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  1. #1
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    Default Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Hello all,

    First time contributor, long time follower. My name is C.J. Johnson, I'm an attorney in Missoula, Montana. I spent 12 years defending Realtors and other real estate professionals in malpractice cases and have recently "flipped" that side of my practice to include home inspection malpractice claims on behalf of homeowners.

    What we've found is that, and this won't surprise you, that a lot of home inspectors are absolutely fantastic. It's not our goal to "bag" on home inspectors or "get" them, but Montana has refused to regulate the industry and we've had a lot of problems up this way with under-qualified or completely unqualified inspectors doing real harm to consumers. We've been blogging on a number of home inspection issues, mostly ASHI Standards stuff and Montana law but we'll be posting on InterNACHI standards as well. I hope you find it informative and entertaining, not infuriating; or, you can send us hate mail and strike this post from your website.

    It might be helpful, though, to see these claims through the lens of those who bring them and hopefully we can learn from one another. Our blog is at bigskytrial.com/blog/. Thanks.

    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    This should be an interesting topic to follow. I'm sure you have found home inspectors can be a little opinioned. Hope you stay and defend your positions if and or when the topic gets a little heated

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    It will be interesting to see your input to the forum.

    I did take a look at your Blog and found that you or who ever posted the picture Dec 2,2013 with the description may need a little guidance is in building as demonstrated by the wording "... photo below -- a structural header cut clear through (rendering it useless) and an adjacent header that had been completely removed...."

    The structural header was not cut clear through but rather the King-jack stud was missing. Maybe a little picky but welcome to the forum.. Don't be a stranger, especially since you have a emotionally needy dog, Misha.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Johnson View Post
    ... but Montana has refused to regulate the industry and we've had a lot of problems up this way with under-qualified or completely unqualified inspectors doing real harm to consumers. We've been blogging on a number of home inspection issues, mostly ASHI Standards stuff and Montana law but we'll be posting on InterNACHI standards as well. I hope you find it informative and entertaining, not infuriating; or, you can send us hate mail and strike this post from your website.

    It might be helpful, though, to see these claims through the lens of those who bring them and hopefully we can learn from one another. Our blog is at bigskytrial.com/blog/. Thanks.
    Licensing will typically not solve the problems you describe. It depends on the licensing law. Having worked in a licensed state, I can tell you first hand even though the state requried an entrance exam and continuing education, there were still many under-qualifed inspectors.

    Licensing only weeds out the very poorest test takers. Requireing E&O insurance does not make the inspectors more qualifed, just easier to collect money from if sued (justly or unjustly). Available continuing education is so basic 101 stuff that after couple of years, it is just the same ole same ole. Sitting in a hotel conference room for a couple days is just boring and expensive. Online education is slightly less expensive but not much better in content when geared specifically for home inspectors.

    I believe that a home inspector licensing law should require a specific SOP and signed contract. It should require continuing education. I would like to see a requirement that inspectors become ICC Residential Combo code certified within a 5 year period of inital licensure and maintain those certifications as long as they remain licensed. General liability insurance should be required but NOT errors & ommissions.

    The law should further prohibit and exclude any realtor or real estate salesperson from being on the licensing board. That industry needs to clean up their own house before they even think about coming around and presume to know how to manage someone else's business.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    It will be interesting to see your input to the forum.

    I did take a look at your Blog and found that you or who ever posted the picture Dec 2,2013 with the description may need a little guidance is in building as demonstrated by the wording "... photo below -- a structural header cut clear through (rendering it useless) and an adjacent header that had been completely removed...."

    The structural header was not cut clear through but rather the King-jack stud was missing. Maybe a little picky but welcome to the forum.. Don't be a stranger, especially since you have a emotionally needy dog, Misha.
    Thanks Garry for your input. It's been duly noted on the blog post.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Firstly; welcome to the forum.

    I trust you are a lawyer with integrity and that you strive to represent the best interests of your wronged clients.

    Yes there are bad inspectors out there, and yes there are good inspectors as well. However since it is somewhat easy for so called disgruntled home purchasers to file suit against their home inspectors many lawyers without doing their homework (researching case law) will string the client along and tell them they have a very good chance of winning when in fact they do not. That to me is negligence on the part of the lawyer, but we don't read any cases where lawyers have been sued in tort for breach of contract or negligence in the defence of their client. I trust you are not one of the ambulance chasers we so often see advertising their wares?

