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Claudia Says

Claudia Gaglione

Claudia received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California Law Center in 1982 and in 1994, Claudia and her partner, Bob Dolan, formed the law firm of Gaglione & Dolan, which specializes in the defense of professional malpractice claims. Since 1987, Claudia has personally supervised over 4,000 claims and lawsuits filed against real estate appraisers across the country. By virtue of this experience, she is uniquely qualified to speak about what kinds of things appraisers get sued for and what defenses are most successful. More importantly, Claudia can discuss the types of errors that are avoidable and how appraisers can make themselves the best possible defendants in the event they are ever sued.

Who signed the contract?

Claudia Says...

"I had a lawsuit filed against my company a year ago. Now the attorney hired by the insurance company says it should be settled because there are some problems with the appraisal, which I know he is right. This appraisal was done by one of my employees and he had not been appraising for long when he did this report. Although I did look it over, maybe I could have spent more time on it. My attorney says I have to pay the $2,500 deductible to help get the case settled. I understand that settlement is the way to go but that is not my problem since I did not even do the appraisal. I told the attorney to get the deductible from the other appraiser but he said I have to pay. Is that right?"

Your attorney is right. The insurance company made a contract with you and your company. They have been paying the attorney to defend you and they will pay the settlement amount that is agreed to. They are doing what they have to do under the terms of the contract. Now you have to do your part and pay the deductible. The insurance company does not have any agreements with your employee. The agreement is with you. If you "breach" your contract the insurance company could refuse to pay the settlement. I realize it will not help you in this matter, but in the future, you might want to deal with this situation when you hire a new employee. Perhaps you might have them sign a contract saying if the company gets sued over an appraisal done by that appraiser, he will reimburse you for the deductible amount. Just remember that any such agreement would be between you and your employee. The insurance contract is still an agreement between you and the carrier, so don't expect them to go after the employee to get your money back.


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