I wanted to let you all know that I finally won an eight year court battle from an inspection performed in 2005.
Some of you may remember my company, Gold Coast Inspection. I created and built this company, just like you all, out of nothing. Went to school, was certified and was a member of NACHI for years.
During the course of the summer of 2005, I conducted an inspection where there was serious damage to the roof system. These defects were cited on the report and was delivered to the buyer. Roughly 2 years after the inspection, I received a summons with a civil complaint attached.
The buyer closed on the property without adhering to the recommendations the property should be evaluated by a roofer and mold tested. The buyer closed and had to remediate the property costing over $60,000.
After 8 years of bull****, I finally had my day in court last week. Two days of trial in Palm Beach, expert witnesses, interrogatories… et al. I got the Final Judgment yesterday and I was victorious.
The reason for the post… be careful. Even with air-tight inspection agreements, anyone can sue anyone for anything in Florida. And, these types of cases make it through the test of a Motion to Dismiss. The burden of proof falls on the shoulders of the Plaintiff, but there is a minimal bar to get a complaint past the dismissal stage.
What this means, E & O only covers so much. And when the premiss for the case in fraudulent inducement and misrepresentation, there is not much or an E & O carrier to look at. Why? Because the allegation is not performance related. Rather, the case was based on individual action and not whether there was a mistake on the report or its findings.
What happened to my company and I? Well, this particular case involved Coldwell Banker RE… my biggest client at the time. I had (3) offices and the bulk of their volume agents used me specifically. Immediately following the filing, I was banned from the offices. Marketing materials removed, no vendor invites and no return calls when trying to address it. I don’t blame them, as it is a clear conflict of interest in maintaining the relationship. But, my point is that one thing like this can ruin your business. Coldwell Banker respresented roughly 65% of my business… then the valve was turned off.
This litigation cost me my company, drove me in to debt, ruined my credit profile and my home is being auctioned July 11,2013.
I remember when I first posted about this in 2008, while I was an active NACHI member, and there were responses posted implying that I must have done something wrong or was at fault.
I am here to tell you all, it doesn’t matter. You can be the best at what you do to have it all take away. Why, because you can sue a ham sandwich in this state. It cost me over $25,000 to defend this case plus my way of life. All because a fellow consumer thought they had been done wrong.
My point, dot your i’s, cross your t’s, fully report and attend as many education opportunities as possible. Because you don’t have to screw up to loose it all.
For my future, I was licensed as a real estate agent in 2011, doing fantastic, was awarded into the President’s Club and I don’t miss climbing through attics in Miami in August.
I hope all is well within my former inspection community and keep your heads under the radar and I sincerely with you all great success.