×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Jobs

Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

(OP)
I did a structural inspection of a residential home recently. I created a report stating observations, conclusions and recommendations.
The prospective buyer was my client. The buyer used the report as leverage to try to barter the seller down on price. The seller refused
so the sale fell through.

The seller then calls me (my client sent him my report with my contact info on it) and basically rips all of his frustration out on me and threatens to sue me for swaying the sale with my report.


My report was the typical 'facts only' report, and I'm happy to stand on it in a court of law, as I write all my reports with that thought in mind.
I realize that you are not lawyers (thank goodness) but just curious if this has happened to anyone else before, and how that panned out etc.
and what your take is on the risk associated with this (sale falling through and then suddenly becoming the 'target' of someone's wrath) and home inspections.

Thanks in advance

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

No direct experience with this, but I always assumed this was the reason why the 'Disclaimers' section of a home inspection report is always longer than the 'Findings' section.

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

The seller is just blowing hot air. When he calms down, he will realise he will be throwing good money after bad if he sues.

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

Agree with hokie66 and JAE. A lawsuit has to have a reasonable basis. If you stuck to the facts and made a reasonable interpretation of those facts in your recommendations, don't worry about it.

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

I've seen engineers sued on home inspections but only for items that were unobservable and found after the fact. In this case the contract language got this thrown out early on on two counts; clause about scope of inspection limited to observable items only and clause limiting damages to fee paid. Engineer refunded fee and the case never went to court. The owner did end up getting a letter of guidance issued to the engineer from the state board stating that home inspections were not "engineering". Longer story about that (it was BS) but the whole experience led me to believe that there isn't enough money in home inspections to justify it.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanConcrete/

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

Just in case the fit hits the shan, make sure you've put the photos, notes and all other documentation of your findings on this on in a protected and backed up storage.
While arranging this, of course, make sure that all of your documents, photos, etc. ever taken are also in this protected storage, for the same reason!

STF

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

He probably wouldn't fare well anyways, but depending on your state it may not even be technically possible for the seller to sue you since you have no contractual relationship. They'd have to go after the buyer for dropping out due to a (in their opinion) crappy inspection and then buyer would have to go after you for damages.

Of course not all judges abide by that.

RE: Home Inspection Transitioning to Lawsuit

I do these "inspections" quite often but I never call them inspections. Yes you are a licensed engineer but you are not doing actual design work or inspecting work that has been designed and constructed to code. You are giving them your professional opinion to the best of your knowledge and belief based on your observations only.

I had A very similar situation where I represented the buyer and he walked after I did my observations and report. The seller and his broker called me all pissed off saying the house is 100 years old and is still standing so it's fine. I first asked if they read my report then I asked them why the covered up all the large cracks and removed all the doors. I'm pretty sure they knew there was major foundation issues but they were pissed the deal fell through and were taking it out on me.

Just make sure you have all the standard clauses in your agreement/report and you should be fine.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Resources

Overcoming Cutting Tool Challenges in Aerospace Machining
Aerospace manufacturing has always been on the cutting edge, from materials to production techniques. However, these two aspects of aerospace machining can conflict, as manufacturers strive to maintain machining efficiency with new materials by using new methods and cutting tools. Download Now
3D Scanning in the Automotive Industry
With over 100 years of production history, the automotive industry has been at the forefront of manufacturing technology since its inception. Whether the transformative technology of the day was the assembly line, the integration of robotics into the manufacturing process, or the switch from steel to aluminum frame chasses, the automotive industry has consistently implemented advanced technology into its manufacturing and production workflow to improve manufacturing and product performance. Today, the same is true. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close