Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jim Baird

demand for documents

Recommended Posts

Letter from defendant lawyer in a suit related to my inspection of a dwelling demands "all documents, photos, etc".  I am about to call them and inform them that my report stands alone as any documents I issue.  They want me to have a notary sign off on my affirmation of my report as mine.

Comments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my experience is limited w/legal threats; so to speak

i contacted my atty$ & e$o

they said never have any unwritten communication with parties not my client & to have those demanding confidential docs to contact them

never heard any further

 

 

Edited by BADAIR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're not the defendant, a call to the lawyer easily turns into being retained as an expert witness. 

If they don't need an expert, documents only get handed over by subpoena.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Jim Baird said:

Letter from defendant lawyer in a suit related to my inspection of a dwelling demands "all documents, photos, etc".  I am about to call them and inform them that my report stands alone as any documents I issue.  They want me to have a notary sign off on my affirmation of my report as mine.

Comments?

Letter? No. 

Subpoena? Yes. 

We just had one where the plaintiffs subpoena'd *all* of our records, then a few months later the defendants did the same. Sheesh! We send each one several pounds of paper. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, they can talk to your lawyer, not to you directly.

Give them no ammo, and collect as much paper and pictures on your side as possible.

They have your report, and that is all you were required to hand to your client. Even if subpoenaed, let the lawyers do the talking. 

The contract that your client signed before the inspection is your most important document. Keep the original. If this goes to a hearing, then you may be exchanging paperwork.

Stick to your guns, you did your job to the best of your ability. Client agreed to the terms. Good luck.

 

Edited by John Kogel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.  I have not talked to my client yet, and I have about 30 days to answer defendant lawyer "request".  Lawyer letters can make a request sound like a demand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best to not talk to the client. He has chosen this route, so he is no longer on your side of the fence.

He can talk to your lawyer and if you don't have one, get one to write a letter on his company letterhead.

But have you offered a return of the inspection fee? That is one way to back away without any admission of guilt. In fact, include that with your offer, "This is not an admission of any wrongdoing, error or omission in the inspection and/or in the report". Just good business practice to snuff this in the bud.

At the hearing, if there is one, offer to return the inspection fee once more, as offered in the contract if it is. This will be looked on favorably by the judge if it gets to that. You are meeting all terms of the contract as it applies to you. If the client accepts the fee, he first signs a release form, notarized or witnessed, that clears you and your company of any further legal action.

At the hearing if client has a lawyer with him, he'll bluster and turn down the offer again, which he'd now be splitting with the lawyer anyways. Then no more Mr. Niceguy at that point and no more offers of cash back. Choose character witnesses and/or expert witnesses. But you want a fast moving defense because no judge wants to see this drag on for hours or days. Show that you met the terms of the contract with the report and pictures as proof. Keep the judge on your side, the side of the qualified professional, wrongfully accused. Wear a suit, stand and refer to him/her as 'Your Honor', and ask permission to speak, none of this jumping up and blurting objections that you see on TV.

Good luck, Jim.

 

Edited by John Kogel
Advice is free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Bill.

So Jim, an old report of yours will be used to sue another inspector for his more recent inspection?

I don't know where I'd stand in that situation. There's the passage of time and all kinds of unknowns, And on the other hand, time would not alter some defects, other than making them more obvious and worse.

I don't need to tell you there's ethical questions here, too. You could claim client confidentiality and back away. Or as Bill suggests, enter into the fray as an expert witness, but with one difference, as a previous inspector of that same residence.

Still some days left to mull it over. Cheers.

Footnote, more Free Legal advice: If you don't have a go-to legal beagle, get one, pay him to check over contracts, etc., now he knows you and can be asked to write letters for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, John Kogel said:

Thanks, Bill.

So Jim, an old report of yours will be used to sue another inspector for his more recent inspection?

 

Not necessarily. 

I don't know what's happening in Jim B's case, but in my company's case, the homeowner, who bought our inspection service, was suing a subsequent contractor who did work on the house. They allege bad workmanship. The contractor, on the other hand, alleges that the damage that they're suing for pre-existed. Both sides subpoenaed our report and *all* related documentation, including ISN records, emails, any existing notes, etc, etc, hoping to help prove their case. So far no one has called to ask us for expert witness work - which suggests that neither side found what they were looking for in our records. 

So far, we're just out several reams of paper, for which each side paid us $30. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.

I inspected a home after a contractor referred me.  He found weird stuff and advised she have me look.  

Evidence revealed by contractor showed serious effort to conceal structural problems.  Another inspector preceded me but I did not see his report.  An engineer followed me to prescribe a fixit, so I likely am only a choir member.

My client has not answered me but I am giving it some days.

Edited by Jim Baird

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jim Baird said:

Thanks for the replies.

I inspected a home after a contractor referred me.  He found weird stuff and advised she have me look.  

Evidence revealed by contractor showed serious effort to conceal structural problems.  Another inspector preceded me but I did not see his report.  An engineer followed me to prescribe a fixit, so I likely am only a choir member.

My client has not answered me but I am giving it some days.

With that information, I advise giving no documents or even have any communication with the defendants lawyer.

Any documents must be obtained by subpoena or a motion to compel discovery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...