As I mentioned last time, I had returned home from a few days of R and R at the shore to a torrent of fresh home inspection claims, several of which were actual lawsuits. The lawsuits were all multiple-defendant affairs comprising multiple counts and exceedingly vague allegations that made it impossible to ascertain exactly what it was about the inspection that was aggrieving the plaintiff so.

Nevertheless, after speaking with the inspectors and then the attorneys, I was not surprised to learn that the claims were all for something that was highly defensible: outside the scope of the Standards of Practice; or concealed at the time of the inspection; or disclaimed in the report; or discovered and reported; or working then but not working now.

Not surprised because that is universally the case.

Now many of the home inspectors who engage me to neutralize a claimant or extract them from a lawsuit are uninsured for such contingencies for a variety of reasons discussed elsewhere on this site. They never expect to be victimized.

I chose the word “victimized” deliberately because when some deficiency arises with an inspected property, often a considerable distance down the road, the inspector is always one of the usual suspects that the plaintiff’s attorney will round up – almost always having never made any inquiry whatsoever into the appropriateness of such action – in the hope of securing a financial recovery for his client sufficient to redress the issue that is then commanding the center of his client’s attention.

When thus victimized inspectors are not insured, the stakes are a quantum higher and the pressure on SuperMick to bring home the gold increases pari passu. So into that stressful milieu step I, the unlucky guy charged with the dirty job of advising these attorneys that, for the reasons listed above, the case against the inspector is not winnable.

For the most part and with blessedly rare exceptions, the attorneys are quite gracious and open to persuasion, something that my inspector clients always find astonishing, so inured are they to the popular culture image of attorneys as soulless vulgarians. In actuality, the claimants’ attorneys are much more reasonable than their clients. Mensches, if you really want to know.

While it is several orders of magnitude more difficult to get an attorney to agree to dismiss a defendant from a lawsuit voluntarily – that is, without filing an actual motion – I accomplish this feat about two-thirds of the time. In fact, that is the exact percentage that obtained in the three cases that awaited me upon my return from the shore.

Once a plaintiff’s attorney agrees with me that there is no case against the inspector, he has to sell that fact to his client. And that is when the waiting starts. It can take weeks. Months even.

So whenever I succeed in getting an attorney to agree to dismiss an inspector from a lawsuit, I back off. Way off. Way, way off.

Now he has the unhappy job of persuading his client that it was a mistake to include the inspector in the suit in the first place and you have to give him time to do so. And, if my experience is any guide, your patience will be richly rewarded.

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