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Small claims again!

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Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
I sued two more big companies this week for lack of payment. I love small claims. So far I am 3 for 3!

One is a big bank with internal problems obviously. Have invoiced and talked to people and still not payment. Obviously the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

Funny thing is I did a good bit of work for one of their loan officers and got paid fast on 90% of the work. Two of them just never could seem to get paid on. Then he left and all the work dried up. What have I got to loose now?

Other one I think I know what is going on. Supposed to cut the checks out of Houston. 3 time now I have gotten the same story, resubmit the invoices and we (local office) will submit them to Houston. Well one of the three lonas never went through and I am betting that the local office is going to have to pay out of their pocket so they are stalling. Been dealing with this one for a year now. They dont send me anymore work either. Again nothing to loose here. Neither is on my approved list anymore.

Since I figure both of these will not let interest I owe them slide I think it is only fair that they should pay me interest on what they owe me Of course they refuse to pay interest.

Nice thing about small claims, they have to pay interest! :)
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Jeff

got an attorney that wants to play - any suggestions :?: have done a bunch of stuff and he's always been good, but this was a big time
(over 1 Mil. in value) pre-forclsure RUSH job and now two months later he only wants to pay a portion. Have been thinking of sending all the info. to the State Attorney Generals office, with some questions on his professional conduct- what do you think :?:


8)
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Oh YES, I strongly advise this action...

But I am safely several states away and feel quite secure.

Can you contact the local Bar association to inquire what standards they hold their members to first? Yo may get a better response from them (or not :roll: )

You do have a written request to perform this work, right?
 

George W Dodd

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
Never do work for an attorney, individual, account, or anybody else that doesn't have a standing account unless they pay the fee upfront. No exceptions. :evil:
 

David C. Johnson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
<span style='color:darkblue'>In 1995 (six months after I started my own business) I sued in small claims court (what I heard at the time to be) the largest mortgage company in North America. This was a FNMA 1004 residential job where my "negative comments" ruined the deal. I believe they had no intention of paying, regardless what was said on the phone for three or four months. I received a check two (mailing) days after the principle of the local office was served by the county sheriff's office on his return from lunch with a business prospect or two (per his secretary). The check also covered my "court costs" to file ($25 or so?).

The clerk of court told me that I needed to do nothing more since the "case had settled." She said the case would just be dropped by the courts. She was right, it was automatically dropped. BTW, he (i.e., the branch "owner") had been pissed that I listed the Mortgage Company's name instead of His Name as the defendant in the filing. Silly me. I called the clerk of court, and she changed it for me on the phone -- well, she did on at least some of the paperwork. (Hey, I don't mean to give anybody any ideas here, right?)

However, three months later I received a frantic, angry call from the principle telling me that the mortgage company's Dunn & Bradstreet Ratings had just been downgraded due to this unresolved suit. I told him what I was told, and then contacted the courts by phone again. They checked into it on the spot. It turned out that a plumber had also been stiffed, and that it was that unresolved lawsuit that had done him/them in.

Moral of the story: If they are ripping you off, they are likely ripping off other people too.

But there's more to the story:

In 2000, I "developed" a new commercial client from a new start bank -- they called me from the phone book, I think. I had done four or five jobs for them and liked the loan officers that I worked with from both locations in the county. I even tolerated (because they had a good record with me) a reviewer by that bank who turned out not to even be an appraiser and had virtually no knowledge of appraising -- Ooops, take that back: She had just enough knowledge to be real dangerous, or a royal pain in the drain, for an appraiser.

Her end of the conversation went something like this after I turned in a report to her:

"Word is around here that some appraisers are not
completing all the approaches on Limited Summary
Appraisals
-- this has to stop. I need you to do
the income approach on this proposed church
appraisal you just turned in."

(Say whaaat!!)

I apologized dutifully and tried to figure out how in the world to comply.

Well, I've done work for some of the most desirable commercial clients in the Southeast. These banks' review staff heads are almost always very competent MAIs (and I mean "real" MAIs -- not the cheap impostors who have ended up with the designation somehow, as apparently more than a few of them have). I had assumed she was particularly knowledgeable as she was every bit as authoritative and self-assured-sounding as any experienced and qualified reviewer I had ever worked with in the past. I have learned from a reviewer in the past too. Never learned anything quite this radical and bizarre: but, hey, if it is being done by my peers, who am I to challenge the wisdom of the masses...

It happened to come out in a subsequent phone conversation that she was not an appraiser (and never had been) -- but did attended a whole day-long seminar for her new job (which apparently included "How to Deal with Appraisers") but was otherwise fairly new at this lending and appraisal review stuff altogether accept for some residential loan work.

