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Lawyers free to nix property contracts

Albany, NY (AP) – New York's top court says lawyers can disapprove clients' real estate contracts for any reason, concluding it's not bad faith even if they simply do it on the say-so of a client who wants to back out of a deal.

The Court of Appeals, overturning lower courts, says lawyer-client confidentiality would be threatened if any attorney who reviews and rejects a property contract within the allowed three business days after signing is required to testify about client communications.

A trial court had ordered Mehmet and Susan Erk to pay $234,000 to James and Kathleen Moran after the Erk's lawyer disapproved their 1995 bid to buy Morans' home in Clarence for $505,000. It sold three years later for $385,000.

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