One reads a lot of news stories nowadays about people who engage in so-called “self-destructive” behavior. I’m prone to feel sorry for these folks who can’t seem to help themselves, providing that the destructive behavior is self-confined, as well.

Unfortunately, that is rarely the case and the self-destructive behavior invariably causes collateral damage to other innocent bystanders.

I sometimes see home inspection claimants engaging in self-destructive behavior when they allow their perhaps understandable annoyance at the development of some unexpected problem with one of the systems in their new residence to morph into a full-throated and completely unwarranted attack on their home inspector’s level of professionalism.

A home inspector that I have known for several years recently contacted me for help in dealing with an unhappy client who was absolutely convinced that the inspector had failed to properly inspect the roof of his house because some five months after the inspection some leaks developed that will require the replacement of the entire roof.

Where do you suppose he got that idea?

Yes. The friendly local roofer told him so and this knucklehead has so thoroughly embraced the idea that even Force Ten levels of logic can not dispel it.

As it happens, the area has received an extraordinary amount of rain this past year: 62 inches, 31 of which fell subsequent to the inspection. At the time of the inspection, the inspector walked the roof and saw nothing untoward. Photos show a roof, believed to be 8 or 9 years old, in excellent condition, and there were no signs of water intrusion anywhere. Had there been any issue with the roof, thirty-one inches of rain would certainly have revealed it.

Subsequent to the inspection, the area was buffeted by the one-two punch of Hurricane Irene followed by Tropical Storm Lee, which together dumped close to 16 inches of rain on the area. It was not until 3 months later that the inspected property experienced any leaks.

The inspector has been trying unsuccessfully to explain to this goofball that, if the roof had had any issues, they would certainly have been revealed after those two epic storms.

No joy.

In one email exchange, the claimant even wrote to the inspector “I had told and showed you the leaks were hidden, so who knows when they started.” [Sic]

In other words, the case has “loser” written all over it.

Nevertheless, this “self-destructive” claimant is soldiering on.

Inspectors are always asking me why they should carry E & O Insurance, if almost all claims against inspectors are meritless.

This is why.

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