Another (painfully tongue-in-cheek) breaking news story from the front page of:
The law firm of Dewey/Cheatum & Howe announced today that the firm has prevailed in its suit against Home Inspector, Willy Fineitall, of Gottainspect Inspection LLC. The $3,000,000 award will essentially put Gottainspect Inspection out of business. Mr. Cheatum, speaking on behalf of his firm and the plaintiff, was firm in stating that he feels “good” about the settlement. He said it was all worth the long expensive trial just knowing that Mr. Fineitall will no longer be harming the public with his “mediocre inspections.” Mr. Cheatum acknowledged that there was little chance of recovering any of the humongous award—-and he also admitted that the case against Mr. Fineitall was largely circumstantial and perhaps even frivolous. Court documents revealed that on numerous occasions—-over and over again—-Mr. Fineitall missed many dangerous items over and over again—-leaving unsuspecting buyers of homes vulnerable to exposure from known toxic, deadly, noxious, deleterious, hazardous and even poisonous conditions within the homes they were purchasing.
In handing down the stiff award, the Honorable Shoum Nomerzy said he was swayed by the effects that the shoddy inspections could have had on vulnerable immunocompromised children and the elderly. While pictures of anaphylactic children turning blue were suppressed, due to the likelihood that the heart breaking pictures might color the opinion of the jury, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Mr. Fineitall anyway—-after two days of heated deliberations. Expert witnesses were brought in by both sides during the year-long trial that were able to quite successfully cancel each other out. I spoke with Mr. Fineitall after the verdict. He was sitting on the court house steps sharing a bag of home made peanut-butter cookies (You know, the chewy ones with the cross-hatched fork-marks?) with his ever supportive wife, and six of his 11 children—-one of which had brought along his pet squirrel.
“Mr. Fineitall, how do you feel about the jury’s verdict today?” I asked, shoving the microphone in his face.
“Do they really expect us Home Inspectors to find it all?” Mr. Fineitall asked, crumbs falling on the microphone.
“Take for example the court documents related to the supposed toxic exposure from the heating system ductwork. How the hell is any inspector supposed to know that some kid that lived in the house ten years ago hid his stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in the ductwork? Or take that other house where some kid supposedly found peanuts under the refrigerator—–stuff like that rolls under the refrigerator all the time! Give me a break—-there is just no way that an inspector can identify every discarded Planter’s Peanut wrapper dragged into an attic or crawl space by some rodent or construction worker—-or find every M&M that has rolled under the baseboard or into the heat registers in a home. And don’t forget that EVERY light switch has also likely been contaminated by grubby little fingers—–am I supposed to certify that every switch has been professionally cleaned or replaced?”
“But Mr. Fineitall,” I interrupted, “Is it not true that if you had taken the time, no–had you cared enough, to become a Certified Histamine Inspector you would have found these issues in the home?
“Hell no—it goes beyond the Standards of Practice, of all Home Inspector Associations to dismantle anything, or to move refrigerators, or to inspect for environmental hazards including (but not limited to) histamine reactions,” protested Mr. Fineitall. “Experts pretty much agree that not everyone reacts to peanut exposure the same way—-and no ‘one-day’ hista-course is going to change that!
Think about it—-do you actually think that all traces of peanuts can be eliminated from any home?—-especially older homes? I think this has all gone too far. I have even heard that there is some discussion about evacuating the entire State of Georgia!”
“So what do you think swayed the jury in the end?” I asked.
“Hysteria—-plain and simple—-hysteria!
I mean, where will it end—-next they will be expecting us to find mold. What do they think this is?—-hide & seek?—-is mold really lost?”
“Are you planning an appeal Mr. Fineitall?” I asked, as he and his family started down the stairs.
“Are you NUTS,”he replied?
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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