Friday, February 25, 2011

Harold Huggins Realty, et al v. FNC, Inc. - Going to Trial - UPDATED

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Although Appraiser Active has not posted about this, we have been following the case for a while. A quick synopsis is provided on the Valuation Review blog.

In Harold H. Huggins Realt, Inc., P.E. Turner & Company, LTD., Residential Appraisal and Consulting, Inc. and Alfonoso V. Torres doing business as Front Door Appraisals vs. FNC, Inc., a trio of appraisers filed a federal class action lawsuit against the technology firm seeking damages for negligent misrepresentation, misappropriation, breach of implied contract and other charges.
A copy of the complaint against FNC, Inc. and their AppraisalPort service was posted over on WorkingRE way back when.

As with any complex litigation, particularly a class action suit, the clock and calendar have gone around several times while parties make and argue motions, and the defendant seeks to have the action dismissed. The latest action was the plaintiff's appeal of the district court’s order granting the defendant's (FNC, Inc.)  motion to dismiss the case under Federal rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(6). (NOTE: I will not even pretend to know what that means.)

An audio of the oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans, Louisina) is available at this LINK. It takes a while to listen to the entire proceeding, but it's WORTH IT!

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals rendered their decision in favor of the plaintiffs. The Appeals Court reversed the decision to dismiss and remanded the case back for further proceedings.

Here is the Court of Appeals' decision:
FNC Case - Opinion 24Feb2011

UPDATE - March 30, 2011

The Letter of the Law page on Realtor.org has been updated with a synopsis of the case and an informative explanation of the decision.

A federal appellate court has considered whether to reinstate a possible class action lawsuit against a vendor that had allegedly promised its appraiser clients that information submitted through its system would be confidential but the vendor actually collected the information and offered it for resale.

Four real estate appraisal firms (collectively, “Appraisers”) brought a lawsuit against FNC, Inc. (“Company”). The lawsuit sought class action status for other similarly-situated appraisers and alleged that the Company had violated the Lanham Act (“Act”) by informing the Appraisers that their appraisals submitted through the Company’s AppraisalPort would be confidential when the Company was actually repackaging the data for resale.
Here is a link to the full article.

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