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  1. #1
    Brendan Bennett's Avatar
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    Default Sued by the seller?

    Ok, so I have been doing inspections in Tennessee now for 3 years. Never had any kind of complaint of any kind. (knock on wood) The other day I did an inspection for a buyer that had some concerns about a house. In particular their concerns were with the foundation. No problem right? Well when I arrived at the house the seller was there, paperwork in hand. He had pictures, engineers drawings, geotechnical engineers work that had been done, and a story. The house had sunk more than 2 1/2 inches. The first inspector required a structural engineer. The structural engineer required a geotechnical engineer (slab jacker.) after it was all said and done the house still had badly sloping floors and still evidence of repair to a foundation that had some serious differential movement. When I read the engineering report it sounded like the engineer signed off on the work that "it was done per his drawings" but not that the problem had been remediated. In my report i indicated this and suggested to my client they have a second opinion by a different firm. The seller does house flippings and developments.
    Before i even handed the report to the client he informs me that they were not going to go through the stress of all that so they were going to walk. A few days later i got a call from the seller. He informs me that i am not a structural engineer and that i cant say that the problem wasnt fixed, I agreed that i was not an engineer and that is why i recommended a follow up evaluation from a different engineer. So to end the conversation he is ticked that the sale fell through and then informs me that he is "going to get a lawyer and sue my a$$." On what grounds? Can the seller sue me for informing my client that the problem still exists and they should seek a further eval by another engineer? Do you think he was just ticked and just blowing smoke? If he could sue what would be the financial impact to me? This is my first "problem" and i am worried. Please advise a fellow inspector on what can happen and what i should do.
    Thanks
    Brendan Bennett

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    Last edited by Brendan Bennett; 06-11-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan Bennett View Post
    Ok, so I have been doing inspections in Tennessee now for 3 years. Never had any kind of complaint of any kind. (knock on wood) The other day I did an inspection for a buyer that had some concerns about a house. In particular their concerns were with the foundation. No problem right? Well when I arrived at the house the seller was there, paperwork in hand. He had pictures, engineers drawings, geotechnical engineers work that had been done, and a story. The house had sunk more than 2 1/2 inches. The first inspector required a structural engineer. The structural engineer required a geotechnical engineer (slab jacker.) after it was all said and done the house still had badly sloping floors and still evidence of repair to a foundation that had some serious differential movement. When I read the engineering report it sounded like the engineer signed off on the work that "it was done per his drawings" but not that the problem had been remediated. In my report i indicated this and suggested to my client they have a second opinion by a different firm. The seller does house flippings and developments and he might have this engineer in his pocket and i need to protect my client.
    Before i even handed the report to the client he informs me that they were not going to go through the stress of all that so they were going to walk. A few days later i got a call from the seller. He informs me that i am not a structural engineer and that i cant say that the problem wasnt fixed, I agreed that i was not an engineer and that is why i recommended a follow up evaluation from a different engineer. So to end the conversation he is ticked that the sale fell through and then informs me that he is "going to get a lawyer and sue my a$$." On what grounds? Can the seller sue me for informing my client that the problem still exists and they should seek a further eval by another engineer? Do you think he was just ticked and just blowing smoke? If he could sue what would be the financial impact to me? This is my first "problem" and i am worried. Please advise a fellow inspector on what can happen and what i should do.
    Thanks
    Brendan Bennett
    He is blowing smoke

    You saw signs that the foundation was still cracked to hell and other obvious problems that the engineering firm and house jacker were suppose to fix.

    I write items up all the time based on my visual observations. I write foundations up all the time that have been "repaired". Piers in te back of the home and none anywhere else that I see had most of the movement and no brick mortar joint repair and drywall repair etc etc.

    This man is not going anywhere and if he does, which I seriously doubt any lawyer will poursue, counter with your own threat of financial attack to the seller for all time involved with the case. No one can sue you for what you see with the naked eye.

    Now if you stated in your report that no repairs were done then that would be foolish. You do not know that. You can state that during your time at that home your observations were such..........Not that there was nothing done. You can note differential settling that "may" not have been addressed in the stated repairs and it would be advisable to have another engineering firm come in for their evaluation of such.

    You do have to watch the wording in reports for these particular reasons. Only state your observations in the written report.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Anyone can sue - frivolous lawsuits are filed all the time.

