Marin City Discrimination Case Settled
The first case that’s been adjudicated claiming appraiser discrimination has been SETTLED by the defendant appraiser and the plaintiffs, with the judge “dismissing all claims”, meaning it cannot be re-opened by the plaintiffs, but it can be appealed to a higher court by the defendant.
From what I know, this case never went to a full trial. Motions were only presented to the presiding judge, who made this ruling.
You can read about the case and outcome here, in this link:
From the article:
One thing to note about this, and I’m not an attorney, or practicing law, just offering an opinion, is the appraiser was NOT found ‘guilty’ of discrimination. The judge indicated that the appraiser “could be held liable for a discriminatory real estate transaction” which apparently was enough for the defendant appraiser to SETTLE the case without a full, and very expensive, court trial. The use of the word “could” might be compelling enough, but it also means that if a trial was pursued, the appraiser might NOT have been found guilty.
However, settling a case is often done to avoid spending huge piles of greenbacks going through a trial which would have an unknown, and potentially worse, outcome.
From my reading of various documents in this case, nowhere have ‘we’ seen an actual review by competent appraisers about the alleged ‘low’ value of the plaintiff’s home, versus the much higher valuation in the second report.
This area of Marin County, California has homes built on hillsides very close to the San Andreas earthquake fault. Many of the homes here, including the plaintiffs’, are built using pylon (or pile) construction with wooden power poles sunk into the hillside, which act as the ‘foundation’ for the homes. Cross-beams are attached to the poles from which the floor structure is built and sidewalls on top of that to complete the home.
I don’t have any way to know if this kind of construction is considered to be a lower quality than homes with typical poured concrete foundations, or if these homes have similar value to more traditional construction. Because ‘we’ have not seen the two appraisals reviewed, ‘we’ have no way to know whether theof “drastic undervaluation” is actually accurate.
It’s unfortunate that this case was SETTLED in the way it was, because in reality, nothing about racial discrimination and disparate treatment was actually proven at a full trial. Keep a sharp eye out, because my prediction is the plaintiffs and their associates will beat their chests ad nauseam for some time to come, further claiming that white appraisers who appraise black owned properties are not to be trusted.
But, settling is understood and apparently was the prudent thing to do by the appraiser.
(‘we’ is used meaning appraisers as a collective body, not me personally)