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What To Do if You Are Notified of a Complaint or Lawsuit

If you are served with a lawsuit or licensing board Order to Show Cause complaint or notice that the License Board is opening an investigation, do not hesitate, call Durkin Law immediately.

Do the following, and then call us at 617-720-0332 to schedule an appointment.

  1. Note time, date, and method that you were served.
  2. If you received a notice of investigation, note the date received.
  3. Read the complaint and understand the charges.
  4. Make a copy of the complaint.
  5. Review your work-file, organize the material relating to the complaint, retain everything relating to the appraisal, and do not change anything.
  6. Do not talk to the licensing board representative. There is no Miranda warning with civil complaints. Once a complaint is served, you are in an adversarial situation. Anything you say can and likely will, be used against you.
  7. Do not take the words in the complaint personally, such as "negligence," "fraud," or "grossly overstated value." Instead of releasing your inner Mongo.... put your energies into helping us build a defense.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

If you have errors and omissions insurance, be aware that the insurance company may issue a reservation of rights letter that raises all possible defenses to coverage. You should have your own attorney to protect your interest. Your E&O insurance likely has coverage for reimbursement of legal costs for License Board Complaints. Put them on notice that you will likely make a claim for reimbursement.

Civil Negligence Lawsuits

Lawsuits are rising as more people become aware that an appraiser may be liable for negligence in the performance of an appraisal.

Your E&O insurance will provide its own lawyers to defend against a civil negligence lawsuit. If your E&O provides a defense attorney, know that the attorney is working for the insurance company. Some policies enable the insurance company to spend the entire coverage on defense and some policies allow the insurance company to settle without your permission.

Know that lawsuits are a fact of business life. Relax, gather the facts and call us. If you have an attorney or your friend is an attorney or your E&O provides an attorney, you should consider engaging Durkin Law to add to your defense.