    That said, I've had this kind of verbal threat made from time to time, and no one has ever followed up on it, even to the extent of an attorney's letter.

    I carry E&O insurance, which like most such insurance requires that I report potential problems to the insurer when I first become aware of them; so then it becomes a judgment call as to whether or not this is "a potential problem". Given that this is the kind of situation which can result more expense than I would care to cover out-of-pocket, I would be writing a letter to my insurer outlining the basic facts of the case, including a copy of the inspection report, and a description of the verbal threat to sue.

    If I didn't carry E&O, speaking just for myself I would not pay much attention to such a threat unless I receive something in writing, though I would write myself a memo outlining all salient aspects of the inspection and my communications, and be extra careful to be certain that that all relevant documentation was preserved.

    One other suggestion: I don't know what you did in this case, but while I generally try to be completely factual about both what I observe and what I suspect as regards technical observations, I am very careful not to speculate - even verbally - to anyone involved in the transaction about the possible motives of anyone involved in the transaction - however certain I may be about my suspicions.

    For example if you mentioned your suspicion that the engineer might be "in the seller's pocket" to your client, you have no way of controlling if those suspicions were passed on to others (the seller, one or both real estate agents, who knows who else?) or over how they may have been distorted in the re-telling.

    Could be your buyer told the seller you think he is an out-and-out crook, which is the kind of thing that puts people in a suing mood.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 06-11-2010 at 08:36 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    If I had a nickel for every time a flipper threatened to sue me, I'd have that Porsche I want.
    Can he sue you, sure; will it work, doubtful; will he sue you, probably not; liability depends on your particular state rules etc. If he finds a buyer with a checkbox inspector quickly, it will all be over with and you'll never hear another word about it; if it takes him a while to find a sucker, uh buyer, he may stew and think about it.
    You could do some background research on the Seller and inform yourself about what his overall MO is, financial standing, practices, amounts of flip, Corp registered agent, etc. If his Corp registered agent is himself or his wife, then he may not even have an attorney. If his registered agent is an attorney then maybe he does. This can help you determine if he has any teeth or not.
    Due to the litigious society we live in, the dollar amounts involved and the stresses of the current market it is very important to not say much of anything to a Seller.
    I will small talk with a Seller or reference documents during a group meeting etc. But never get into a debate about the issues with the Seller. You don't know what his ulterior motives might be beyond the actual sale. He may be looking to trip you up and get a statement his attorney can actually use. Wording is critical.
    The fact that you caught the 'work performed to drawings' is very important. You displayed knowledge and depth to your client and concern to the Seller. The guesses you made about the Seller/SE relationship could easily be correct. I just hope you didn't put those in writing.
    Flippers typically talk big, it's part of their game. Usually they are too involved in looking for the next deal to deal with the past.
    I wouldn't worry too much for now. Don't talk with him again. Remember if you are doing a good job, this will happen. Call your attorney and give him/her a heads up. Don't have one, get one. You should know one just so you can call with questions when they pop up.
    Good luck.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    ..
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    ... pond scum that they are, are in the business of doing everything as cheaply and expeditiously as possible. Hiring an attorney to the tune of several hundred dollars per hour to pursue what is likely to be an unprofitable trip down justice lane is not in their repertoire...
    True... though there is well-connected local architect/developer who years later is still bad-mouthing me to everyone in sight after my testing found that the fancy custom tiled showers at one of his high-end projects were leaking like sieves - after he had arrived early at the inspections to tell me that "This inspection must not be allowed to kill the deal".

    He is so dementedly persistent about it, one agent bothered to mention it to me at an inspection:

    "Your're Michael Thomas? I heard about you from XXXXX.... coming from him, you should take that as a badge of honor... "

    which I must say it's pretty damning, coming from an agent, and all that.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    House flippers, pond scum that they are, are in the business of doing everything as cheaply and expeditiously as possible. Hiring an attorney to the tune of several hundred dollars per hour to pursue what is likely to be an unprofitable trip down justice lane is not in their repertoire.

    I would not lose a second of sleep. Move on.
    And said so eloquently.....but true.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    People that sue you rarely tell you they are going to.... it's usually the ones you get a call from once after the inspection with a seemingly minor question and the next thing you hear of it is 6 months later when there's a knock on your door at 8 PM.

    99% the guy is blowing smoke... but, as the others say, we have to be careful how we right things. Never say it's not done right or you can get tagged as practicing engineering.


