REAL ESTATE AGENT & BROKER MALPRACTICE
The Montana Real Estate Licensing Act requires (among other things) that agents and brokers: (1) disclose adverse material facts; (2) act solely in the best interests of the client; (3) obey promptly and efficiently all lawful client instructions; and (4) exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence in pursuing the client's goals. M.C.A. 37-51-313. Remedies are also available under the Montana Consumer Protection Act, which include actual and treble damages and attorney's fees. We've litigated, handled, and advised on hundreds of claims and cases against agents and brokers - from outright deception to dissuading clients from necessary inspections to soft-pedaling or suppressing adverse material facts. Visit our blog for a by-subject-matter list of the agent and broker malpractice cases we've handled and litigated.
HOME INSPECTOR MALPRACTICE
The Montana home inspection industry is completed unregulated - there are no licensing or testing requirements and the Department of Labor & Industry, which regulates everything from cosmetology to the practice of medicine, imposes no professional or disciplinary standards. There is only the Montana Home Inspection Trade Practices Act, which prescribes the manner in which for-fee residential inspections must be conducted and reported. Importantly, violation of the MHITPA is a per se (automatic) violation of the Montana Consumer Protection Act. Most inspectors are completely unaware of the MHITPA or its requirements. Additional potential claims include breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and constructive fraud. Unlike a lot of "trial lawyers" out there, we actually try cases and in 2015 obtained a $300,000 verdict under the MHITPA, the largest in the history of the Act. We've also spent many hours across the table from inspectors in deposition. Visit our blog for a list of our home inspection cases by subject matter.
CONSTRUCTION DEFECT LITIGATION & CLAIMS
"New construction" is not synonymous with "good" construction and you often won't know it until a structure has had time to "settle" (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively). We've handled defect claims against a broad spectrum of construction professionals (builders, subcontractors, and engineers) over claims of many shapes and sizes - additions, single-family residences, multi-unit townhomes, multiple owners within the same single-family build, and commercial structures. The experts we work with include general contractors, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, remediation contractors, appraisers, and surveyors. Residential claims typically sound in negligence, breach of contract, and violation of the Montana Consumer Protection Act.
INSURANCE BAD FAITH & COVERAGE LITIGATION
Being mistreated by a billion-dollar insurer with an endless line of claims personnel (you've been put on hold by most of them) and lawyers can make you feel powerless. You're not. Our experience includes the representation of plaintiffs and (in a former life) the defense of insurance companies in coverage litigation and bad faith lawsuits. Whether the insurer has denied coverage outright or offered a fraction of actual value, or otherwise failed to live up to its responsibilities under the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act, we can help assess your claim on the merits, advise on your rights, and hold your insurer to account. We also understand the ins-and-outs of insurance coverage. See XL Specialty Ins. Co. v. Patrol Helicopters, 411 Fed.Appx. 78, 2011 WL182154 (9th Cir. 2011) (obtaining insurance coverage for an automobile accident under a helicopter liability policy); but see Ames Const., Inc. v. Maxum Indemn. Ins. Co., 712 F.Supp.2d 1160 (D.Mont. 2010) (because you can't win them all).
EMPLOYMENT LAW LITIGATION, CONSULTING & COMPLIANCE
We litigate and advise on employment matters involving Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standard Act, the Montana Human Rights Act, and other state and federal employment laws. Our litigation emphasis is in wrongful discharge, workplace discrimination, and sexual harassment claims. We also draft and review employee handbooks and contracts, review personnel practices for legal compliance, conduct independent workplace investigations, and assist with the resolution of workplace disputes.