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  #1  
Old 08-09-2012, 06:07 PM
jsradcliffe jsradcliffe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: GA
State: South Carolina
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
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Default Attorney subpoenaed my workfile for appraisal completed 9 months after claimed filed

All,

I received a letter from an attorney three days ago subpoenaing a copy of my work file. Here is what I don't understand. The owners of the property I appraised in Feb 2012 filed a suit against the builder and all the subcontractors. The suit was filed in May of 2011. The request for a copy of my work file came from one of the dependents attorneys. Help me understand why I would submit a copy of my work file for an appraisal I completed nine months after the claim was filed. I don't know any of the people in the suit. I just happened to appraise this house in February 2012 and now I am being asked for a copy of my work file... The borrowers refinanced their house in February and closed in April of 2012, but they filed a suit against the builder and everybody else nine months prior.

Please help me understand how I could get subpoenaed for an appraisal I completed nine months after the fact.

Many thanks,
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2012, 06:13 PM
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Smokey Bear Smokey Bear is offline
 
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Why are you asking us instead of your E&O attorney? I have a law degree, but I still couldn't give you an answer you could rely on. Call your E&O and send them the subpoena. Chances are it could be blocked, but none of us are attorneys, and if I was, I'd charge you for the advice.
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2012, 06:20 PM
leelansford leelansford is offline
 
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Talk to an attorney and get some real advice.

Personally, just because some attorney asks (the subpoena--who signed it?)me for something, I'm not jumping through hoops to comply.
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  #4  
Old 08-09-2012, 06:36 PM
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Terrel L. Shields Terrel L. Shields is online now
 
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Quote:
I received a letter from an attorney three days ago subpoenaing a copy of my work file
An attorney cannot serve a subpoena in GA...

Quote:
24-10-23. Service of subpoenas.
A subpoena may be served by any sheriff, by his deputy, or by any other person not less than 18 years of age. Proof may be shown by return or certificate endorsed on a copy of the subpoena. Subpoenas may also be served by registered or certified mail, and the return receipt shall constitute prima-facie proof of service. Service upon a party may be made by serving his counsel of record. (Ga. L. 1966, p. 343, § 3.)(Laws 1792, Cobb’s
Nor SC

Quote:
South Carolina Process Serving Requirements
Service of summons may be made by the sheriff, his deputy, or by any other
Quote:
person not less than eighteen (18) years of age, not an attorney in or a party to the action. Service of all other process shall be made by the sheriff or his deputy or any other duly constituted law enforcement officer or by any person designated by the court who is not less than eighteen (18) years of age and not an attorney in or a party to the action, except that a subpoena may be served as provided in Rule 45. (Amended effective May 1, 1986)
Without seeing what Rule 45 says, I doubt an attorney can serve the subpoena and normally that must be done in person...

Not that the advice above is not applicable. Get a lawyer and squash the subpoena.
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  #5  
Old 08-09-2012, 07:18 PM
jsradcliffe jsradcliffe is offline
 
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Location: GA
State: South Carolina
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Thank you everyone for your replies. I have already contacted my E&O currier and forwarded the Subpoena to them as requested. The subpoena was sent in the mail, it was not served. It was issued by the common pleas court. I was just curious if anybody else has ever heard of this happening. It seems odd that I would appraise a house nine months after the claim was filed and now a defendants’ attorney wants a copy of my work file. I can't even imagine why it is even relevant. Thank you again for your replies.
  #6  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:00 PM
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OSU Beavers OSU Beavers is offline
 
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Simple, they want to use your opinion and work product as evidence in their case for FREE! Don't let them. They are not the client and that was not the intended use of the appraisal. Your work file is NOT simply material evidence for them to subpoena for free. Next they will want your *ss in court all day to back up the file for a mere $30 stipend. BS, you are an Expert Witness not just a material witness there to read your file into evidence. You give Expert Witness Testimony which should be billed at $200+ per hour, with a four hour minimum!
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:12 PM
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PropertyEconomics PropertyEconomics is offline
 
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Nine months later they may want to see if you saw the "alleged" issues they are suing over .. if you dont mention them, who knows, maybe they amend the lawsuit and add you as well ... did you mention there was a pending lawsuit affecting the property??? .... you do have E&O coverage after all .....??????

A total guess on my part.
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  #8  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:38 PM
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William K William K is offline
 
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Since we're guessing........My guess is defendants attorney is going to use the fact they (Plaintiff) received a loan and as part of that loan an appraisal was performed. The appraisal shows the property to be worth $XXXXXXXX.
I could see an attorney argue that an independent 3rd party has provided an opinion of value which supports the work performed and which the borrower obtained a loan based upon without any rebuttal by the borrower / plaintiff as to the appraisal not representing the true condition of the subject property.
In other words the borrower can't say its sub par work and not worth it if they (Plaintiff) agreed with the appraisal enough to obtain a mortgage without complaint.
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  #9  
Old 08-09-2012, 10:27 PM
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Webbed Feet Webbed Feet is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OSU Beavers View Post
Simple, they want to use your opinion and work product as evidence in their case for FREE! Don't let them. They are not the client and that was not the intended use of the appraisal. Your work file is NOT simply material evidence for them to subpoena for free. Next they will want your *ss in court all day to back up the file for a mere $30 stipend. BS, you are an Expert Witness not just a material witness there to read your file into evidence. You give Expert Witness Testimony which should be billed at $200+ per hour, with a four hour minimum!


It's easy to tell who has no litigation experience by reading the thread.
  #10  
Old 08-09-2012, 10:42 PM
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Webbed Feet Webbed Feet is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William K View Post
Since we're guessing........My guess is defendants attorney is going to use the fact they (Plaintiff) received a loan and as part of that loan an appraisal was performed. The appraisal shows the property to be worth $XXXXXXXX.
I could see an attorney argue that an independent 3rd party has provided an opinion of value which supports the work performed and which the borrower obtained a loan based upon without any rebuttal by the borrower / plaintiff as to the appraisal not representing the true condition of the subject property.
In other words the borrower can't say its sub par work and not worth it if they (Plaintiff) agreed with the appraisal enough to obtain a mortgage without complaint.


It's easy to tell who has at least some litigation experience by reading the thread.
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