  8. #8
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Bottom Line,
    Seller does not have a Contract with you.
    There is no contracted performance requirement between Your Business and the Seller.

    Downside is,
    If you have E&O or No Insurance,
    you will have some defense costs to make it go away.

    Cost of doing Business.....


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    There is no way he is gonig to sue you. First of all he has to get a copy of the report, which unless your client releases, the flipper is flopped. Secondly you are not working for the seller. This guy is a piece of $hit. If he doesn't have a copy of your report it is his work against yours.

    Mat


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Most real estate contracts state that the buyer will give a copy of the report to the seller. They almost always get a copy.

    Brendan, don't give it much thought, he is just pissed and venting. He would be hard pressed to find an atty that would take the case.


  11. #11
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    The only person that has the right to the contract is the person who payed for it. correct?


  12. #12
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Most real estate contracts state that the buyer will give a copy of the report to the seller. They almost always get a copy.
    Our standard contracts in Washington don't provide for that. Often the buyer will provide excerpts to support or clarify the items they are asking for, but that's not technically necessary. If they're backing out there's no need to provide anything.


  13. #13
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    The only person that has the right to the contract is the person who payed for it. correct?
    Except if there is a court action, the seller could get a copy of it through discovery.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Tortious interference?

    I liked to see that fly and dependent on the wording of the purchase agreement as per the purchaser and his right to contract with the inspector independent of the Realtor and the purchasers need to excercise due diligence.

    Summary judgment proof conclusively establishing appellees' defense of privilege.

    The elements of tortious interference with contract are (1) the existence of a contract subject to interference; (2) the occurrence of an act of interference that was willful and intentional; (3) the act was a proximate cause of the claimant's damage; and (4) actual damage or loss occurred. Baty v. Protech Ins. Agency, 63 S.W.3d 841, 856-57 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet. denied) (citing Powell Indus., Inc. v. Allen, 985
    S.W.2d 455, 456 (Tex. 1998)). Even if the plaintiff establishes all the elements of a claim for tortious interference with a contract, the defendant may avoid liability if it establishes the elements of the defense of justification. Id. at 857 (citing Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. v. Fin. Review Servs., Inc., 29 S.W.3d 74, 77-78 (Tex. 2000)). "[T]he justification defense can be based on the exercise of either (1) one's own legal rights or (2) a good-faith claim to a colorable legal right, even though that claim ultimately proves to be mistaken." Fin. Review Servs., 29 S.W.3d at 80. If a trial court finds as a matter of law the defendant had a legal right to interfere with a contract, the defendant has conclusively established the justification defense, and the motive is irrelevant. Id.

    Tortious interference with prospective business relationsThis court has previously outlined the apparent requirements to succeed on a claim for tortious interference with a prospective business relationship:

    (1) a reasonable probability that the plaintiff would have entered into a business relationship;
    (2) an independently tortious or unlawful act by the defendant that prevented the relationship from occurring;
    (3) the defendant did such act with a conscious desire to prevent the relationship from occurring or the defendant knew the interference was certain or substantially certain to occur as a result of the conduct; and
    (4) the plaintiff suffered actual harm or damages as a result of the defendant's interference.

    And..

    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

    http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documen...s/99D0502P.pdf

    A. Tortious Interference with Contract

    To establish a cause of action for tortious interference with contractual relations, the plaintiff must prove (1) the existence of a contractual relationship; (2) an intent on the part of the defendant to harm the plaintiff by interfering with that contractual relationship; (3) the absence of a privilege or justification for such interference; and (4) damages resulting from the defendant’s conduct. Triffin v. Janssen, 626 A.2d 571, 574 (Pa. Super. 1993).


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Ref to sellers getting copy of report.
    I only give access to the report to my client and their Realtor (with their permission).

    But most of the Real Estate contracts (in my area) between Buyers and Sellers stipulate that the Buyers will give a copy of the report to the Sellers.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Ref to sellers getting copy of report.
    I only give access to the report to my client and their Realtor (with their permission).

    But most of the Real Estate contracts (in my area) between Buyers and Sellers stipulate that the Buyers will give a copy of the report to the Sellers.
    Same here.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Only from an Ontario/Canada pov - typical clauses in the purchase agreement.

