Firm obtains summary judgment win for real estate appraiser

PROVIDENCE (Oct. 5, 2011) – Sheri L. Pizzi and Elizabeth R. Merritt recently persuaded a Rhode Island federal judge to dismiss all claims against a real estate appraiser, including negligent misrepresentation and fraud allegations.

Following a foreclosure that yielded substantially lower proceeds than the loan amount, the lender filed a lawsuit alleging that the appraiser prepared a misleading assessment of the fair market value of the Providence property – a vacant Victorian-era
“Gingerbread” mansion in a state of disrepair.

However, the judge, in granting summary judgment, found that the appraiser did not misrepresent any material facts about the condition of the property or its potential value. The judge also noted that the lender did not hire the appraiser, and, as a consequence, could not hold the appraiser to industry standards for professional appraisers.

“Our client conditionally assessed the value of the property based on the need for extensive repairs and renovation, as well as its potential use,” said Merritt. “The appraisal in no uncertain terms expressed the conditional factors regarding the estimated value.”

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Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm four consecutive years as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work (2008–2011).