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Backing out of a real estate deal? A cautionary tale against strong-arm tactics

When a lawyer is standing in front of a judge clutching an emergency motion, the case rarely concerns a real estate deal gone wrong.

But Toronto-based lawyer Albert Frank recently raced to the courthouse to untangle a real estate twist he’d never before encountered in 30 years of practice.

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Mr. Frank was representing a couple who sold their three-bedroom house in Markham, Ont. Three weeks before the closing date of Sept. 28, the buyer’s lawyer let the sellers know his client did not plan to close the deal. She also wanted her $50,000 deposit back.

As the couple scrambled to find replacement buyers, the twist no one saw coming was that the first buyer’s lawyer then registered a “caution against title” on the property

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