    RES - 67 Conditional Upon Home Inspection - Limited Inspection
    This Agreement is conditional upon the Buyer, at the Buyer’s own expense, having the relevant building(s) inspected by a bona fide home inspection firm to determine that the building(s) are in sound structural and mechanical condition and that the electrical system is safe and adequate, and that, in the written opinion of the home inspection firm, all deficiencies can be remedied at a cost not greater than _________________ ($_______________). Unless the Buyer gives notice in writing delivered to the Seller not later than _____ p.m. on the ______day of _________, 20____, that this condition is fulfilled, this Offer shall be null and void and the deposit shall be returned to the Buyer in full without deduction.
    This condition is included for the benefit of the Buyer and may be waived at the Buyer’s sole option by notice in writing to the Seller within the time period stated herein.

    RES - 68 Delivery of a Report
    In the event the foregoing condition is not fulfilled or waived by the Buyer, the Buyer agrees to provide the Seller with a true copy of the Inspection Report and all estimates related thereto prior to the return of the deposit herein.


  18. #18
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Our contracts don't require that anyone with any skill conduct the inspection. It could be the buyers' parents, or even the buyers. It's pretty much an absolute out from the contract (other than perhaps a good faith argument), so providing a copy of the inspection would be pointless. They could get out simply because they weren't happy that the inspector said the furnace should be inspected once every year or two.

    While our absolute out system is probably a bit rare, I'm surprised other places require the buyer to turn over the report, or don't at least make that turnover at the request of the seller. Anything in that report the seller would have to deal with for a future buyer, and in some cases that can be frivolous or even erroneous stuff. After inspections I've had contractors out to repair flashing and other items that they said didn't need to be repaired (even though that meant less money for them). If the report had to be turned over, then you would think that the seller would be able to review the inspector's qualifications prior to the inspection being done, so that they could limit their exposure to having to prove the inspector was wrong.

    BTW, Washington has had relatively loose qualifications for inspectors, and is just now tightening them up a bit.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    I can't really say what the real estate contracts state about the home inspection and who gets the report. Frankly, I really don't give a hoot as to what they say. I know that under my state law I can only give a copy of the report to my client and if they want anyone else to have a copy they must give me written permission, this includes their agent. The written permission part is built into my contract.

    I'm sure the seller in 75% of the homes I inspect ends up getting a copy or parts of the report. In 100% of homes I inspect and the buyer backs out of the deal, I'm sure that the seller gets a copy of the entire report. My client is free to give the report to whoever they want.

    I would say that in my 15 years of inspecting homes I have had a dozen or so sellers contact me and vent and in a few cases threaten me with a lawsuit because they did not sell their home. I let them vent and spew and then I politely and calmly ask them if they found anything in the report that was not true or present in their home. This usually stops them dead in their tracks and ends the conversation. When you find yourself in this type of conversation with an owner it is always best to remain calm, do not get cocky or get defensive and stand your ground that what you found is the way it is. Present the facts and shut your mouth!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    While it may be unusual, I personally know an inspector who was sued by the seller. After spending about $20,000 in legal fees to prove himself right, he gave up and settled out of court for about $15,000.

    I don't profess to know ALL the details to cause of action, but it did happen.



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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Standard Texas RE contracts have an option fee that if accepted as part of the contract gives the buyer an unconditional right to back out of the deal within the option period. No report, proof, etc. needed just notification that the buyer has changed their mind. Could be that they decided the house was too small, too big, too pink or not pink enough.
    That said, there was a suit filled in Texas against an inspector with the same claims. Lawyer was selling the house and it cost him virtually nothing in attorney fees to file, not that he will win but he may get a few thousand just to make him go away.
    I still have to do my job or go on the welfare dole, there are risks in every business.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    The burden of proof in the court wil be on the seller and if there was no reason given for cancelation of the contract, he will never win in court. All you will have to do is show up, will not cost you anything, and the judge will say to the seller why the hell are you wasting my time.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    "All you will have to do is show up, will not cost you anything..."
    So your time isn't worth anything, and the job you can't do because you are in court isn't worth anything?

    It costs plenty to defend yourself, even against worthless lawsuits.


  24. #24
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Ok it will cost you time, but you will not need to spend money on a lawyer, at least I wouldn't. I guess I should know by now you need to be more specific with all the smart asses on here


  25. #25
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    Post Re: Sued by the seller?

