Houston Inspection Lawsuit

Have you seen this $750,000 lawsuit filed in Houston in June by a Seller, who is also an attorney, against Fox Inspection Group.

1.Go to http://www.hcdistrictclerk.com/eDocs/Public/Search.aspx

2.Search for Case # 200940162

3.Select the Maze –vs- FIG suit

4.Select Documents

5.Towards the end of the list the 45 page document on 6/25/09 is the inspection report.

6.The 8 page document just above it is the original complaint.

7.You can view these doc’s on-line but cannot print or save without paying a fee.

  The suit probably won’t go to trial until next summer and the results could be huge.

Wow. Interesting read for sure Mike. The middle part of that 132 page document lists the defects observed, the seller’s observations and remedies taken. Interestingly enough, the seller states that because the inspector was not an engineer, his opinion was worthless. However, as an attorney, he was qualified to determine numerous times that: items were installed per existing code, that no repair was needed, or that he could adequately make the repair himself. He’s a jack a** of all trades. :slight_smile:

Yeah, this is looking much like the crap John O had to deal with a while back. At least his never made it to the lawsuit stage.

I now have a pdf copy of the suit and the inspection report. I’ll upload it to my DivShare account and place link here soon. That way folks won’t have to go digging for the information.

BTW…good to hear from you!

OK, here’s the file. The first 8 pages are the Complaint and pages 9 thru 52 are the inspection report.

Aside from some phrasing I would stay away from, I thought it was a pretty darn good report, although a little long for my liking. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess.

Why are you in a dress in your avatar Mike? Tech lost.

Yeah but I gave Onofrey 12 points and UT only won by 10. Arghh!

What total BS. It’s amazing what people think they can sue for. I’m sure Gordon will do fine and the sellers will have to pay attorney fee’s.

It looks to me like they are suing for $250,000 or $10,000. It’s not $750,000 (not that that’s the big issue). The stupid part is that they are saying that the report will affect the future sale value. Now, how would that be possible since the report is only between the buyer and seller? Future buyers wouldn’t see the same report. Lame!

Well, the source I received this from said $750,000, another inspector I sent it to totaled up $1,000,000. Personally, I think the suit is for $250,000 since the other values are prefaced with “Alternately”. Therefore, I don’t think they are cumulative.

Not necessarily, the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) publishes a variation of the required Seller’s Disclosure document that requires any inspection report the Seller has received for any reason in the last couple of years to be attached to the Disclosure. That’s one reason Sellers and Seller’s agents never want a copy of the report. Strangely, the promulgated TREC Disclosure form does not require that.

Like you stated, it’s “Alternately.” They are stating 3 reasons could be owed money , two are for $250k, the last is for $10k which is saying the value of the house has decreased by $10k. I wonder if Gordon would own the house if he lost the $250k suit!

Did not know about that TAR requirement. I guess I could see how that would be considered full disclosure since it’s knowledge the seller has but still seems pretty crazy!

The report is a good one but way too much information for my taste. I am a big believer in keeping verbiage down to a minimum. What is it? Where is it? Give a recommendation. I think some inspectors fall into this trap thinking they have to be encyclopedia’s for their clients. Too much information will get you into trouble.

I saw several instances of referencing code which were not necessary.

Perhaps listing everyone’s license in your organization on individual inspection reports is a bad idea. I think this could be construed as misleading. There are 16 professional licenses listed on this report along with other licenses for code certs, etc… This could be trouble for the defendant.

That being said, the house is a typical, older, and poorly maintained structure found in this area. The kind of home that has so many discrepancies it’ll give you writers cramp just trying to keep the report short and sweet. The kind of home you really need to CYA on. I am sure the buyer was satisfied with the bargained for report.

IMO the Plaintiff received a more than reasonable request from the buyer to adjust the contract 10k. There is way more than 10k worth of deficiencies indicated in the inspection report. The Plaintiff is a Jack@ss and should have done the deal. Instead, they choose to sue the buyers inspector when he did a perfectly respectable job!?! That’s total BS!

I certainly hope justice prevails here and FIG is exonerated and they counter sue the b@stard.

Any word on whether the Plantiff has filed a TREC complaint? It would surely suck to have to admit to negligence and get fined by TREC for some insignificant anomaly in the report prior to going to court.

On that note. I often think about our lack of protection from sellers. We are in their homes without even the first line of defense such as an agreement with them. There should be some protection from buyers for inspectors written into the law. Is there any?

A good point. You could surely cut your loss by offering to buy the home if the Plaintiff drop his case. Something worth considering. After all, it’s already been inspected.:smiley:

Any guesses on what the seller’s disclosure looked like for this POS?

It was in that huge 132 page doc. I could only see 3 handwritten lines but could not make them out.
Like all the disclosure’s I see around here and all 1970’s POS, “remodeled kitchen and baths in 2007…” Nothing about the water stains in every room’s ceiling, or how the siding looks like chewed cardboard. And as any seller will tell me, “It’s in great shape, nothing going on here…” When I hear something like that, I know I’m going to be up all night. :wink:

Ya, “remodeled” on this type of home means the repairs need repairs.:smiley:

That is why I have this in my agreement.

The Inspection and report are performed and prepared for the sole and exclusive use and possession of the Client. No other person or entity may rely on the report issued pursuant to this Agreement. In the event that any person, not a party to this Agreement, makes any claim against
Inspector, its employees or agents, arising out of the services performed by Inspector under this Agreement, the Client agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Inspector from any and all damages, expenses, costs and attorney fees arising from such a claim

I have same/similar.

Curious as to how it would apply here?

Do you then sue your client or ask him to pay your legal bills?

Page 7 of the original petition asks for a total of a million. :-({|=

IMHO getting the client to indemnify you against claims by a third party is unenforceable. Client has no control over what some stranger does, and cannot reasonably be expected to protect you.

Can inspector use E&O for this? Complainant is not the client.

Anybody know if there is a “3 year” life to T&P valves and where that all got started?? May take it out of my reports.

George S.
TREC 2212

George…here is a screen snip of the installation instructions for a Watts 10XL TPRV. It’s what I used to justify my standard comment regarding TPRV’s needing to be inspected every three years by a licensed plumber…not that they have a three year life though.

And the cost to remove and inspect exceeds the cost to replace.

OK Mike, with that it looks like you’re going to be dragged into this mess…:):):slight_smile: Expect a subpoena at any moment…

Thanks for the reference. Now have to craft some kind of language that valve has likely not been examined for three years blah blah blah. Jeez-louise.

George S.