    Now as a senior inspector and expert witness with regard to home inspectors I would be the first to tell you there are inspectors who screw up. Not necessarily because they are bad at their job but because of ignorance or they don't fully appreciate the needs or wants of their clients and do not manage client expectations. To err is human and humans are not infallible.
    Unfortunately the profession seems to be a ready mark for the tar and featherer.

    If you are true as you allude I hope you don't take on meritless claims to collect from the E&O pool and/or to collect a pay check.

    Yes bad inspectors who repeatedly short change their clients and give us all a bad image need to be weeded out. If the legal system is the way to ensure that, so much the better. But targeting inspectors simply for the sake of collecting a sum due to low resistance and financial expediency of the insurer is in my view what happens in many cases.

    There are no guarantees in life and no assurances that licenced, educated, nor which association one belongs to will stem an oversight. Its unfortunate that people hang their hats on licencing to stop what they feel is lacking in this profession any more that it stops malpractice suits with doctors, lawyers, Professional engineers.

    These are my views, but please don't feel I am directing my concerns at you and your livelihood. I am just espousing my views from my side of the fence.

    In closing welcome again, and I know I and others relish your input as much as you appreciate our candour and our advice to you.

    Enjoy the forum, I think you are the first lawyer to wade into this forum.

    All the best to you. Thank you for joining the forum.

    Raymond


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Welcome CJ,

    I am of the opinion that home inspector licensing is a good thing, as long as it is well written. ASHI likely has an up-to-date white paper on the various licensing statutes and which rank best. Here in Arizona, we have a well written law with an appropriate overseeing body (same agency that regulates Architects and Engineers).

    If regulation becomes a possibility in your state please feel free to call if you wish to discuss. I am the Designated Lobbyist for home inspectors in Arizona and chair the Home Inspector Rules & Standards Committee at the Arizona Board of Technical Registration.

    David Swartz
    602-341-3412


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    CJ

    It be nice if you posted a website in your profile.

    Thanks.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    If it were not for the ambulance chasing lawyers, then the insurance companies would screw everyone of us even harder, and more often. There would be nothing we could do about it.
    Same thing goes for home inspectors.
    The horror stories about liability and lawsuits is the primary reason many so called inspectors quit.
    If not for lawsuits, there would be three times as many inspectors, most of which would not be qualified.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    How do we know that header was in the state you 'allege' when the inspector was there?

    Secondly we don't know, but perhaps the doorway is planned to be changed to widen the door or to be taken out.

    We don't have the luxury of knowing that side of the story, only what you 'allege.'

    As in, you don't need to be a home inspector to know that this is the kind of stuff a home inspector should recognize 100 times out of 100
    Well obviously you are not a home inspector and didn't pick up on it.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Johnson View Post
    Hello all,

    First time contributor, long time follower. My name is C.J. Johnson, I'm an attorney in Missoula, Montana. I spent 12 years defending Realtors and other real estate professionals in malpractice cases and have recently "flipped" that side of my practice to include home inspection malpractice claims on behalf of homeowners.

    What we've found is that, and this won't surprise you, that a lot of home inspectors are absolutely fantastic. It's not our goal to "bag" on home inspectors or "get" them, but Montana has refused to regulate the industry and we've had a lot of problems up this way with under-qualified or completely unqualified inspectors doing real harm to consumers. We've been blogging on a number of home inspection issues, mostly ASHI Standards stuff and Montana law but we'll be posting on InterNACHI standards as well. I hope you find it informative and entertaining, not infuriating; or, you can send us hate mail and strike this post from your website.

    It might be helpful, though, to see these claims through the lens of those who bring them and hopefully we can learn from one another. Our blog is at bigskytrial.com/blog/. Thanks.
    Your blog was talked about on the private ASHI discussion board and you might be surprised that several agreed with you about poor inspectors, etc...

    Montana is a tuff state to get licensing legislation passed, I was invited several years ago to testify at a committee hearing about licensing and licensing exams. Your INACHI folks were not happy with any type of regulation and a few of the committee members were actually inspectors (part-time, also contractors, one was a hunting guide and I think one worked on the family ranch) who belonged to INACHI at that time. Needless to say they had their way.....