    Brendan, let him sue. Counter-sue for time and trouble, etc.. There are uppity people just asking to be put in their place, and the flipper sounds like one of them. You recommended a second opinion, your client chose not to go to the trouble. You saved your client a world of headache and money. You did your job. If the flipper carries through, it will be your opportunity to shed some light on him. And wickedness doesn't like light. Look at it as an opportunity to broaden your horizons.


    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
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  26. #26
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    Brendan, let him sue. Counter-sue for time and trouble, etc.. There are uppity people just asking to be put in their place, and the flipper sounds like one of them. You recommended a second opinion, your client chose not to go to the trouble. You saved your client a world of headache and money. You did your job. If the flipper carries through, it will be your opportunity to shed some light on him. And wickedness doesn't like light. Look at it as an opportunity to broaden your horizons.
    Absent proving the suit is frivolous, it's unlikely you'd get your expenses paid. And you're not going to get your "time, trouble."

    Once you've been sued you've already lost, regardless of the outcome. Court is not fun.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Matthew,
    I don't consider myself a smartass, at least with my response to your comment.

    If you have E&O insurance, and you are sued, you are required to notify your insurance company. This will automatically get an atty involved.
    I ended up spending over $1500 to get a frivolous lawsuit thrown out.
    While it wasn't a seller, it was just as crazy. It was a woman that bought a house I had inspected 2 1/2 years prior. SHE WAS NOT MY CLIENT. She had a termite problem and sued the termite guy, me, and the previous owners.

    Of course it was thrown out, but it not only cost me the attorney fee, but I also lost work time when I met with him the first time, and then to go to court when it got thrown out.

    I guess the only thing more irritating than a smartass, is a know it all that doesn't.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    I wouldn't pay any attention to this until you get a demand letter from a lawyer. Then you can decide what to do. You have no contractual relationship with this flipper and more real estate deals are falling through this year more than ever. This seller will have to prove:
    A: The deal fell through directly due to your inspection
    B: Your inspection was flawed
    C: he had a financial loss

    This will take considerable discovery and legal research on his lawyers $$$$ part. Cases like this have been won but the damage $$$$ has been so small the effort has been pointless.

    Kary - obviously your not aware of the details of the Washington Home Inspector law. WA State Licensing: Home inspector laws and rules

    They dramatically increase the requirements for a home inspector and will weed out the casual inspectors. On July 1st, everyone will have to be licensed or cease doing inspections.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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    360-588-6956

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    A good lawyer will research case law and advise the claimant accordingly as to chances of winning. It appears some lawyers will urge the claimant to pursue the action in court in order to bill more hours and more office costs. In the end the lawyer who in my opinion has not served their client well at all.


  30. #30
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Matthew,
    I don't consider myself a smartass, at least with my response to your comment.

    If you have E&O insurance, and you are sued, you are required to notify your insurance company. This will automatically get an atty involved.
    I ended up spending over $1500 to get a frivolous lawsuit thrown out.
    While it wasn't a seller, it was just as crazy. It was a woman that bought a house I had inspected 2 1/2 years prior. SHE WAS NOT MY CLIENT. She had a termite problem and sued the termite guy, me, and the previous owners.

    Of course it was thrown out, but it not only cost me the attorney fee, but I also lost work time when I met with him the first time, and then to go to court when it got thrown out.

    I guess the only thing more irritating than a smartass, is a know it all that doesn't.

    I believe the joke is on us. To notify the insurance company immediately not even knowing if anything will be perused is the joke. The costs to you can immediately start adding up and then the case goes away or turns out not to be persued at all. You are out of pocket and nothing can happen to the person that made the frivelous remark about seeing you in court.

    As far as keeping all correspondents or verbal legal threats noted and dated I can see that but to instantly getting the insurance company involved and them bracing for a suit and then a lawyer jumping in immediately even though it is something simple that can be handled by you is joke 2.

    The laws will be changed on this matter in any law suit from anyone. If in fact they flounder and cannot prove their case then you will have full recourse. This in fact will cut law suits by more than likely 80%. Of course that is just a guess on my behalf......who knows....maybe by 90%

    Once folks start contemplating the percentages of winning and losing I do believe law suits will almost go away.

    Something has to be done. There are to many....I will get you fools out there that are in full belief that they will get something to just go away. If that something they get is a counter suit for time and and and and and....then they will give it a serious amount of thought and then the lawyers won't be earning a paycheck for the frivolous law suit. Then they will stop persuing these law suits to try and get that paycheck.

