Real Estate Appraiser Defense in Civil Cases

Every professional faces the risk of a lawsuit alleging professional liability today. After the U.S. housing market declined in 2006 and reached an all-time low in 2008, real estate appraisers became frequent targets in professional liability lawsuits. Lending institutions, mortgage companies, banks and homeowners took losses due to declining property values and in desperation sought ways to remedy their situation. Many appraisers defending against professional liability allegations have required legal help from a Michigan real estate appraiser liability lawyer.

Home prices showed signs of recovery in the second quarter of 2012, which ended in June. Also, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed the housing market was up by 1.5 percent in July 2012. However, some appraisers may still face scrutiny, especially for appraisals made prior to the housing crisis. As in other fields, there are professional standards which appraisers must meet. To prove professional malpractice, plaintiffs must prove a violation of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) or some other form of negligence that could be tied directly to financial loss.

In defending a real estate appraiser, Detroit litigation attorneys have successfully argued that the limiting conditions and certifications set forth in the appraisers' reports can, under the right circumstances, protect the appraiser from liability. Examples include limitations concerning the condition of mechanical systems and other items that are more properly determined by a home inspector, surveys with measurement errors, construction defects and legal issues such as encroachments. Other defenses may include that lenders failed to obtain an updated appraisal after considerable time passage or properly review the appraisal before approving or funding the loan.

If you face civil charges of real estate appraiser professional malpractice, discuss your concerns with an attorney at Hickey, Cianciolo, Finn & Atkins, PC. Our firm represents individuals and businesses in civil liability cases and has considerable experience dealing with appraiser liability cases.