    This is a link to CJ's website Kalkstein, Johnson & Dye, P.C. | Lawyering redefined

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    I read your blog. It is very critical of ASHI inspectors. You have to realize though, that ASHI members are in a real sense, handicapped with regard to technical competence. They have to pay for any training they take, their ASHI school is horribly overpriced, and as you know, fees are a deterrent to anything, including education. So I don't think it fair for you to expect ASHI members to achieve and maintain the same level of excellence as other inspectors such as members of InterNACHI who have free, unlimited access to hundreds of robust inspection courses that have been awarded over 1,200 governmental approvals and accreditations.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Well CJ,
    *taken from OP's web site.
    " We like being lawyers, litigating cases, and playing it straight. So if you're in the hunt for minions, lackeys, toadies, flunkeys, or any other manner of lawyer who might do anything to get you yours, this crew's not for you. "

    Sounds like we've shared some of the same " Customer Base."

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Top 10 Things A Lawyer Will Say. Here's the list, introduced as "the things a lawyer may not want you to know
    1. "Your idea of a good lawyer isn't necessarily the same as mine."
    2. "I'm not researching any stinking case law."
    3. "Ethics? What ethics?"
    4. "I'm more loyal to protecting my colleagues than than I am to you."
    5. "Oh, you want a real lawyer? Well, that's gonna cost you."
    6. "Hey its my first day on the job? Defending you is a new experience for me."
    7. "I don't guarantee my work."
    8. "Why would I want to have E&O insurance?"
    9. "Helping myself to your wallet is job 1."
    10. "I know all the ins and outs on how to do things illegally."


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    I read your blog. It is very critical of ASHI inspectors. You have to realize though, that ASHI members are in a real sense, handicapped with regard to technical competence. They have to pay for any training they take, their ASHI school is horribly overpriced, and as you know, fees are a deterrent to anything, including education. So I don't think it fair for you to expect ASHI members to achieve and maintain the same level of excellence as other inspectors such as members of InterNACHI who have free, unlimited access to hundreds of robust inspection courses that have been awarded over 1,200 governmental approvals and accreditations.
    Critical of ASHI inspectors ? Why do we need to keep seeing this crap.
    I sure didn't see that at all. What I saw was this lawyer expressed requirements for home inspectors are too low in his state.
    CJ if you want to be a Certified Inspector just go to Lisa's site take their on-line quiz, promise to do other crap that nobody verifies if you did or didn't do it, pay $400 bucks and whammo you are qualified to market yourself to the public as a Certified Inspector.
    If you have a problem passing the exam, no problem, take it as many times as you need, or heck if that doesn't work just have some one take it for you. If you forget to complete the things you promised to do, no problem nobody verifies if you did them.

    If you have an extra grand to through around, fill out some forms that nobody verifies and double whammo your a Certified Master Inspector. If you choose to go for this one be sure you do it by the end of this month, otherwise it's going to cost you $2500.00.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Strangely, I have not been able to substantiate that Nachi inspectors are inferior. Nor can I find any case law which would substantiate such theories. But what I do find is - inspectors from well established associations being taken to task? At least from a Canadian case law point of view.

    Why do you suppose that is?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Strangely, I have not been able to substantiate that Nachi inspectors are inferior. Nor can I find any case law which would substantiate such theories. But what I do find is - inspectors from well established associations being taken to task? At least from a Canadian case law point of view.

    Why do you suppose that is?
    I didn't intend to indicate members of one org or another are better than another.
    From what I've been exposed to is complaints against members of the different orgs, and non org members are almost equal.
    That's why I'm sick of seeing Gromickoo coming here and bashing ASHI members every chance he gets.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    I did take a look at your Blog and found that you or who ever posted the picture Dec 2,2013 with the description may need a little guidance is in building as demonstrated by the wording "... photo below -- a structural header cut clear through (rendering it useless) and an adjacent header that had been completely removed...."

    The structural header was not cut clear through but rather the King-jack stud was missing. Maybe a little picky ...
    Not a bit picky at all, and the king stud is not "missing", it was "removed" (the nails are still hanging down through the top plate) ... now, maybe ... this is being a it picky "missing" (yeah, it is not there, but it is not "missing" as someone knew where it was and where it went) versus "removed" (well, because it was there, the evidence that it was there is still there, just the stud had been "removed").

    And not only the king stud but the jack stud was "removed" as well, and the jack stud was also removed after the fact because the 2x4 installed below the header and between the jack studs to make the opening the proper size is also still there and is cut to a length which allows for the jack stud to have been there.

