Champion Realty, Inc. jointly and severally in the amount of One Million Dollars
($1,000,000.00) plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs;
and such further and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.
COUNT III
Intentional Misrepresentation- Barbara Van Horn & Champion Realty, Inc.
64.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-63 as if fully set forth herein.

65.

The Defendant Barbara Van Horn working as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc.

asserted a false representation of a material fact to the Plaintiffs.


66.

Barbara Van Horn knew that the representation was false, or the representation was

made with such reckless disregard for the truth that knowledge of the falsity of the statement can be
imputed to the Defendant
67.

Barbara Van Horn made the false representation for the purpose of defrauding the

Plaintiffs.
68.

Plaintiffs relied with justification upon the misrepresentations.

69.

Plaintiffs suffered damages as a direct result of the reliance on the

misrepresentations.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
Horn and Champion Realty, Inc. jointly and severally compensatory damages in the amount of One
Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), and punitive damages in the amount of One Million Dollars
($1,000,000.00), plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs;
or alternatively, Plaintiffs pray for rescission of the contract plus a return of all monies paid to Joan
Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust and reimbursement of all expenditures for
improvements to the property and incurred as a result of the snake infestation plus costs, and such
further and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.
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COUNT IV
Intentional Misrepresentation- Concealment or Non-Disclosure- Barbara Van Horn,
Champion Realty, Inc., Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust, & Joan Broseker
70.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-69 as if fully set forth herein.

71.

Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc. for the Seller had a

duty to disclose the latent defect that she had actual knowledge about. She did not disclose the
material facts.
72.

The Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust as the Seller had a duty to disclose latent

defects. The Seller did not disclose any latent defects despite actual knowledge of the defects.
73.

Joan Broseker signed the Disclosure form personally and had a duty to disclose

latent defects. She did not disclose the snake infestation despite actual knowledge of the defects.
74.

Defendants Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc. and Joan

Broseker acting on behalf of herself and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust acted with the intent
to deceive and knew that Plaintiffs would not have entered into the contract for the sale of the
Property had they known of the existence of the undisclosed fact.
75.

The Plaintiffs acted in justifiable reliance upon the concealment, and

76.

The Plaintiffs suffered damages as a result of the concealment.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
Horn, Champion Realty, Inc., Joan Broseker, and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust, jointly and
severally compensatory damages in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), and
punitive damages in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), plus pre-judgment and
post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; or alternatively, Plaintiffs pray for
rescission of the contract plus a return of all monies paid to Joan Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker
Revocable Trust and reimbursement of all expenditures for improvements to the property and

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incurred as a result of the snake infestation plus costs, and such further and other relief as the nature
of the cause may require.
COUNT V
Constructive Fraud- Barbara Van Horn, Champion Realty, Inc.
77.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-76 as if fully set forth herein.

78.

Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc. had a legal duty to

disclose latent defects she had knowledge of.


79.

Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc. breached that duty.

80.

Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent of Champion Realty, Inc. engaged in conduct

which deceives or violates a confidence or injures the public interest.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
Horn and Champion Realty, Inc. jointly and severally compensatory damages in the amount of One
Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), and punitive damages in the amount of One Million Dollars
($1,000,000.00), plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs;
and such further and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.
COUNT VI
Negligent Misrepresentation- Barbara Van Horn, Champion Realty, Inc., Joan A. Broseker
Revocable Trust, & Joan Broseker
81.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-80 as if fully set forth herein.

82.

Defendants Barbara Van Horn working as an agent for Champion Realty and Joan

Broseker representing the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust owed a duty of care to Plaintiffs to
disclose any latent defects with the Property.
83.

Barbara Van Horn working as an agent for Champion Realty and Joan Broseker

representing the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust made the negligent assertion of a false statement
with the intention for the Plaintiffs to act or rely upon the negligent assertion.
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84.

Barbara Van Horn working as an agent for Champion Realty and Joan Broseker

representing the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust knew that the Plaintiffs would probably rely
upon the negligent assertion or statement which, if erroneous, would cause damage.
85.

