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  1. #1
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    Default Dodged a bullet today..

    Wow, I totally dodged a bullet today. I found some pit in the rear yard that the prior owner used to dump oil into. I guess he had a taxi cab maintenance / repair shop in the back of his residence. Who knows how much oil may be in there. Can you imagine the clean up for something like this? The agent was non too happy with this find but missing it could surely put an inspection company out of business just in potential clean up costs.

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    Last edited by Marc M; 01-18-2010 at 09:04 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    missing it could surely put an inspection company out of business just in potential clean up costs.
    And finding it may have just made it so the seller will not even be able to give the house away, not even at California prices.

    Okay, so it may only cost $50k or so ... or maybe it will cost $100k ... still, not even close to a California house price, but nonetheless it will hurt the seller big time.

    Great find!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Yes it is a good find.

    Reminds me of the time I happen to look down into the hollow cores of concrete block foundation in a garage with my flashlight, low and behold I saw my reflection. The owner it turns out had been pouring brake fluid, transmission oil, and crankcase oil down the cores as a handy way to get rid of the oils. Cha ching, cha ching $$$. Needless to say whenever I see exposed open tops of concrete block walls at grade level I take a look down with a strong light.


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Wow, I totally dodged a bullet today. I found some pit in the rear yard that the prior owner used to dump oil into. I guess he had a taxi cab maintenance / repair shop in the back of his residence. Who knows how much oil may be in there. Can you imagine the clean up for something like this? The agent was non too happy with this find but missing it could surely put an inspection company out of business just in potential clean up costs.
    No dodging bullets there. You are not an environmetal inspector and unless it is something obvious jumping out at you you would not even be expected to mention anything about it.

    Like I said. You saw it. You mentioned it. No liability behind not finding something if you had to root around to possibley find it.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Wow, I totally dodged a bullet today. I found some pit in the rear yard that the prior owner used to dump oil into. I guess he had a taxi cab maintenance / repair shop in the back of his residence. Who knows how much oil may be in there. Can you imagine the clean up for something like this? The agent was non too happy with this find but missing it could surely put an inspection company out of business just in potential clean up costs.

    Mark you just like making life hard for others. yes

    Nice snage bub...

    bEST

    rON


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    No dodging bullets there. You are not an environmetal inspector and unless it is something obvious jumping out at you you would not even be expected to mention anything about it.

    Like I said. You saw it. You mentioned it. No liability behind not finding something if you had to root around to possibley find it.

    I disagree.

    His name would most certainly be at the top of the list as Defendant when his client goes to recover the costs for decontamination when they sell and their buyer's inspector finds it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Its called the shotgun approach. And you can bet if the inspector has E&O his/her name will almost be guaranteed to be a respondent.


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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    While I do agree it is a good find, I disagree a home inspector would be found liable for it.
    I know my contract covers this stuff in the list of things that are outside the scope of the inspection. It's also outside the Standards of Practice for the State and ASHI SOP's.

    While an inspector might get dragged into a lawsuit, I doubt if it would go very far. But we can get dragged into many types of lawsuits anyway.


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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Good find, Marc. Innocent or not, we are all targets for angry homeowners and potential meals for hungry sharks.
    Your client owes you a big bonus for spotting that mess.


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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Mark you just like making life hard for others. yes

    Nice snage bub...

    bEST

    rON
    Trouble just happens to find me somehow. Job hazard i suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I disagree.

    His name would most certainly be at the top of the list as Defendant when his client goes to recover the costs for decontamination when they sell and their buyer's inspector finds it.
    I agree Jerry, although it's not in our scope. This "is" california where everything goes. I would guarantee that I would be the first to be sued. Clean up on this could easily top 1/4 million. (out here)


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Good find, Marc. Innocent or not, we are all targets for angry homeowners and potential meals for hungry sharks.
    Your client owes you a big bonus for spotting that mess.
    Big Bonus, thank you, tip... i wish. At the very least, the agent wont refer me because I blew her 3K commision.


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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    The agent was non too happy with this find . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    At the very least, the agent wont refer me because I blew her 3K commision.
    And, as we all know, 99% of real estate agents are more concerned about their commission than they are about their clients' wellbeing. Unfortunate but true.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Screw the agents, they are the first to roll you under the bus when you miss something and the first to bitch when you point things out Tomorrow I will tell everyone how I really feel.