    Is it just me not seeing it there or are the required supports for that PVC pipe not there?

    There also must have been drywall installed on that wall at one time as I see where drywall nails/screws were in the wood framing and the texture overspray on the bottom of that 2x4 trimmer under the header and on the jack stud which remains there on the left side.

    But enough about the stuff shown in the photo ...

    ... the REAL question becomes this: Was that condition present when the home was inspected?

    Maybe, maybe not ...

    THAT is where the real detective work would be needed before pursuing this in court - PROOF (incontrovertible evidence) that the studs were removed PRIOR TO the home inspection, no proof the condition existed prior to the home inspection and you have a weak case against the home inspector.

    Jumping to conclusions may be great exercise, but it can also lead to embarrassing moments when the landing is poorly executed and the judges score the jump as a 3 instead of a 9.5.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Raymond Wand asks
    Strangely, I have not been able to substantiate that InterNACHI inspectors are inferior. Nor can I find any case law which would substantiate such theories. But what I do find is - inspectors from well established associations being taken to task? At least from a Canadian case law point of view.

    Why do you suppose that is?
    Excellent observation and question. InterNACHI members are a much better blood line (technical proficiency wise) as a result of years of free and unlimited access to hundreds of robust inspection courses that have been awarded over 1,200 governmental approvals and accreditations. Other "societies" charge (actually, grossly overcharge) their sucker members for their training and as we all know, outrageous fees (like taxes) are a deterrent (in this case, a deterrent to achieving competence). Don't blame ASHI members, blame ASHI for their members' incompetence.

    Last edited by Lisa Endza; 12-05-2013 at 08:42 PM.
    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Lisa said, "You have to realize though, that ASHI members are in a real sense, handicapped with regard to technical competence. They have to pay for any training they take,......"

    Once again you have your facts wrong. ASHI members are not required to pay for continuing education. There are lots of free continuing education courses out there that are ASHI as well as TN approved.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Yes Jack, but ASHI has other problems as well. For example, ASHI uses the NHIE, the very "minimum-standard" (Examination Board of Professional Home Inspector's adjective, not mine) exam used by many states (including yours) to license newbies fresh out of school as the basis for awarding their highest "ASHI Certified Inspector" professional designation. Even in your state of Tennessee, every newbie has to pass the NHIE just to get a license and do their first inspection, and that's the exam ASHI uses to award it's highest level of membership? Unconscionable. ASHI is a borderline diploma mill IMHO.

    Imagine if ASHI issued the "ASHI Certified Driver" professional designation to top professional race car drivers, and the test they used to issue this honor was simply the same one we all took to get out first driver's license when we were 16-years old. That would be absurd!

    Does ASHI at least make applicants pass the NHIE again (a second time), or do they not even require that?

    Scott Patterson is always asking me why InterNACHI members talk about ASHI as if ASHI was a big joke. Well now you can see why ASHI commands so little respect in our industry.

    In sharp contrast, InterNACHI's requirements are on top of and in addition to whatever your state requires and the Certified Master Inspector professional designation certainly isn't based on passing the very same "minimum standard" exam that your state requires newbies to pass in order to do their first inspection.

    Last edited by Lisa Endza; 12-05-2013 at 10:02 PM.
    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    [QUOTE=Lisa Endza;234525]
    Scott Patterson is always asking me why InterNACHI members talk about ASHI as if ASHI was a big joke. Well now you can see why ASHI commands so little respect in our industry.
    /QUOTE]

    The only one here with no respect is YOU!

    Oh, the pain of reading this BS day after day, year after year.

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

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    So much venom, its sad.

    So I take from your post that the inachi test and SOP is the "Maximum Standards" then?


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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not a bit picky at all, and the king stud is not "missing", it was "removed" (the nails are still hanging down through the top plate) ... now, maybe ... this is being a it picky "missing" (yeah, it is not there, but it is not "missing" as someone knew where it was and where it went) versus "removed" (well, because it was there, the evidence that it was there is still there, just the stud had been "removed").
    .............

    Is it just me not seeing it there or are the required supports for that PVC pipe not there?

    There also must have been drywall installed on that wall at one time ............


    ... the REAL question becomes this: Was that condition present when the home was inspected?

    Maybe, maybe not ... ........

    THAT is where the real detective work would be needed .........
    Using "picky" was an attempt to not scare away someone from posting. "Missing" as opposed to "removed", you are correct that it has been removed. Have to use Ctrl_+ more. Missing now makes me believe that they lost it, therefore it was not replaced.

