BRUNE, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a controversy between two real estate brokers with regard to one-half of a broker's commission for the sale of a church. The disputed commission was paid into court in an interpleader proceeding filed by the attorney who had been employed by the owner to sell the church property. The court ordered the disputed amount to be paid to the appellee, and the other broker has appealed from that order.
Both the appellant, James J. Burrell, and the appellee, J. Arnett Frisby, are licensed real estate brokers in the City of Baltimore. In May, 1954, the appellant's agent, Pratheaus C. Land, noticed a "For Sale" sign on the church building belonging to the Central Summerfield Methodist Church (referred to below as the "Central Church"), located on Poplar Grove Street, in the City of Baltimore, which read: "H.B. Rollins, Attorney or your broker". H.B. Rollins, an attorney at law, was the authorized exclusive agent of the Central Church handling the sale of its church property. Land got in touch
The appellee filed a motion to dismiss the appeal because the appellant did not comply with the Rules of this Court in regard to the preparation of his brief and the printed record extract. The irregularities complained of do not appear to have prejudiced the appellee. We, therefore, overrule the motion and will turn to the merits of the case.
The appellant contends: (1) that the lower court should have granted his motions for Summary Judgment; (2) that the "For Sale" sign did not create an implied offer or contract of employment between Rollins and the appellee; (3) that since the appellee was not employed, the fact that he was the procuring cause of the sale is not of itself sufficient to entitle him to a commission.
1. Motions for Summary Judgment. In response to the bill of interpleader filed by Rollins, the appellant filed an answer and the appellee filed a demurrer. About two months later the appellee filed a motion for hearing on the demurrer. Some five months thereafter but before any hearing on the demurrer (and apparently none was ever held), the appellant filed a motion for summary judgment. An order nisi was entered thereon. Quite promptly thereafter the appellee filed an answer to the original bill and an answer to the motion
2. Contract between Exclusive Agent and Broker Effecting Sale. After Reid, the agent of the appellee, saw the "For Sale" sign he endeavored to call Rollins but was not successful as Rollins was not in town. He then proceeded to contact one of the officers of the Central Church (the seller) and made the necessary arrangements for showing the property. Two days after the appellee's showing of the premises Rollins called Reid on the phone relative to the prospective sale and the payment of commissions, and Reid referred Rollins to his employer, the appellee. The appellee wrote to Rollins prior to the completion of the sale stating that if the sale was made that he would be entitled to a full commission as allowed by the Real Estate Board of Baltimore City. Rollins wrote back that the appellee would only get 50% of the commission. This was the same position taken by Rollins in a phone call to the appellee, and after obtaining legal advice
Bowie v. Martin, 199 Md. 58, 85 A.2d 786, though involving a longer total time interval and not fully on all fours with the present case, is very similar. In that case, the property was first shown to the ultimate purchaser by the first broker (like the appellant in the instant case), who unsuccessfully attempted to make a sale of the property. (He had an office association of some sort with the exclusive agent, but evidently was not an agent or employee of the latter.) Some time later (just how long after the last unsuccessful efforts of the first broker is not clear) the second broker (like the present appellee) showed the same property to the ultimate purchaser, and as a result of his efforts a sale was effected. The exclusive broker handling the property (whose position corresponded to that of Rollins in the present case) paid one-half of his commissions to the first broker and the second broker brought suit against the exclusive broker. The second broker was found to be the procuring cause and recovered judgment, which was affirmed. The agreement between the exclusive broker and the second broker was that the second broker might sell the property and that if he did, they would split the commission fifty-fifty. This Court took the view that the case was governed by the same legal principles as if the exclusive broker were the owner instead of a broker or agent.
Following the same reasoning in the present case, we must agree with the Chancellor below that there was a contract between Rollins and the appellee to the same effect as that in the Bowie Case. In his opinion the Chancellor said: "When it comes to the sign that was posted on the church property, that was an agreement ["agreement" being used, we think, as meaning an "offer"] to share the commissions with any broker who was the procuring cause of a sale. The sign reads `H.B. Rollins, Attorney or your broker.' If some purchaser had come direct to Mr. Rollins of course, the entire commissions were to be paid Mr. Rollins. Mr. Rollins put up the sign and he had authority to represent the church completely in the matter; in effect, he offered to pay part of the commissions
We think that the testimony was sufficient to support the conclusion of the Chancellor that the sale was effected by the appellee as the procuring cause thereof, and that by so effecting it he rendered the service or performance invited by the implied offer made by the exclusive agent through the sign, and later confirmed by telephone and by letter, and that a binding contract of employment was thereby effected between them under which the appellee became entitled to one-half of the commission on the sale. See Keener v. Harrod, 2 Md. 63; Hill v. Iglehart, 145 Md. 537, 125 A. 843; Baliles v. Bryant, 207 Md. 332, 114 A.2d 601; Steele v. Seth, 211 Md. 323, 127 A.2d 388. Cf. Snedker v. Baltimore Brick Co., 198 Md. 499, 84 A.2d 868.
In view of the above holding, it becomes unnecessary to consider the appellant's third complaint.
In accordance with the above views the judgment will be affirmed.
Judgment affirmed, with costs.