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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    And, as we all know, 99% of real estate agents are more concerned about their commission than they are about their clients' wellbeing. Unfortunate but true.
    Roger that...


  15. #15

    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    While I do agree it is a good find, I disagree a home inspector would be found liable for it.
    I know my contract covers this stuff in the list of things that are outside the scope of the inspection. It's also outside the Standards of Practice for the State and ASHI SOP's.

    While an inspector might get dragged into a lawsuit, I doubt if it would go very far. But we can get dragged into many types of lawsuits anyway.
    Regardless of your "contract' or SoP's, you will be named in the lawsuit. It will cost you money to defend, even if you are 110% right. Likely a minimum of $500-$1000 just to make it go away. Not fair but it's a fact of life in this business.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Wow, I totally dodged a bullet today. I found some pit in the rear yard that the prior owner used to dump oil into. I guess he had a taxi cab maintenance / repair shop in the back of his residence. Who knows how much oil may be in there. Can you imagine the clean up for something like this? The agent was non too happy with this find but missing it could surely put an inspection company out of business just in potential clean up costs.
    How did you come to the conclusion what this opening was used for?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post
    Regardless of your "contract' or SoP's, you will be named in the lawsuit. It will cost you money to defend, even if you are 110% right. Likely a minimum of $500-$1000 just to make it go away. Not fair but it's a fact of life in this business.
    What is with the law suit crap from everyone


    How many of you have been legally collected , lets say.
    OOps, sorry, I know none of you that have been in a court room orm defending yourselves.

    The way I see it is if you have been that route then you must not have handled something poperly in your past.

    I have been working since I step out of and even before I stepped out of school. Never had any action or suit against me for anything and I have always been self employed in once sence or another.

    It sounds like you have all handled something improperly for this to happen to so many.

    Your not getting sued if it is not part of the SOPs you work from or the state you are licensed under. It is not part of any home inspection SOPS. it will never go to court and will not cost you a dime. Because you won't have to defend yourself.

    Sorry

    Just my opinion of facts not not the unabridged thought from everyone that you are going to get sued from anyone.

    What a way to go thru life. Worrying so much about so many things that not be worried about.

    As far as "Not fair but it's a fact of life in this business" Where did you get that extremely pitifull idea from.

    I know a serious amount of home inspectors and none of them have ever been raked over for anything. Have people tried to get something for nothing from these home inspectors...sure....didn't happen in most, and I say most home inspector grievences. Most complaints are handled by a phone call and a harsh vioce when they become idiots on the other end of the phone. For some sorry little sucker tries to get a disposal (after running it for 2 months) or a few screens (so what) or even a cracked window (happened later) which is a million of 1% of the home cost and it does not get nipped in the but just at the phone call stage is telling me that you and or anyone just did not kill it before it started rolling.

    If someone walks up to you and you know they are going to try to knock you out.....Aren't you going to knock them out first???????

    The only way to run a business. To let some sniveling little SOB try to and maybe even get away with that is OMG reediculous.

    Back to the subject at hand. He saw it and reported it. If he did not find it and of course it never got reported....nothing would have happened. If it was under somethng in the back yard and he had to move things around to get to it and did n ot see it....Nothing.

    If he did see it and told his client that he can not be for sure but he thinks it is oil being dumped here and did not write it up....Nothing. He is not an environmental inspector and it is not part of his standards.

    I would want someone to take me to court over that. Before the court date there would be a counter suit put in motion for some insane dollar figure and the lawyer would not go forth.

    Done with my after dinner rant now.

    Out of here


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Maday View Post
    How did you come to the conclusion what this opening was used for?
    A neighbor was there. Later confirmed by the buyer after the inspection.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Ted, had to reply to your opinions. Rightly or wrongly here are my retorts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    What is with the law suit crap from everyone

    How many of you have been legally collected , lets say.
    OOps, sorry, I know none of you that have been in a court room orm defending yourselves.

    How do you know that?

    The way I see it is if you have been that route then you must not have handled something poperly in your past.

