For years Homesafe Inspection, Inc. sent letters to home inspectors claiming it owned the exclusive right to use infrared technology in home inspections. In 2013, when InterNACHI learned that Homesafe had sued an InterNACHI member, InterNACHI immediately reached out to Homesafe and negotiated an agreement that protected all InterNACHI members.
In 2015, Homesafe sued InterNACHI in a Mississippi state court, claiming InterNACHI had breached the agreement. InterNACHI denied Homesafe’s allegations and demanded a jury trial. The trial will take place in November.
The Court Rules InterNACHI Can Sue Homesafe for Fraud
After InterNACHI and Homesafe exchanged documents, InterNACHI asked the court to allow it to file a counterclaim against Homesafe for fraudulent misrepresentation. InterNACHI claimed Homesafe misrepresented the scope of its patents by falsely claiming it owned the exclusive right to use IR technology in home inspections. The Court granted InterNACHI’s motion asking permission to file a counterclaim based on fraud.
**The Court Rules InterNACHI Can Sue Homesafe’s President for Fraud **
InterNACHI also asked the court for permission to sue Homesafe’s President, Kevin Seddon, in his personal capacity for fraudulently misrepresenting the scope of Homesafe’s patents to induce InterNACHI to enter into the agreement. The Court granted InterNACHI’s request to sue Mr. Seddon personally.
The Court Warns Homesafe to Answer Questions
Recently, the court warned Homesafe and Seddon concerning their refusal to answer deposition questions posed by InterNACHI’s General Counsel, Mark Cohen, concerning the extent of Homesafe’s claimed rights in infrared technology.
Cohen and InterNACHI’s Founder, Nick Gromicko, spent four days in Mississippi for depositions arising out of Homesafe’s suit against InterNACHI. Mr. Gromicko answered all questions Homesafe’s lawyers put to him.
However, the next day, when Cohen questioned Seddon about just exactly what rights Homesafe claims to own pertaining to IR technology, Seddon refused to answer. Cohen then suspended the deposition and eight people waited one hour while InterNACHI’s local counsel, Larry Little, attempted to get the judge on the phone.
The judge was in the middle of a jury trial, but graciously took time to have a conference call with the attorneys at his first opportunity. After hearing argument from both sides, the court agreed that Cohen’s questions seemed relevant and warned Homesafe, Seddon, and their lawyers that if the court later determined that Seddon’s refusal to answer was wrongful, the court would order Homesafe and Seddon to pay all of InterNACHI’s costs and attorney’s fees to return to Mississippi to continue the deposition. The lawyers for Homesafe and Seddon then agreed to allow Seddon to answer Cohen’s questions, but only if InterNACHI agreed that the deposition would be sealed so the public could not see Seddon’ answers. Rather than waste everyone’s time and money, InterNACHI agreed to the gag order demanded by Homesafe and Seddon.
Because of the gag order Homesafe and Seddon insisted on as a condition of answering questions, InterNACHI cannot now reveal Seddon’s testimony. However, InterNACHI intends to file a motion to unseal relevant portions of the deposition so InterNACHI’s 15,000 + members, and all other home inspectors around the world, can see Seddon’s answers to InterNACHI’s questions, which are of interest to all home inspectors due to Homesafe’s longstanding pattern of threatening to sue home inspectors for using any form of IR technology.
What To Do in the Meantime
If you signed a licensing agreement with Homesafe, or if Homesafe threatened to sue you, please call InterNACHI’s General Counsel, Mark Cohen, immediately at (303) 638-3410 or email him at email@example.com. InterNACHI will help any member Homesafe sues.
After reviewing Homesafe’s patents and consulting with experts, InterNACHI is confident Homesafe does NOT own the exclusive right to IR technology in home inspections. In fact, InterNACHI’s expert, Jim Seffrin of the Infraspection Institute, states Homesafe’s patents are neither reflective of accepted industry practice or published standards that have been in place for several years.
InterNACHI will keep its members informed of developments in the case, subject to the gag order Homesafe and Seddon demanded as a condition of answering InterNACHI’s questions.