That explains it -- Real well. She was nice but firm, and sure talked a good game for not having a clue what she was talking about -- parroting her new boss who knew even less, but sounded even better. Who was the new boss? The principle of the past mortgage company branch office I had sued six years earlier. When hand delivering the "upgraded" report (with income approach), everyone was gone for the day on that Friday afternoon except him. We introduced ourselves to each other, and looking back, I suspect he did not get the connection at first either -- but he did later on I would imagine. He probably remembered my company name from years before, and on the way back to the office, I remembered his rather unusual name too.

I was cut off from that point on -- I have never got another job from that bank. Was it his doing, or was it a function of the reviewer's embarrassment when she finally learned that income approaches are rarely done on churches, and are absolutely never done on limited appraisal agreements (as I had somewhat meekly tried to explain at the time).

I do not know. However, I will say this: Our "new arrangement" has absolutely suited the hell out of me!

Oh, in retrospect, would I have sued in the same way again in 1995 if I had had a crystal ball forecast for a half decade into the future -- No. I would have sued at least a full month earlier!

Regards,

[me]
NC State-Certified General R.E. Appraiser
___________________

PS. Pamela, this was the post I mentioned a few weeks ago that when I wrote it I would alert you about. I will email you with its URL in a minute to see that you see it.</span>
 
Last edited:

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Jeff

got an attorney that wants to play - any suggestions :?: have done a bunch of stuff and he's always been good, but this was a big time
(over 1 Mil. in value) pre-forclsure RUSH job and now two months later he only wants to pay a portion.

Well I would not want to go to small claims court against a lawyer without a lawyer representing me. While I don't see he has a leg to stand on he would be much better prepared before the judge than you or I would be. However I wouldn't hesistate if I had a lawyer that take him on. (and I do!) Most lawyers won't sue another lawyer.

I think the state Bar would be a good place to start. Never run into that before and hopefully never will.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
George

have done work for many years with Attorneys & Judges for court, and never had written agreements; they've always paid, no matter what the Fee- it never was a question. And after a few years of working with this guy, he decides for everyone else, that he's going to break the rule of Trust. Guess, it's a new Era - for these younger attorneys.
although, this guy didn't have anything in writting and wouldn't return any of my phone calls, I took the time to instigate a response (in writting) and he returned fire (in writting) so that I now have a record that we were engaged in a business transaction and why he engaged my service's (more than one way ta skin a cat-is that the right word for this jerk :?: ).

we will be engaging converesation with the State Bar and then put together a letter addressing the issue of payment. I'm going for an adventure here & payment under my conditions / not his, as I do not like being dictated to-after all it's my business not his.


Jeff,
once you have to engage an attorney to collect anything, your behind the 8 ball, as it now costs you money to collect and your aiming for a solution in "pricipal" only. the way I see it, you don't have the result you want to begin with; if it costs you money to collect, is it worth that adventure :?: and lastly, why do you have to settle for any less than your owed :?: and most folks don't see it that way until their done and realize, that in essence they've lost money (both physical dollars & in work loss that results in earnings).
I have now engaged (past/present) in the "snowglobe theory" - which is built on peresistence; knowledge of where to attack and how to attack - and if the efforts do not result in complete satisfaction, perhaps it's left a "pebble" in the shoe of the adversary.

LeeAnn
I live by an old theory that an old italian man once told me- "keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" - :)

8)
 

bradellis

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
David,

Noticed you included "AGA" after your name.

Is the Guild handing out designations nowadays?

Brad Ellis, IFA, RAA
 

David C. Johnson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
<span style='color:darkblue'>Brad,

Good point. I had wondered about that too (but not enough). I figured I might do it like that for a few posts for a while, but maybe I will do something more like the following "sign-off" instead, or just work the Guild into the text of a post every now and then.

But I agree that it looks like a designation the way I did it. Thanks for pointing it out to get me to think about it more.

I'd like to ask if you have considered joining, and what you think about the idea of the Guild, but that would be pretty off subject, so I will ask another time / thread.

Every now and then I consider rejoining the AI as a candidate and completing work for the MAI designation. I believe it would be possible to do in about a year or so. A couple of friends who are in the same "state of completion" are considering it. It's a lot easier these days if what I have heard is right. Apparently my classes credits from 1990 (five of them) would now still count, where use to be there was a time frame where classes had to be retaken. The demonstration report requirement has been relaxed a bit. I understand that commercial reports can be used instead, but I do not know the details.

I got a hunch Paul Ness probably got his designation at the height of all the requirement levels. I will ask him about that sometime.

Hope California is treating you well.

Regards,

David C. Johnson, Raleigh
(new member of the American Guild of Appraisers)</span>
 
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