I have been taken to small claims court by a client that I did (2) years ago. The allegation is that I missed seeing some Racoon fecal material in the attic which resulted in a Racoon chewing ductwork. I have an agreement signed by the client. Do I have a chance in court? any advice would be appreciated…
Are you an expert on fecal matter Michael? Or Raccoons for that matter?
I do not see how Raccoon damage 2 years after the fact is your fault, but in a court or law you never know what will happen.
Perhaps speaking with an Attorney is in order.
If you are a corporation, you will need an attorney to represent your company in court, even if it is small claims.
If not…and if you have a disclaimer in your report regarding pests/insects/mold, etc…present it to the court along with photos you have of the attic that does NOT show raccoon crap. After presenting your photos and entering the date they were taken into evidence, require the plaintiff to prove that the fecal material found was present on the day of the inspection. This should be very difficult for the plaintiff to do…since they are alleging that they bought the house without this knowledge.
Depends on your report and any pictures that may exist. It sounds like to me the client is reaching. I think they would have an uphill battle in proving that the critter in question was even present on or prior to the date you did the inspection.
In small claims court its basically they tell their story and you tell yours…the judge (or magistrate) often tries to find middle ground when its a close call…other times they simply put the burden of proof on the plaintiff.
If you haven’t done so already, I would familiarize yourself with raccoon fecal matter so that you can positively state that no such matter existed on the day in question nor was Rocky the Raccoon present when you did your inspection.
Immediately file a counter suit for the maximum the court will allow.
Scratch that. Call me on my private cell tomorrow: 720 272 8578.
I’ll fund a huge counter suit against them (I can think of all sorts of grounds). We’ll get it up into a real court and bury them in legal costs. I’ll personally pay for everything. A 2 year old inspection complaint over Racoon poop is about to destroy them for life. Unchain me.
Rub their noses in it, Nick.
So, if the Racoon fecal matter had not been there (or you had seen it), the Racoon would NOT have chewed the duct??? :p;-)
IMO, they should have to prove that the fecal matter did exist (two years ago) AND that it came from a Racoon AND that the same Racoon that crapped in the attic was the same Racoon that ate the duct.
FYI I’m not a lawyer, it’s possible that the above could be the worst legal advice ever.
Call Nick and keep us posted.
Were they stupid enough to slander you to their agent, who in turn, likely told other agents, thus forever “poisoning your well” (ruining your local market for you) with a false rumor?
The amount of the counter suit should be in the millions of dollars and their legal fees to defend it will likely exceed several hundred thousand dollars.
Call my cell tomorrow.
This should be good. Keep us updated.:shock:
Thanks for everyone’s advice.
Nick, I appreciate your willingness and generosity to help me, I will call you in the a.m. My pre-trial conference is at 0830 tomorrow.
I will keep on this one it should be intereasting to say the least.
it is hard to say if they have damaged my reputation, the exact claim that she wrote on the subpoena says… The inspector failed to find Racoon fecal droppings in attic. I know that the standards of practice do not require me to report that. I also offered to give them back their money. Also, they have signed the NACHI agreement of limited liability.
Boy, talk about you LAME court cases. Do you inspect for roach crap, fly eggs or fecal matter. What happens if an ant pisses on the drywall? Will that cause MOLD? YOU MISSED the piss ant MOLD in my HOUSE? I’m going to SUE too!
What a bunch of crap!
Ditto that. Would make a great NACHI.TV reality show;-)
Great to see someone stick up for the little guy! Where else would we get this kind of service?
Due to the economy, attorneys are hurting for income, too. Be careful out there. They are taking cases that they would normally laugh at. Set the date to “on” on your camera, and take pictures of everything, good and bad. Nick, you may need to change the inspection agreements to include vermin. Always something. I bet the RE also was advising the buyer to get money from the inspector. Be cautious of RE’s also. They will do and say anything to sell a property.
Just a bit of information; in Florida this is under the heading of Pest control and like termite, unless you are licensed, certified, trained and half a dozen other criteria, you as the home inspector are not even suppose to say “poop” be cause you are not “qualified” in the eyes of the State of Florida, so you should NOT have made any comments regarding said poop. If the home had a pest control inspection as is required and the poop was there the pest inspector should have “picked up it” so to speak.
Perhaps one day I will be sued for sneezing during an inspection, causing sickness to the home owner, their families, the buyer, and the agent, all who got sick within 12 months of the inspection; also doctor bills, hospital stays, and any future health care claims. Also the furniture was found to be damaged and stained by “moisture” from the sneeze, and has to be all replaced. The sneeze also cause mental cruelty and anxiety to the residence cat, dog, and hamster, due to the loud noise the sneeze created. The inspector was negligent due to lack of, or non-use of, Kleenex.
Careful what you wish for! LOL