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Appraiser Negligence

We represent plaintiffs and defendants in appraiser negligence lawsuits. Such matters involve more than just real estate - there are more and more lawsuits against appraisers for negligence in the valuation of fine art, antiques, machinery, and business valuation.

  • A personal property appraiser valued residential contents for a decedent estate tax filing. He provided an opinion of value of $3,000 for an important American Chippendale table, that later sold at public auction for $1.37 Million. The appraiser was sued for $800,000.
$1.37 Million Dollar Table
Million Dollar Ming Vase
Natalia Goncharova Painting
  • A respected auctioneer/appraiser was asked to appraise a vase for a museum. He misidentified the vase, undervalued it, and was sued for millions.
  • A fine arts appraiser provided an appraisal of $367,500 for a Russian Painting for use in filing an estate tax return. The painting sold less than a year later for $3,400,000, wherein the IRS argued for significantly more taxes and penalties for undervaluing the painting. We provided a review of the underlying appraisal and a defendable appraisal argument that resulted in saving the Estate significant taxes and settlement of the issue.
  • A fine arts appraiser working for a respected auction company on appraisal days gave an oral appraisal of an oil painting, asserting a value of $4,000 to $5,000. The owner relied on the appraiser and privately sold the painting for $5,000. Later the painting sold at the same auction house for $100,000. A lawsuit followed, settlement was $50,000.
  • A business valuation appraiser short-cut the scope of work, ignored appraisal standards and was sued by his client for $10,000,000.Boyes-Bogie v. Horvitz, 14 Mass.L.Rptr. 208, N.E.2d, 2001 WL 1771989 Mass.Super
  • A Massachusetts licensed real estate appraiser was accused of fraud in the preparation of an appraisal report when in fact he was a victim of identity theft by a mortgage broker who had altered his report in a mortgage fraud scheme. We defended the appraiser. The real perpetrator Leo Desire Sr., was eventually charged with 16 counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel sentenced Desire to four years in federal prison, followed by deportation to Haiti for his role in a mortgage fraud.
  • Durkin Law and Attorney Matthew Dunn sued a number of appraisers, bankers, brokers and others who were involved in complicated mortgage fraud scheme. The main defendants were tried and convicted on criminal charges. We sued others in an attempt to recover damages for the victims of the mortgage fraud activity. Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Joshua Brown et al. Brown sentenced to four years and 35 years of probation after jury found he and a co-defendants guilty of Larceny, Making or Publishing False or Exaggerated Statements, Larceny by False Pretences all related to mortgage fraud. Brown led Boston Equity Investments (“BEI”), a Boston based criminal enterprise wherein he and others including lawyers, mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, and real estate appraisers misrepresented real estate transactions of more than $12.5 million in mortgage loans Helen G. Schwartz, Trustee v. Independent Appraisals, et al. Civil Action No. 11-11051 (U.S. Dist.Crt.); Lucille Crippen v. Boston Equity Investments, et al.; Civil Action No. 10-3215 (Suffolk Superior Court); Shaun Fisher v. Boston Equity Investments, et al.; Civil Action No. 10-3854-G (Suffolk Superior Court); Bruce Decker v. Independent Appraisals, et al. Civil Action No. 11-11380 (U.S. Dist.Crt.); Marquez Cadet v. Independent Appraisal, LLC, et al. Civil Action No. 11-00253 (Suffolk Superior Court); Deutsche Bank v. Sharon Cliche, et al.Civil Action Nos. 09-0363 and 09-0364 (Worcester Superior Court).
  • In a Mass Fed. Appeals case, an M&E appraiser reviewed a multi-million dollar appraisal as a favor for the lender-client. He did not charge a fee. The court found the appraisal performed the review work for the purpose of building goodwill and where the review appraisal was negligently prepared, the court found sufficient evidence of negligence to send it back for retrial.
  • The Board of Registration of Real Estate Appraisers charged a state licensed real estate appraiser for a number of transgressions including not performing a cost approach. The Board's prosecutor relying on a sub-contracted “review appraiser” claimed the performance of all three approaches to value was mandatory. We wrote a definitive brief arguing against the required use of the cost approach. The case was dismissed.

Durkin Law, P.C. is located in Boston, Massachusetts and serves clients throughout the state of Massachusetts. Call Durkin Law, P.C. at 617.720.0332 or contact the firm online to schedule an appointment.

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