    Thats a pretty big brush you are painting with. Again how can you come to that conclusion when you don't have all the facts pertaining to the suit. Just because you are taken to task in a court does not mean you did something wrong in the eyes of the law but rather the person filing suit. Further your arguement is meritless because its up to the court to decide the outcome and in many case the respondent maybe found innocent of the allegations/charges.

    I have been working since I step out of and even before I stepped out of school. Never had any action or suit against me for anything and I have always been self employed in once sence or another.

    It sounds like you have all handled something improperly for this to happen to so many.

    I don't quite understand how you can come to that conclusion the first time and now a second time.

    Your not getting sued if it is not part of the SOPs you work from or the state you are licensed under. It is not part of any home inspection SOPS. it will never go to court and will not cost you a dime. Because you won't have to defend yourself.

    And if you inspect in a state that doesn't licence what then? Sure you inspect to the SOP but anybody who feels wrong can file suit and if it isn't settled in the discovery phase it goes to court and the judge will decide on the evidence presented. I can point to case law to back that up.

    Sorry

    Just my opinion of facts not not the unabridged thought from everyone that you are going to get sued from anyone.

    What a way to go thru life. Worrying so much about so many things that not be worried about.

    As far as "Not fair but it's a fact of life in this business" Where did you get that extremely pitifull idea from.

    I know a serious amount of home inspectors and none of them have ever been raked over for anything. Have people tried to get something for nothing from these home inspectors...sure....didn't happen in most, and I say most home inspector grievences. Most complaints are handled by a phone call and a harsh vioce when they become idiots on the other end of the phone. For some sorry little sucker tries to get a disposal (after running it for 2 months) or a few screens (so what) or even a cracked window (happened later) which is a million of 1% of the home cost and it does not get nipped in the but just at the phone call stage is telling me that you and or anyone just did not kill it before it started rolling.

    Those are not the type of complaints which result in law suits. You can only comment from your experience not that of others. Sure you maybe able to nip it in the bud with a gruff tone, or bully. But your approach may not work for someone else and a lot depends on the circumstances and the person you happen to be dealing with. Again we are not talking about nickel dime stuff which quite frankly is and should not lead to legal action, its the big ticket stuff such as foundation issues, or failure to provide a standard of care owed and practiced by others in the profession or even negligence wherein you failed to draw attention to the findings and the ramifications or by glossing over something and dismissing it.

    If someone walks up to you and you know they are going to try to knock you out.....Aren't you going to knock them out first???????

    Civil torts are not criminal matters and perhaps that s a bad comparison, you are talking apples and oranges. And besides you don't always have the option of knocking out someone as more than likely the E&O provider will decide the fate of the complaint by settling out of court for expedient financial reasons. Been there done that.

    The only way to run a business. To let some sniveling little SOB try to and maybe even get away with that is OMG reediculous.

    Well you have never been in a court from the sounds of it so how can you speak from experience, but then again maybe you have. Isn't experience worth being challenged and winning and losing?

    Back to the subject at hand. He saw it and reported it. If he did not find it and of course it never got reported....nothing would have happened. If it was under somethng in the back yard and he had to move things around to get to it and did n ot see it....Nothing.

    If he did see it and told his client that he can not be for sure but he thinks it is oil being dumped here and did not write it up....Nothing. He is not an environmental inspector and it is not part of his standards.

    I will leave you to ponder this and is strictly a Canadian pov from the courts but most likely applies state side too.

    All professionals are subject to performance standards dictated by the administrative bodies responsible for overseeing their profession. There are also standards not necessarily prescribed in any law or code but described at any point in time as the common standards within the profession. One might assume that conformance with both types of standard would protect a professional person from legal liability, but that is not always the case. Increasingly, there are occasions where the courts are willing to find that professionals have acted negligently even though they followed the accepted practice of the day.

    The general legal principle that applies is that the standard of care applicable to a professional in the performance of his or her duties is one of reasonable skill, care and knowledge (Central Trust Company v. Rafuse, 1986). Although the standard is an objective one, the law will tailor it to fit each circumstance. Not surprisingly, there has been much debate about how that standard is to be applied in respect of professionals who, by definition, engage is the trading of their skill and knowledge. The one uncontroverted principle arising from that debate is that a professionals error of judgment will not constitute negligence. The problem, of course, has been how to distinguish misjudgment from negligence.

