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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:According to Bill Swor, Dian Emerson, president of Tapp Furniture Co. told him she was interested in selling Tapp Funeral Home. She asked Swor to find financing for her son and another employee to purchase the funeral home. When the deal did not materialize, Emerson orally agreed to pay Swor 10 percent of the sale price if he introduced a buyer. Swor introduced Emerson to Jeff Orwosky, who eventually agreed to pay $1.2 million for the funeral home. Swor sued Emerson and Tapp Furniture Co. to recover the fee. He alleged causes of action for breach of contract, quantum meruit, promissory estoppel, tortious interference with contractual relations and conspiracy. Emerson filed for summary judgment, arguing he was barred from brining an action to recover a real estate commission, as he did not have a real estate license or a written commission agreement. The trial court granted Emerson’s motion, and denied Swor’s no-evidence summary judgment motion. Swor now appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed. The oral agreement of the finder’s fee between Swor and Emerson did not specifically reference the selling of real estate. The absence of a specific reference to real estate raises a fact issue as to whether a funeral home necessarily includes both assets and associated real estate. The court confirms from the testimony at the summary judgment hearing that the agreement did include both the funeral home’s assets and the associated real estate. The court then finds that the fee for handling the sale of property consisting in part of real estate is considered a real estate commission. Additionally, the definition of real estate broker is so broad that it covers compensation labeled as “finder’s fee.” Swor expected to be compensated for assisting in a transaction contemplating a sale of real estate. Therefore, the Real Estate License Act applied to Swor, as a broker. The court notes that it is undisputed that no written agreement existed here and that Swor was not a licensed real estate broker or salesperson at the time of the transaction. As the dealer or broker, Swor bore the burden of proving that no real estate was included in the transaction, which he did not. The court then determines that the oral agreement between Swor and Emerson is indivisible and inseparable. As Swor also violated the Real Estate License Act, the finder’s fee is void and unenforceable. OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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