    It may have been removed when the new boiler was installed by the 400lb plumber.
    Where is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story when you need him ? Maybe CJ will give us a hint.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    C.J. Johnson,

    Since you have been a "long time follower" you know not to let the Lisa E. fustian/rhetoric postings and the subsequent divergence into a world of de facto marketing bother you. It is her adolescent game that sadly she brings to this forum.

    C.J., you reference the ASHI contract in limiting liability. Would you express your opinion on the INACHI contracts as they relate to limiting liability to the fee charged?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    C.J., you reference the ASHI contract in limiting liability. Would you express your opinion on the INACHI contracts as they relate to limiting liability to the fee charged?
    That is not an ASHI issue, that is the sole responsibility of the individual inspector. ASHI does not have a standardized contract to my knowledge. Secondly InterNachi inspectors are free to include exculpatory clauses as well. Nachi does not dictate contractual terms to be included in their members contracts.

    Don't blame the associations for that.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Going off topic a bit here, but as a newer person around here and not knowing all the history I think arguing about which association is better and bashing others is the equivalent of arguing about which college is better. It reminds me of an old joke, “Arguing with an inspector is the same as fighting with a pig in the mud, after awhile you realize they both enjoy it.” When you have two inspectors arguing with each other it never ends, because they both enjoy it.

    I think it all comes down to the individual home inspector and their own desire to being a better inspector. Yes, we can debate the national exam, but in WI it is the only proctored exam to ID verify that at least the person who is going to be a Home Inspector is taking the test, and passed a test that, at least, questions knowledge.

    Yes, I wish the State did a better with licensed professionals and things are s-l-o-w-l-y moving in that direction, but it is moving. I think it was in ’97 that WI started to license Home Inspectors and the test back then was a real joke as it had nothing to do with knowledge of homes, it was more of what to say, and not to say. Prior to that, real estate agents were complaining that HI’s were telling clients simply not to buy a home, or to ask for so much off the price. The Realtors banned together to push the first round of crap licensing in WI so a HI could not say, “Don’t buy this house”, at least they got the ball rolling, but it was for their own gain, now WI requires the NHIE in addition to the original test.

    Long story short, to argue about which association is best is pointless in my mind… Seems like the only real benefit is the ability to say you are part of a association which gives clients a comfy feeling that you must be something special, because you belong to an association they probably have no clue about. When I think about it, I never questioned the degree on my doctor’s office wall and said, “Hey, isn’t Harvard a better place to get your degree?”


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Using "picky" was an attempt to not scare away someone from posting. "Missing" as opposed to "removed", you are correct that it has been removed. Have to use Ctrl_+ more. Missing now makes me believe that they lost it, therefore it was not replaced.

    It may have been removed when the new boiler was installed by the 400lb plumber.
    Where is Paul Harvey with the rest of the story when you need him ? Maybe CJ will give us a hint.
    Hello all, Hey, the thread is back on track! Nice work. We don't know why the king jack stud was removed. We do know that this condition existed at the time of inspection, it's in the background on photos taken months before. There was a prior water event and remediation in the basement and we're trying to figure whether the contractor removed it for some reason, then never replaced it.

    Some other thoughts -- Whoever posted the "ambulance chaser" comment is correct, in an unregulated market the only "regulation" is through the courts, and it is also correct to say that bad inspectors are chased off by meritorious lawsuits. Good inspectors also get sued by bad lawyers, though, so perhaps that's a push.

    Thanks for the welcoming messages and I look forward to the back-and-forth with everyone on these issues, it's very interesting. I'll also update with threads on our recent blog posts; not all of them deal with home inspection contract and liability issues, but you never know what might help. Again, thanks and Happy Holidays.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Bringing up HI associations should be banned from this forum in the same vein as politics and religion. It is a disgusting drag on my education which is why I come here.

    Do electrical, roofing, plumbers, etc., discussion forums put up with the same crap?

    Mike Lamb
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Since one association, InterNACHI, is the source of 91% of all the training in our industry, I don't see how you can separate InterNACHI from education. It would be like trying to avoid the NFL in a discussion about professional football.

    Become a Home Inspector: Free Inspector Training and Education - InterNACHI

    Lisa Endza
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    InterNACHI

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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Just read the blog. The one thing that's always bothered me was listed in "Ten Things The Home Inspector Won't Tell You".

