I just got a letter from an attorney within my area. They want ALL items dealing with an inspection that I did about 6 months ago. They are suing one of the inspection companies in my area. The inspector called the house comprised of CBS when actually it was a wood framed house with extensive damage to the interior of the residence. There were many tell tale signs and if he had a thermal infrared it would have been plain as day. They are suing him because he said the house was built as a CBS house. What if I don’t want to testify against the guy? What if I "forget’ what happened and just refer them to the report and tell them everything is in the report. I don’t agree with incompetence, but I just don’t want to get involved. Do I have to? I have so much more to do with my time.
If they subpoena you, you may have no choice. Why not use it as a learning experience for expert witness testimony. Just don’t forget to get paid for it. By the way, you stated that if he had infrared he would have seen certain things. What would he have seen? Infrared is not in anyones SOP at this time. Why would that topic even come up? What type of extensive damage what there?
The walls were totally wood rotted from water intrusion. They guys missed it and I have no idea why. When I used the thermal infrared camera it showed up quite obviously. From what I hear the guy is not a bad inspector, must of just been pre-occupied or something. I know its not in an SOP, but I bet right now he wishes it was.
Expert witness, he had better have one heck of a background of experience. If he “found things” via infrared, or states that that technology would have revealed it, he had best be able to PROVE his opinion.
No atrorney will subponea that which will not enhance his case, therefore there must be more to this than advertised.
At this point; Engage thy mind, before your engage thy mouth.
Above all, you have a duty to maintain fidelity to your client. The report is your client’s property. Tell the attorney that you are prohibited to issue the report. Moreover, you should not as much as discuss the inspection with him. Should you client request that you do so, your SOP probably permits it, but does not require it.
Now, if you client asks for your cooperation, you have a choice to make. If you what to help them, arrange a fee schedule for your time. Be careful!! many lawyers will bawk if you try to invoice for your time while sitting outside the courtroom and try to get away with paying only for the time you’re on the stand. Consider setting flat rates for 4 hour blocks of time.
I turn these things down all the time. When I was younger, I thought it really made me a big shot to be a pro-witness. In the end, I’ve found it to be nothing but a pain in the **. I also object to participating in the frivolous lawsuit Bulls that plagues our industry.
Since you’re already involved, you may not have a choice. If you don’t get them to agree to a fair pay rate, the courts might just subpoena you and you may not be paid a dime.
As far as the IR is concerned, please remember that it is NOT required by any of the SOP’s. You keep saying that you “don’t know how he missed it…” Make sure you are not holding the guy to an unfair standard. We get hammered by this crap all the time… from scores of pro’s who have the opportunity to inspect with specificity, specialized tools, and carte blanch from the client.
If you are 100% sure that this defect was detectable without IR and, was detectable under the conditions at the time of the inspection (furniture, dryspell, whatever) then you might consider helping the industry by assisting with the case. If you are not 100%, then I feel you’d be disserving the industry.