PestNow Pays $110,000 WDI/Termite Inspection Settlement to Avoid Trial
PestNow of Maryland, LLC, a pest control company that performs between 12,000 to 15,000 wood destroying insect inspections (WDI) for potential homebuyers in Maryland each year in connection with real estate sales, agreed to a $110,000 settlement arising out of a pre-sale WDI home inspection it performed in Hagerstown, Maryland. The inspection did not detect numerous signs of termite damage in several areas to the home, and the buyer purchased the house relying on the faulty report.
Homeowners in Maryland should always protect their interests and investment in new residential real estate by obtaining a WDI/Termite inspection before going to closing on the property. As part of the real estate services that a buyer receives from their agent, the agent should, at a minimum, discuss the importance of a WDI/termite inspection with their clients, explain why it is important given the prevalence of termites in Maryland, and recommend a reputable company. However, agents sometimes fall short of their duties and do not provide this knowledge to their clients.
Alternatively, when a WDI/termite inspection is performed, but is done so negligently, homeowners can bring claims against the negligent inspection company. Not performing a thorough inspection, rushing through a house, overlooking signs of damage that a trained inspector should find, and failing to explore all available areas, such as crawlspaces and attics, are potential negligent actions that may cause a homeowner to purchase a home without learning of the hidden damaged wood therein.
When homeowners are misled involving a termite inspection or termite damage in their new home, homeowners should exercise their legal rights. Whitney, LLP’s real estate attorneys represent homeowners in termite damage claims. We offer Legal Consultations. Call (410) 583 8000 or use our Online Quick Contact Form. Some of our prior termite damage case results can be viewed here.
Buying a Home With Hidden Termite Damage
Our client purchased a single-family house in Hagerstown, which she discovered after closing, had extensive termite damage. The Maryland Residential Contract of Sale for the Property provided that Seller knew of no latent defects, and that it was “unknown” to Seller whether there was any infestation of wood-destroying insects or related damage. A condition of the sale of the Property was that a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection (“WDI”) would be performed by a licensed pest control company.
If the WDI revealed evidence of termite or other wood-destroying insect infestation, or damage caused by previous infestation, the contract of sale provided that the Buyer had a right to terminate the sale, if needed repairs exceeded 2% of the purchase price, and if Seller refused to remediate. PestNow, who held itself out as an expert in wood destroying insect inspections, was hired to perform the Property’s WDI. Maryland Regulations govern such inspections, and imposed specific standards that PestNow was obligated to meet in its inspection in this case. The applicable standards required a careful and thorough expert inspection of the Property, and the full disclosure of all material information.
PestNow’s employee performed a brisk 15-minute WDI inspection and a prepared written report that was provided to Plaintiff. The report stated that no visual evidence of wood destroying insects was observed at the Property; and no treatment was recommended. While Plaintiff was present for the inspection, she had no special knowledge or expertise about the inspection that PestNow had performed, and she relied on its inspection as confirmation that the Property was free of wood destroying insects. She closed on the sale of the Property in December 2017, in reliance of the PestNow report.
Plaintiff’s family moved into the Property soon closing on the Property. In early April 2018, Plaintiff noticed termite swarmers flying inside the Property. She called PestNow, who performed an inspection and confirmed the presence of termites. On April 13, 2018 PestNow performed an extensive termite treatment. When hundreds of additional termite swarmers were observed the next month, Plaintiff again called PestNow. A further termite treatment was performed on May 21, 2018. Plaintiff thereafter discovered extensive termite damage to the Property’s garage, bathroom, a rear bedroom, and the laundry room.
Filing a Lawsuit Against PestNow for A Negligent Termite Inspection
Plaintiff filed suit against PestNow in Washington County Circuit Court alleging negligence, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Plaintiff sought recovery against PestNow for economic damages sustained as a result of the WDI inspection which did not detect or disclose the preexisting termite infestation and termite damage. Following the completion of discovery, including depositions of the Plaintiff and the PestNow employees who performed the inspections and treatments, and evaluation and inspection of the Property by Plaintiff’s team of experts including an entomologist and a termite damage repair contractor, the case settled for $110,000. By settling the lawsuit, PestNow did not admit to liability. Whitney, LLP has successfully filed multiple lawsuits against PestNow based on claims of WDI Inspection being negligently performed.
Free Legal Consultations for Home Termite Damage
Whitney, LLP real estate attorneys represent homeowners throughout Maryland who purchased a home and then discovered hidden termite damage. Homeowners who find themselves with hidden termite damage have significant legal rights. Those rights may include, but are not limited to:
- recovering the cost of hidden termite damage repair,
- other related economic damages related to the termite damage,
- emotional distress caused by dealing with the termite damage, and
- punitive damages if fraud was committed
We represent homeowners across Maryland, including in Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, Waldorf, Frederick, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Bethesda, Dundalk, Towson, Wheaton, North Bethesda, Severn, Bel Air, Hagerstown, Annapolis, Owings Mills, Laurel, Reisterstown, Middle River, Suitland, Greenbelt, Landover, Camp Springs, Cockeysville, and Westminster.