    I don't guarantee my work.

    What does that mean? Personally I guarantee that everything listed in my report is accurate. But, I can't guarantee that I've found every defect in the home. I also can't guarantee they won't have any problems with the house. Heck, I can't even guarantee that I won't have problems in my own house within the next 24 hours. I doubt if anyone can.

    As far as the picture of the missing studs and header, pay a carpenter a couple hundred bucks to put them back. Whether the home owner paid for it or the inspector paid for it really doesn't matter. If the inspector paid for it, he's out less than the inspection fee. If the homeowner paid for it, he's out much less than the attorney fees. It wouldn't surprise me if the inspector wasn't qualified to do the repair...done for less than $50 in materials. If people used a little common sense there would be less lawsuits in the world.

    I work in an unlicensed state. However, we have local licensing for what's referred to as Time of Sale inspections. These inspections are mandated by the cities to be done prior to houses being put on the market. These inspectors are licensed. Literally daily I inspect houses for buyers that have had the Time of Sale inspections done. Every one of them miss things. Some huge. One house had a support post cut off 6 inches from the floor. The post was being held up by an AC Delco bumper jack from the '70s. Not one mention of it in the Time of Sale report. In fact, the house had been rehabbed and inspected by 3 other AHJ inspectors. No mention of the bumper jack. I really don't believe licensing will protect home buyers. But, it may weed out a few of the totally unqualified inspectors.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 12-06-2013 at 11:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Since lawyers are recommending inspectors use exculpatory clauses and other limitations in contracts, its rather odd that other lawyers think there are problems with the verbiage used in contracts. Seems like a make work project amongst lawyers to shoot holes in contracts written by other lawyers.

    As long as inspectors are presenting their contracts prior to the inspection date, purchasers are well within their rights to retain another inspector with contracts less restrictive.

    Heck, some purchasers claim they didn't even read the contract then complain duress!


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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    I think having someone like CJ post on this forum is the best opportunity we (IN inspectors) can have to educate ourselves (short of actually being sued).

    Everyone here has "the other inspector" stories they can tell.
    With every story, there was a home purchaser that was harmed.
    Every time a home purchaser is harmed by an incompetent home inspector, we (all home inspectors good as well as bad) suffer the reputation. Since we as a group cannot (or will not) assure fellow inspectors are competent, we as a group can expect that incompetent inspectors will continue with impunity. The home buyers only recourse is through the courts.

    As for contracts that limit liability. Within reason it's acceptable, but to exclude any and all liability, this is what the incompetent inspector is hoping to build his business on.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Yes and there are many purchasers who file meritless claims.

    Incompetence is not actually the problem, there are seasoned well versed inspectors being sued who have had to run the gauntlet. Licencing is not going to make someone competent, nor is an association membership going to guarantee competence.

    Where are all these incompetent inspectors I keep hearing about? The so called incompetent inspectors we hear about and supported by case law are in 'most cases' seasoned inspectors, with certifications coming out the ying-yang. What does appear to be the case is that newbies would seem to have less chance of being sued as they are not complacent.

    Unfortunately the insurers are to blame in large part because as we have repeatedly discussed on this forum it is expedient to pay out rather than spend large sums of money fighting a good cause. Then the insurers turn around and paint the profession as rogues and cowboys.

    Licencing will not stop law suits, that is the biggest misnomer. What licening will do is only pull the licence of incompetent inspectors and again that fact remains with how the licencing legislation is empowered by the legislatures.

    As to limiting liability many contracts with limitation are upheld providing the contract is presented up front, not at time of inspection or post inspection. And as I already noted why are lawyers telling inspectors to put limitations in the contracts, only to be argued by other lawyers they are invalid. Now public policy provisions to such contracts may be deemed invalid by legislation. But in most cases parties should be free to contract without interference. Again case law from my research in Cdn law supports that.

    We as individuals cannot effect oversite of so called bad inspectors. That in not my job, nor anyone elses. That is the duty of the associations in part, consumer laws, and the legal system.
    We have a couple of associations up here who are useless titts when it comes to oversight because its home inspectors overseeing home inspectors and buddies over seeing buddies. No one oversees the associations and that in my view is where the majority of the problem lies. Self regulation does not work. I have spoken about this in other threads on this forum.

