On Sept. 12, 2014, Gordon & Rees Chicago partners Patrick F. Moran and Ryan T. Brown secured summary judgment in favor of a national inspection service provider in the District Court for Dallas County, Iowa.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought damages of $625,000 or, in the alternative, the rescission of the 2010 real estate transaction for their single-family home in Urbandale, Iowa. The plaintiffs alleged that severe flooding in their backyard made the property “uninhabitable.” The plaintiffs named the builder, both real estate brokers, the appraiser, and the inspector as defendants, and they brought a wide range of allegations against the defendants, including professional negligence, fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, and breach of contract.
Specific to Gordon & Rees’s inspector client, the plaintiffs alleged the inspector failed to conduct a proper home inspection, claiming that a proper inspection would have uncovered the potential for flooding as well as certain structural and cosmetic defects in the home. The plaintiffs alleged that knowledge of these problems with the home would have caused them to forego closing on the property in 2010.
When early settlement discussions failed, the parties engaged in extensive written and oral discovery. Of note, Moran and Brown secured important concessions from the husband and wife plaintiffs during their depositions.
In granting summary judgment for the inspector, Judge John D. Lloyd found that Gordon & Rees had conclusively demonstrated that 1) the inspector had no knowledge of the potential flooding issues, and 2) the plaintiffs’ attempt to expand the duties of the inspector beyond those specifically contemplated in the inspection report was improper.