Beverly Carter’s Family Sues Her Brokerage

October 16, 2017

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a statement from Carl Carter Jr. since its original publication.

The family of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, who was murdered in 2014 after being kidnapped from a rural property outside Little Rock, has brought a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against her brokerage, Crye-Leike. The lawsuit, filed by Carter’s husband, Carl, and their two sons, Chad and Carl Jr., alleges that the company failed in its duty to properly train Carter to avoid life-threatening situations in the course of her real estate work.

“Crye-Leike had a duty to keep its independent contractors safe while on the job,” the lawsuit states. “This duty includes the duties to provide them with the necessary information, awareness, consulting, training, support, guidance, and technology to keep them safe, especially for use while meeting with prospective buyers for home visits.”

Neither a representative for Crye-Leike nor the family’s attorney, Bryce Brewer, were immediately available for comment Monday. In an emailed statement to REALTOR® Magazine on Monday night, Carl Carter Jr.—a real estate agent who has become a national speaker on issues of REALTOR® Safety—indicated that his father is spearheading the suit. “My dad lost his wife and best friend of almost 35 years,” he said. “He continues to struggle daily with the loss of my mom. I support his decision to pursue [the lawsuit], and I will stand by him as he explores his legal options. If any damages are awarded to me personally, I will donate them to the Beverly Carter Foundation to aid in the development of additional training and for victim assistance.”

Carl Carter Jr. noted that the Beverly Carter Foundation, which he founded this year, is not associated with the lawsuit. He also added that he hopes his mother’s tragedy will continue to spur the conversation around real estate safety forward. “For the past two and a half years, I’ve pushed through my grief to do my best to bring awareness to agent safety to reduce violent crimes against real estate agents,” he said. “My intention is to not have other families endure the tragic loss my family experienced. ... Through my own personal loss and meeting so many victims across the country, I’ve felt and seen the need for change in our industry.”

Carter’s death three years ago captured national headlines. Authorities launched wide-scale searches after the 50-year-old agent went missing; her body was discovered in a shallow grave near a cement facility about 20 miles away from the property where she was kidnapped. Arron Lewis and Crystal Lowery, a couple, were convicted of kidnapping Carter and murdering her. The couple had planned to hold Carter for ransom, but when their plot went awry, they suffocated her, according to court documents.

The Carter family’s lawsuit claims Crye-Leike did not perform background checks on prospective clients or encourage its sales associates to do so. The family also says the company failed to encourage its associates to travel with partners when showing rural homes to prospective buyers or to set up preliminary meetings with prospects at company offices or public places.

Sources: REALTOR® Magazine;“Family of Murdered REALTOR® Sues Real Estate Company for Negligence,” (Oct. 13, 2017); and “Family Blames Real Estate Firm for Kidnapping and Murder,” (Oct. 3, 2017)