    Fortunately in 38 years of working this has and I do believe in full earnest will never happen to me but I do see it happening all over and certainly home inspection is as not as high on the list for other reasons being sued.

    Penalties for lawyers forcing the "possible" wins should be first and foremost.

    The only time I would contact my insurance company is if I received something in writing from an attorney from the suing party. Anything verbal would be denied. There would be no correspondence in writing between me and the loud mouth. If something came in the mail that was not a registered letter or such it would go in the trash.

    The anyone can be sued for anything has to stop.

    I once saw a figure of what the total amount spent for legal fees in the US was every year. It was more than most small countries total gross.

    As some of you know I was in the hospital for a week.

    Just the first day of emergency services was 13,5000, scans, blood work, xrays etc etc etc etc not inclusive of Drs. The next six days brought that up to the mid forties and that was for lying in a bed and getting some medication.

    That did not include any Doctors fees or blood work or xrays or Cat Scans etc etc etc etc

    Medical and Lawyers are quite literally the ruin of this country. Now tack on paid for life Union members whether it be gov employees, military or GM, Ford etc employees.

    Where did everyone think this everyone is going to get paid for, for life, mentality was leading. Unions make poor investments and the Gov bails them out......seriously....come on.

    Too many freebies in this world. Too much protectionism. A little is nice but everyone for everything is and has gotten completely out of control.

    Deliver mail for a living....making 65,000 a year plus overtime and then get 80% of your pay till you stop breathing and free medical to boot (a friend is just retiring now and with his money he bought a 225,000 motor home and will get 80% plus medical for life)........Something has gone wrong folks. Snap on little plastic parts for an auto company and then receive everything for life from that job...........Hm...a decent car........upper 20s (list price). Yeah you can get cars for less if you don't want to much comfort and a few niceties. You get the bottom end of the autos. I wonder why they cost so much


  31. #31
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
    Kary Krismer Guest

    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Kary - obviously your not aware of the details of the Washington Home Inspector law. WA State Licensing: Home inspector laws and rules

    They dramatically increase the requirements for a home inspector and will weed out the casual inspectors. On July 1st, everyone will have to be licensed or cease doing inspections.

    //Rick
    I was aware of that, which is why I said they were now tightening up the requirements. Before I'm not even sure if there were any requirements, other than getting a business license and tax account.

    BTW, that still won't prevent them from using parents or themselves.

    Last edited by Kary Krismer; 06-14-2010 at 01:32 PM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Ted,

    Unfortunately we know what the insurers will do... roll over and pay! Then paint the inspectors as a bad lot and bad risks! Increase your premiums or deny future coverage.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Ted,
    You are spot on about lawyers adding up hours just to add up hours.
    We are caught between a rock and a hard place. In my case I was served papers for the lawsuit. Even though I knew it was a BS thing, had I not notified my insurance carrier, they very well could have denied me coverage, had the judge decided I should have been included.

    It all came from me, since I was still below my deductible. I have no doubt the atty could have taken care of this with a simple phone call, but then he wouldn't have run up the few hours he did.


  34. #34
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    The burden of proof in the court wil be on the seller and if there was no reason given for cancelation of the contract, he will never win in court. All you will have to do is show up, will not cost you anything, and the judge will say to the seller why the hell are you wasting my time.
    The key is that you have to get to court..... You still have to answer the complaint, answer interrogatories and on and on.... Court dates can be a year or longer down the road.

    I'm working on a case that is almost 5 years old and it is scheduled to go to court (for the 3rd time) in October!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  35. #35
    William Brady's Avatar
    William Brady Guest

    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Having some experience with all of this here is my advice.

    Not before but as soon as you get a lawyer letter forward it to your carrier. In your policy there is a clause that says something to the affect that if it causes more for the claim due to your not notifying them timely then they can decline coverage.

    Do not hesitate to notify your carrier. Last week in a publication sent from OREK it talks about the subject.

    This is business and you are right to have asked this group to give advice. Good luck amd remember you have no control over what some people will do. The reason for an inspection and the outcome of it can be the reason for the buyer to back out. Disclousures on the part of the seller are not always fully made so we have the HI and other inspections to protect the buyer. This comes with the business so just keep on keeping on a day at a time. Good Luck.


  36. #36
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Brendan,
    Did the seller follow through with their threat of action against on the loss of the sale?


