Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, defines procuring cause as follows:
"The proximate cause; the cause originating a series of events, which, without break in their continuity, result in the accomplishment of the prime object. The inducing cause; the direct or proximate cause. Substantially synonymous with 'efficient cause'."
A broker will be regarded as the "procuring cause" of a sale, so as to be entitled to commission, if his efforts are the foundation on which the negotiations resulting in a sale are begun. A cause originating a series of events, which without break in their continuity, result in accomplishment of prime objective of the employment of the broker who is producing a purchaser ready, willing and able to buy real estate on the owner's terms. Mohamed v. Robbins, 23 Ariz. App. 195, 531 p.2d 928, 930.
While a number of definitions of procuring cause exist, and a myriad of factors may ultimately enter into any determination of procuring cause, for purposes of arbitration conducted by boards and associations of REALTORS®, procuring cause can be readily understood as the uninterrupted series of causal events, which results in the successful transaction. Or, in other words, what "caused" the successful transaction to come about. Many REALTORS®, executive officers, lawyers and others have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to develop a single, comprehensive template that could be used in all procuring cause disputes to determine entitlement to the sought-after award without the need for a comprehensive analysis of all relevant details of the underlying transaction. Such efforts, while well intentioned, were doomed to failure in view of the fact that there is no "typical" real estate transaction any more than there is "typical" real estate or a "typical" REALTOR®. In light of the unique nature of real property and real estate transactions, and acknowledging that fair and equitable decisions could be reached only with a comprehensive understanding of the events that led to the transaction, the National Association's Board of Directors, in 1973, adopted Official Interpretation 31 of Article 1, Section 2 of the Bylaws. Subsequently amended in 1977, Interpretation 31 establishes that:
"A Board rule or a rule of a Multiple Listing Service owned by, operated by or affiliated with a Board, which establishes, limits or restricts the REALTOR® in his relations with a potential purchaser, affecting recognition periods or purporting to predetermine entitlement to any award in arbitration, is an inequitable limitation on its membership" The explanation of Interpretation 31 goes on to provide, in part:
...[T]he Board or its MLS may not establish a rule or regulation which purports to predetermine entitlement to any awards in a real estate transaction. If controversy arises as to entitlement to any awards, it shall be determined by a hearing in arbitration on the merits of all ascertainable facts in the context of the specific case of controversy."
Factors for Consideration by Arbitration Hearing Panels