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  1. #1
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    Default Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    One of our inspectors performed a new construction condo inspection and a day or two later the sliding glass patio door fell on the owner while she was operating it. We were named in the resulting lawsuit after the G.C. and the painting contractor. According to the suit it appeared that the painting contractor's painter/s removed the door from the track, painted it, and put it back. Whether this happened before or after our inspection I do not know.

    In any event, after some hesitation on the part of of our E and O carrier and with the prodding of our E and O broker Elite MGA and Ben Garrison, our coverage kicked in and the our involvement in the suit was dismissed summarily due to the existing case law in IL which limits the inspector's liability to the amount of the inspection fee. We ended up being on the hook for our deductible ($2500) and the inspection fee ($495) but as you all know, it coulda been a whole lot worse.

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    Dan Cullen
    www.domicileconsulting.com
    Chicago IL

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Glad it worked out for you! And that is the beauty and reason that you should have E&O coverage. E&O is not to protect the client, it is to protect you and your company. Contrary to popular belief the insurance companies just do not rollover and payout like they use to do.. They try to limit the loss for the client and yes, themselves.

    Most of the time they will hire another inspector(expert witness/litigation consultant) to review the case, the documents, and many times even perform a site visit to give the insurance company a better idea if the inspector really did screw-up, is it a partial screw-up or did the inspector do nothing wrong and the client is trying to milk them for money.

    E&O has improved tremendously from what it was 5-7 years ago, they now try to get you out of the issue if possible..

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    I'm very surprised that there would be case law limited a home inspector's liability to the fee. If that is valid, then it seems a shame to have to pay $2500 deductible. Of course, attorney's fees would likely be much higher.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    2014 IL Appeal Court (1st) 131814-U Illinois

    Upheld Limitation of Liability

    http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/R23_Or...131814_R23.pdf
    Paragraph 27


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Glad to hear your company was not at fault by why were you on the hook for your inspection fee?

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    DAN--ten minutes after your praise for the internachi online training in A thread and the inspectors you were proud of or trained- " WHAT IS THE COST OF"-- you open this thread about how it cost you $3000 because of the sliding door---WOW that's bad advertising--- cvf


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    DAN--ten minutes after your praise for the internachi online training in A thread and the inspectors you were proud of or trained- " WHAT IS THE COST OF"-- you open this thread about how it cost you $3000 because of the sliding door---WOW that's bad advertising--- cvf
    I'm not following your logic Charlie. In the first place, there is no connection between the threads/posts. Secondly, who is advertising here? Not I.

    Dan Cullen
    www.domicileconsulting.com
    Chicago IL

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    dan--see your post #38 0n thread what will it cost--you got nailed for something--and didn't fight it--suspect training-I have never had that happen--that is what I am saying--cvf


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    dan--see your post #38 0n thread what will it cost--you got nailed for something--and didn't fight it--suspect training-I have never had that happen--that is what I am saying--cvf
    Your silly remarks don't warrant further reply. Bless your little heart!

    Dan Cullen
    www.domicileconsulting.com
    Chicago IL

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Dan,

    Do you have an arbitration clause in your contract? Many times in these lawsuit cases you can be dismissed because the client jumps to the lawsuit phase without respect to the contract. We also have a clause that allows us to re-inspect any disputed items. If they don't call us, we are out.

    I know the group will say the various clauses will get batted away but they are all speed bumps that will give litigious clients pause.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I'm very surprised that there would be case law limited a home inspector's liability to the fee.
    I concur.

    Typically, usually home inspectors PIA's were frowned and thought to be missing consumers when limiting damages to the inspection fee.
    May be more there than meets the eye.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    If that is valid, then it seems a shame to have to pay $2500 deductible. Of course, attorney's fees would likely be much higher.
    Not so. I have retained the legal counsel from (Joe) Joseph Ferry, Claims Intercept, for over 2 years now. He is now full time in INACHI. I forget his position within the association. I think he is legal adviser but do not quote me on that.
    Lawyer Marc Cohen's name appears in most of the recent literature.

    IMO, the plaintiff and their attorney would be chasing feathers in a hurricane and not have a leg to stand on.
    If you inspected and operated the door successfully then you did you due diligence.
    During my inspection assessment I look at the fasteners, including are they perpendicular the frame, operate the door in both direction, see if it closes well and locks successfully.
    That is all you can do.
    What happened after the inspection is not caused by you.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Re-reading Dan's original post in which he stated;
    According to the suit it appeared that the painting contractor's painter/s removed the door from the track, painted it, and put it back. Whether this happened before or after our inspection I do not know.
    Lawyers using the shot-gun approach. Name anyone who could have possibly had a hand in the door falling out. Legal shake down - see who'll cough up money without a fight for those that truly did not act negligently. Pre-court settlement, or call it what you want. Insurers will take the route of least resistance and cost.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    According to the suit it appeared that the painting contractor's painter/s removed the door from the track, painted it, and put it back. Whether this happened before or after our inspection I do not know.
    The deposition of the owner is held and the owner is asked when the door was repainted, by whom, when, copies of contract/order, payments, receipts, etc. That establishes the time frame of when the door was removed for repainting - before or after the inspection and either Dan is off the hook or not.

    Regardless, sounds like it was not Dan's inspectors fault as the door may have been removed before the inspection yet operated properly during the inspection, then finished dislodging itself from being improperly re-installed at a later date - the fault is the person(s) who removed the door and reinstalled it, not the person who did, or did not, operate the door.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Re-reading Dan's original post in which he stated;

    Lawyers using the shot-gun approach. Name anyone who could have possibly had a hand in the door falling out. Legal shake down - see who'll cough up money without a fight for those that truly did not act negligently. Pre-court settlement, or call it what you want. Insurers will take the route of least resistance and cost.
    I concur. Typical approach.

    What would you have done?

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Robert

    One does not have much choice. Bite the bullet and defend.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Robert

    One does not have much choice. Bite the bullet and defend.
    Yes defend.
    From what I understand by going to your insurer to act as your defense or stand ground can be costly, arbitration is admittance with untrained third parties dicing up the financial costs, I choose hiring a counsel and defense.

    Thanks for the case link.
    Good read!

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Near Miss on our First Ever Lawsuit

    Too many horror stories about arbitration for my liking. I'll take my chances in a court of law.


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