    Rick I do see your points, but as a home inspector, and business operator I don't agree with all of them. There has to be a happy medium and in most part licencing has solved nothing anymore than it has with other licenced professions. However again if licencing is the answer then provisions should be provided in same to impose remedial measures such as fines, or educational courses.

    Where many issues arise is the real estate community not being at arms length from referrals and influencing inspectors.

    I don't know what the answer is to the issues we face as a whole, but bad legislation and piece meal efforts must not be instituted for the sake of doing something that has proven not to be the answer.

    Good discussion.


    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 12-07-2013 at 07:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Since one association, InterNACHI, is the source of 91% of all the training in our industry, I don't see how you can separate InterNACHI from education. It would be like trying to avoid the NFL in a discussion about professional football.

    Become a Home Inspector: Free Inspector Training and Education - InterNACHI
    If the questions on your online exam to be a nacho certified inspector are an example of the quality of your HI training I would suggest you stick with creating and providing more fortune cookies for your members to hand out to their customers and let the training to professionals?

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Raymond
    At no time did I say anything about Licencing.

    I have my opinions, but few if any answers.

    And yes, some very qualified home inspectors will suffer from being sued. Most because of a simple over site, some even unjustly. But most lawsuits are because the HI erred in some fashion.

    I do think we can learn from CJ, if he is willing.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post

    Where are all these incompetent inspectors I keep hearing about?
    Are you telling me that you don't know any?
    Every inspector you come across, here, web sites, forums, associations, etc.. are competent and completely qualified?
    Maybe I'm just too critical, or expect to much, but I've seen at least a few.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Rick

    I can't base something solely on ones website. Although I must admit that I do have reservations about any inspector who does not provide a contact name or inspector(s) name on their company website. I advise such people who come to my website to stay away from such companies.

    Don't care for some of the hyperbole on some websites either. Such as 'we are the best', 'the largest', 'we do more inspections', or even the number of inspections conducted. One company I saw claims they have done over 10K inspections over a 20 year period.

    As far as I am concerned if they are professionals they should be listing their names! Like I have said on other occasions would you leave your name off your business card? I wouldn't.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Since lawyers are recommending inspectors use exculpatory clauses and other limitations in contracts, its rather odd that other lawyers think there are problems with the verbiage used in contracts. Seems like a make work project amongst lawyers to shoot holes in contracts written by other lawyers.

    As long as inspectors are presenting their contracts prior to the inspection date, purchasers are well within their rights to retain another inspector with contracts less restrictive.

    Heck, some purchasers claim they didn't even read the contract then complain duress!
    Ray, I have never seen, met or known of an attorney who did not have an issue with a contract written by another attorney! Heck my contract was cobbled together by a US District Attorney and a retired Federal judge and you would be surprised how many times I have had folks in the world of litigation that have had an issue with it.

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

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Right on Scott! Its make a make work project for their profession. Lets face it the lawyers are the winners. They get paid - win or lose. Unless of course they are contingency based lawyers. (they don't get paid if they lose your case).

    I had a Harvard educated lawyer who is also a professor of law at Harvard who bought a country property up here and he read my contract and agreed with its provisions. Good enough for me and it didn't cost me a dime for his review. As a matter of fact he paid me.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Are you telling me that you don't know any?
    Every inspector you come across, here, web sites, forums, associations, etc.. are competent and completely qualified?
    Maybe I'm just too critical, or expect to much, but I've seen at least a few.
    We all have the capability of screwing up, we are all human! Over the past 18 years and 7,000+ inspections I have made inspection oops before. The difference between me and many other inspectors I have met in a court room is that when I was notified by a client of a problem, I admitted my error and took care of the issue. Those that bowup, get definsive, try to deflect their liability or hide and ignore the complaint are usually the ones that get hauled into court; as it should be... Sure we get complaints that are not legitimate or justifiable, but honestly I have found those are not as prevelant as folks think. Many times the client just wants more information and during the course of the conversation they will realize that they really do not have a complaint after all.

    IMVHO, a good home inspector license law can protect the inspector as much if not more than it does the consumer. I think you will find this true with most professional license laws. No matter how good any professional license law is, it can not guarantee that all who hold that license will provide a quality service 100% of the time. But, it sure does help to cull those who do not have a clue and should be working at the county fair as a Tilt-a-Whril greaser!

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 12-07-2013 at 09:49 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default

    Yes I was sued back in 94, for a latent defect. Hung out to dry by the insurers. Former owners actively hid a foundation wall issue, no building permit. No access to crawlspace, no visible defects visible.