The Plaintiffs justifiably acted in reliance upon the statement or assertion; and

86.

Plaintiffs incurred damages proximately caused by the defendants negligence

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
Horn, Champion Realty, Inc., Joan Broseker, and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust, jointly and
severally in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), plus pre-judgment and postjudgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and such further and other relief as the
nature of the cause may require.
COUNT VII
Torts arising from Breach of Contract- Barbara Van Horn & Champion Realty, Inc., Joan A.
Broseker Revocable Trust & Joan
87.

Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1-86 as if fully set forth herein.

88.

A contractual relationship preceded the tortious conduct.

89.

Barbara Van Horn acting as an agent for Champion Realty, Inc. and Joan Broseker

acting on behalf of the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust committed tortious conduct as described
above. There is a direct nexus between the tortious acts and breach of the underlying contract such
that the tortious conduct and the contract are so intertwined that one cannot be viewed in isolation of
the other.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
Horn, Champion Realty, Inc., Joan Broseker, and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust, jointly and
severally for compensatory damages in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), and
punitive damages in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) plus pre-judgment and

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post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and such further and other relief as the
nature of the cause may require.
COUNT VIII
Respondeat Superior- Champion Realty, Inc.
90.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-89 as if fully set forth herein.

91.
Realty, Inc.

The tortfeasor, Barbara Van Horn, is employed by, or the agent of, Champion

92.

The employee or agent committed acts or omissions (either negligently or

intentionally) causing injuries or damages to Plaintiffs; and


93.

The employee or agent committed acts or omissions within the scope of his or her

employment with the agency when she was performing services for which she had been engaged or
when acting in furtherance of the employers interests.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Champion
Realty, Inc. in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) plus pre-judgment and postjudgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and such further and other relief as the
nature of the cause may require.
COUNT IX
Civil Conspiracy- Barbara Van Horn & Joan Broseker
94.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-93 as if fully set forth herein.

95.

Barbara Van Horn and Joan Broseker formed a confederation by agreement or

understanding.
96.

Barbara Van Horn and Joan Broseker performed tortious acts done in furtherance of

the conspiracy or use of unlawful or tortious means to accomplish an act not in itself illegal.
97.

Plaintiffs suffered actual legal damage as a result.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Barbara Van
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Horn and Joan Broseker jointly and severally in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00)
plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and such further
and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.
COUNT X
Aiding and Abetting- Joan Broseker
98.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-97 as if fully set forth herein.

99.

Barbara conducted independent tortious acts.

100.

Joan Broseker rendered substantial assistance, aid, or encouragement to the principal

tortfeasor.
101.

Joan Broseker had actual knowledge of the wrongful conduct by Barbara Van Horn.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for judgment against Joan Broseker,
in the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) plus pre-judgment and post-judgment
interest, reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and such further and other relief as the nature of the
cause may require.
COUNT XI
Rescission- Joan Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust
102.

Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1-101 as if fully set forth herein.

103.

Plaintiffs were induced into assenting to the contract for the sale of the Property as a

result of fraud or negligent misrepresentation and there was a material breach by Defendants Joan
Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust.
104.

Plaintiffs are unconditionally willing to return to the other parties both the

consideration that was given and any benefits received under the contract.
105.

Plaintiffs exercised the right to rescind promptly and did not treat the contract as a

continuing obligation.

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106.

Plaintiffs gave notice of intent to rescind via letter to Broseker, the Trust, Van Horn,

and Champion.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Jody Brooks pray for rescission of the contract plus a
return of all monies paid to Joan Broseker and the Joan A. Broseker Revocable Trust and
reimbursement of all expenditures for improvements to the property and incurred as a result of the
snake infestation plus costs; and such further and other relief as the nature of the cause may require.

LAW OFFICES OF
MATTHEW S. EVANS III, LLC

By: _/s/ Matthew S. Evans, III______


Matthew S. Evans, III, Esq.
Genevieve H. R. Lindner
95 Cathedral Street
Suite 100
Annapolis, MD 21404
(410) 626-6009
glindner@msevanslaw.com

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