    More to the point, when it comes to determining the importance of professional standards in respect of the legal standard just described, a court considers that a standard practice falls below the legal standard only if the standard practice fails to adopt obvious and reasonable precautions readily apparent to the court. Otherwise, the court will show deference to the standard practice.


    I would want someone to take me to court over that. Before the court date there would be a counter suit put in motion for some insane dollar figure and the lawyer would not go forth.

    Done with my after dinner rant now.
    Wow that was a good rant. I think you need a breath mint or an aperitif.

    Thanks Ted, no hard feelings, just couldn't resist the temptation to counter your points.

    Breathe mint anyone?

    Out of here



  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    My next door neighbor noticed an oil stain on his basement floor behind the hot water tank this past spring and the clean up cost has already exceeded the value of the house and the work is still a ways from completion. I think snow will be on the ground first. In Ontario things like this don't go away cheap.


  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Raymond

    I got rid of the rest of the crap but what you said here

    "Again we are not talking about nickel dime stuff which quite frankly is and should not lead to legal action, its the big ticket stuff such as foundation issues, or failure to provide a standard of care owed and practiced by others in the profession or even negligence wherein you failed to draw attention to the findings and the ramifications or by glossing over something and dismissing it."

    See the way you are talking!!!! You should not even know how to talk like that. My God man just do your job and you won't have to talk like that.

    About says everything I was saying.

    They either did something wrong or just did not nip the small stuff in the butttttttt

    How does one Miss Foundation concerns. If in fact it was not visible and looked like nothing and that (to be short about it) is what you said in your report for your opinion then you are not liable. After all, cameras and your opinion count for most of the fact.

    Now if you just walked blindly around the home and slept thru half the inspection and did not write that the rear half of the foundation was falling off the cliff....well............sorry.............one deserves to get spanked.

    Your walk thru with the client in the end....not during your inspection....Is the absolute most important part of an inspection. There is no doubt what so ever in the clients mind that you in fact did look at everything that there is no way they could consider coming after you.

    Life is sweet. Life is wonderful.

    Stop worrying about and thinking about court and lawyers and and and and everything that you do not need to worry about at your inspection.

    Do your inspection whistling

    Whistle While You Work

    Law suit waiting to happen?????

    You musta

    You shoulda

    You coulda

    You didn't??????????????????????????

    OMG you are going down............ Boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh yeah
    Forgot to add

    Keep the clients out until you are ready for them............................

    Sorry

    Had to add that


  22. #22
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Zabarylo View Post
    My next door neighbor noticed an oil stain on his basement floor behind the hot water tank this past spring and the clean up cost has already exceeded the value of the house and the work is still a ways from completion. I think snow will be on the ground first. In Ontario things like this don't go away cheap.
    Every home in America that ever had an oil tank in the basement of there home is a superfund site. I have never seen an area around an oil tank that did not have saturated areas with oil.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Ted, may be you recall my plight many years ago as I have posted it several times on this forum.

    I was sued for a latent defect of a concrete block wall in a crawlspace which was not accessible. Inspected the house twice in as many weeks and there were no tell tale signs of the collapse, and when it was discovered two years after the inspection myself and another inspector went back and the collapse had been hidden by the previous vendor.

    When I explained to the insurer that the vendor had to have known due to the way the collapse had been camouflaged the E&O insurer replied, "well the owners are elderly and have no money." Also the house was built without permit. The insurer paid out rather than fight it.

    Hindsight; I would have been better off defending this myself rather than rely on the insurers who where negligent in their defence and handling of the matter.

    Cheers,


  24. #24
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dodged a bullet today..

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ted, may be you recall my plight many years ago as I have posted it several times on this forum.

    I was sued for a latent defect of a concrete block wall in a crawlspace which was not accessible. Inspected the house twice in as many weeks and there were no tell tale signs of the collapse, and when it was discovered two years after the inspection myself and another inspector went back and the collapse had been hidden by the previous vendor.

    When I explained to the insurer that the vendor had to have known due to the way the collapse had been camouflaged the E&O insurer replied, "well the owners are elderly and have no money." Also the house was built without permit. The insurer paid out rather than fight it.

    Hindsight; I would have been better off defending this myself rather than rely on the insurers who where negligent in their defence and handling of the matter.

    Cheers,
    My sentiments exactly


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