    I worry about every inspection I complete. Should I have said something differently, called something out, not call something out, should I have delved deeper into a finding... I am not infallible.

    Scott that is interesting about dealing with complaints. When I was discipline chair of OAHI one thing that repeatedly cropped up was inspectors refusing to acknowledge complaints, re-attend property, or tell the client 'sue me I am insured!" The attitude of some inspectors was very alarming and unbelievable.

    Any client of mine who called me with an issue, concern or question is always dealt with ASAP! Its amazing simply by calling back or going back to the house has resolved the matter without me ever having to return the fee or make some form of compensation, with the above noted exception.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Yes I was sued back in 94, for a latent defect.
    Sorry to hear that
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Hung out to dry by the insurers.
    No surprise, in fact, that's to be expected.
    Insurance companies are not your buddy they would have you believe

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Scott that is interesting about dealing with complaints. When I was discipline chair of OAHI one thing that repeatedly cropped up was inspectors refusing to acknowledge complaints, re-attend property, or tell the client 'sue me I am insured!"
    Good points

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The attitude of some inspectors was very alarming and unbelievable.
    Pride and ignorance are the downfall of many

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Any client of mine who called me with an issue, concern or question is always dealt with ASAP! Its amazing simply by calling back or going back to the house has resolved the matter without me ever having to return the fee or make some form of compensation, with the above noted exception.
    That's good
    Handle it quick, be fair (even generous), get it behind you and move on.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post

    Pride and ignorance are the downfall of many
    Watch it Sucker!!

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  45. #45
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Yes I was sued back in 94, for a latent defect. Hung out to dry by the insurers. Former owners actively hid a foundation wall issue, no building permit. No access to crawlspace, no visible defects visible.

    I worry about every inspection I complete. Should I have said something differently, called something out, not call something out, should I have delved deeper into a finding... I am not infallible.

    Scott that is interesting about dealing with complaints. When I was discipline chair of OAHI one thing that repeatedly cropped up was inspectors refusing to acknowledge complaints, re-attend property, or tell the client 'sue me I am insured!" The attitude of some inspectors was very alarming and unbelievable.

    Any client of mine who called me with an issue, concern or question is always dealt with ASAP! Its amazing simply by calling back or going back to the house has resolved the matter without me ever having to return the fee or make some form of compensation, with the above noted exception.

    Sounds like you are very careful based on past experience. You probably were before. There's nothing to keep a crappy lawyer from suing you, sorry. We have a split practice here, probably 60 percent defense. What we always tell our defense clients is that there's no one standing on the courthouse steps reviewing the complaints that roll in saying "you can file this one, you can't file that one." Anyone with $140 for the filing fee can bring a lawsuit. It's up to your lawyer to make them prove their case, and when you get sued, whether you did something wrong or not, you deserve a good one.


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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    CJ

    The problem as I saw it was the lawyer appointed by my insurer was a dufus, told me he was going to defend me at all costs. He never said a word during discovery. Even the insurance adjuster agreed that the issue was latent and not discoverable since it was hidden by the vendor. In the end the matter was settled out of court post discovery for $22K.


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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    ........

    I had a Harvard educated lawyer who is also a professor of law at Harvard who bought a country property up here and he read my contract and agreed with its provisions. Good enough for me and it didn't cost me a dime for his review. As a matter of fact he paid me.


    Don't pat your back to hard. Lets look at this in a different light.

    He read and signed your contract knowing where he could take you to the cleaners if he should so choose. As an attorney he was not going to help you prevent him from future recourse by correcting what you offered to him. The best contract is one that protects one party over another. You just want to be the one with the most protection.

    Attorneys are adversarial by training.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    CJ

    The problem as I saw it was the lawyer appointed by my insurer was a dufus, told me he was going to defend me at all costs. He never said a word during discovery. Even the insurance adjuster agreed that the issue was latent and not discoverable since it was hidden by the vendor. In the end the matter was settled out of court post discovery for $22K.

    "...he was going to defend me at all costs. ..." so long as it was less than $22K as set by insurance company. Did your attorney look like Tom Cruze (as a retired Navy JAG).... ga zing


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Law Firm Specializes in Home Inspector Negligence

    No he did not look like TC, he looked more like 200 lbs of crap stuffed into a 10 pound bag.


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