  37. #37
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Generally, the inspector works for the prospective buyer. A seller may sometimes threaten to sue an inspector for negligence because of statements in the inspector’s report, but this threat is often hollow because the inspector’s duty is to his client, not to the seller or real estate agent.

    The four elements of a negligence claim are (1) Duty; (2) Breach; (3) Causation; and (4) Damages. To be successful a plaintiff must prove all four elements by a preponderance of the evidence.

    Read Proving Negligence - Int'l Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  38. #38
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Generally, the inspector works for the prospective buyer. A seller may sometimes threaten to sue an inspector for negligence because of statements in the inspector’s report, but this threat is often hollow because the inspector’s duty is to his client, not to the seller or real estate agent.

    The four elements of a negligence claim are (1) Duty; (2) Breach; (3) Causation; and (4) Damages. To be successful a plaintiff must prove all four elements by a preponderance of the evidence.

    Read Proving Negligence - Int'l Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
    Thank you Lisa. An appropriate and useful post. A little plug for iNACHI but not blatant or offensive to me at all.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Thank you Lisa. An appropriate and useful post. A little plug for iNACHI but not blatant or offensive to me at all.
    You're welcome.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  40. #40
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    I inspected a house about two months ago for a buyer who was buying a FSBO. Neither side had an agent and I had already inspected two houses for the buyer...one he was selling and the other he was buying but the deal fell though because his house did not sell in the time specified in the contract.

    The second house I inspected with no Realtors involved had a 16 year old shingle roof that didn't leak, hardboard siding that was in fair shape, and an unpermited rear screened porch.

    The buyer was going to ask for a new roof, to have new siding installed, and the deck torn down and rebuilt. My report suggested none of these things. I'm sure the seller had a stroke when he got the buyers repair request. What I am saying that just because a deals falls through it is not always due to the inspector. Sometimes you just have a buyer that has unrealistic expectations.


  41. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Generally, the inspector works for the prospective buyer. A seller may sometimes threaten to sue an inspector for negligence because of statements in the inspector’s report, but this threat is often hollow because the inspector’s duty is to his client, not to the seller or real estate agent.

    The four elements of a negligence claim are (1) Duty; (2) Breach; (3) Causation; and (4) Damages. To be successful a plaintiff must prove all four elements by a preponderance of the evidence.

    Read Proving Negligence - Int'l Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
    You may want to impart this information to one of your members whose initials are "JB".

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  42. #42
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    Mar 2007
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    Succasunna NJ
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    With all the training, testing and bragging about how much better their members are, why in the world would that organization need a document like that?

    I just can not understand how everyone is offering a mock trail presentation for CE units; learn to put your client first and for sure you'll stay out of court.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    learn to put your client first and for sure you'll stay out of court.
    Wrong.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  44. #44
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Double wrong! NO, more like triple wrong.

    Having sat in on mock trials, and participated in a few real ones, there is a lot out there that can bite you on the a$$.
    A mock trial is really good info to help keep you out of trouble. A real trial is a good education too, except it's way too late for one of the parties involved.

    While putting your client first is a good mantra, and doing a first class inspection is good practice, and writing a good report is a good idea, they may do little to protect you if someone feels they have been wronged, and decide to sue you.

    If you have ever seen a mock trial, or been to a real one, you would know how fast things can go downhill, and may not have anything to do with what you thought it was about in the first place.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Brendan,
    What ever happened??????


  46. #46
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Brendan,
    What ever happened??????
    Yet another drive by poster.....

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  47. #47
    Join Date
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Yet another drive by poster.....
    No longer an inspector...... This is a two year old thread.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  48. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    North Las Vegas Nv 89081
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    I've had a few times where a seller called me & told me they were going to sue me because client's walked do to my findings. I told them to go for it.
    Many times i would get to an inspection & the seller would be there & stated that I better not find anything wrong because that would piss them off. Well guess who pissed them off. Always state your findings in your report & always suggest further evaluation by a "Qualified/Licensed" contractor or technician in the appropriate field. Always make sure that your report adhere's to state inspection law. Remember you work for the buyer. Not the seller or the agent. I'm thakful that I've never had to go thru the hassle of being sued. My inspection business is 80% referrel because I look out for the buyer's best interest. Moral of this story is the hell with the seller & take care of the buyer.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Sued by the seller?

    There is nothing like a "dare" to generate a "double dare" on your part to get you going.


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