About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Angle Points: Land Surveyor Liability Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Pallamary, PS   
Sunday, 13 April 2014

A 72Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

A recent article by Geneau Thames, a brilliant attorney with the law firm of Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP out of Baltimore, Maryland, raises some troubling issues with regards to an increase in activity for real estate professionals.

Ms. Thames notes that with the increase in real estate activity, "there has also been an increase in litigation against real estate agents, brokers, appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage specialists and other real estate professionals across the country."

More troubling and as I have observed in my own practice, practitioners not only have to defend themselves in a lawsuit, they may also have to defend their license before their state licensing agency. Over the years I have provided expert witness services, I have had numerous complaints filed with the State Licensing Board along with a few threats. In one instance, a disgruntled client, unhappy that the city didn't approve his project didn't want to pay my bill. He told me that if I did not abandon my fees, he would file a complaint with the licensing board and that is what he did. When we went into arbitration and he was informed that his tactics were illegal, he withdrew the complaint. That didn't matter to the board as they continued to pursue the complaint, arguing that if it was filed, there must be a reason.

Ms. Thames identified what she calls "emerging trends" in suits against real estate professionals. Although she does not specifically identify Land Surveyors, they run the same risks and this increased exposure. Her list includes such things as:
1. Failing to Advise on a Contract with regards to problems before contracts are signed. Needless to say, if a problem is observed and not noted, if it surfaces, there is an increased likelihood that the buyer or seller will sue to recoup and loss associated with the damages.
2. Misrepresenting the Value of a Property, a growing are of liability for real estate appraisers, particularly if they fail to adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
3. Exaggerating the Features of a Property becomes a problem when, in an effort to close the deal, some agents and brokers are not honest about the features of a property as they tend to overinflate the features in a property or if they exaggerate the qualities of a property, in an effort to justify a higher valuation.
4. Discovering or overlooking property damage is a growing problem for licensed home inspectors who can also find themselves involved in a charge of professional negligence. Typical claims usually center on allegations that the home inspector failed to conduct the inspection in a thorough or workmanlike manner or to report defective conditions in the property.

As more Land Surveyors find themselves involved in various aspects of the modern real estate transaction, their exposure similarly broadens. If there is need for conflict resolution, typically memorialized by easements and embodied in settlement agreements, the level of participation becomes more sophisticated. Indeed, if the modern Land Surveyor is going to survive, he/she needs to adapt and become more involved in land use matters.

Needless to say, the classic problems associated with boundary line determination still exist. What is an encroachment and what are the elements of adverse uses? In many instances, the Land Surveyor may be the most knowledgeable person associated with the transaction and it for this reason that his/her advice is sought and considered.

All in all, we live in a litigious society and we should always be mindful of this fact.

Michael Pallamary, PS, is the author of several books and numerous articles. He is a frequent lecturer at conferences and seminars and he teaches real property to attorneys and other members of the legal profession. He has been in the surveying profession since 1971.

A 72Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax