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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 42860
Experience:  Texas Attorney for 30 years dealing in real estate
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A title company failed to fulfill their instructions in a

Customer Question

A title company failed to fulfill their instructions in a real estate contract. I am the executor of my father's estate and live in another state. Can I sue for travel expenses and care giver expenses for my ill husband if I have to appear in court in this other state?
JA: Has a complaint been filed and served? What are the claims in the case?
Customer: Not yet. The title company had specific instructions to release money held in escrow for a septic inspection on Oct 31, 2016. The buyer had the septic inspected by the county per the contract, no defects found. The buyer had another "in depth" inspection done and disputed the release of the money on Nov. 16, 2016, 16 days after the deadline in the contract. The title company says they will only release the money with a court order. If I have to appear in court, I would have to travel 2000 miles.
JA: Estate planning laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: I live in Nevada and the real estate transaction is in Ohio.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The buyer breached the contract. The buyer requested that they be allowed to choose the title company and disclosed that she had an "interest" in this company. On the day, Oct 31, 2016, the title company was instructed to release the money, there was a clear inspection report by the county and they couldn't possibly have had a "dispute" since that didn't occur until almost 3 weeks later. It appears to me that there was some collusion between the buyer and title company in which she had an interest.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ray replied 2 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question, conduct and prepare your response.

Expert:  Ray replied 2 months ago.

You can add travel and caregiver expense if you have to travel for court if you prevail in court.You would have to sue in Ohio.If you sue the title company make sure you serve their registered agent.You can sue in small claims.

You can do small claims up to $3k , not sure if this is enough, otherwise you will need lawyer to pursue this.

Cases that initially fit the small claims criteria may be transferred out of small claims court: If a case starts with a claim for $3,000 or less but then comes to include claims that exceed $3,000, the case will be transferred to the civil division of municipal or county court.

small claims court - Ohio Supreme Court

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Expert:  Ray replied 2 months ago.

I appreciate the chance to help you ,thanks for rating 5 stars and good luck here.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The amount in escrow is $10,000 and we cannot finalize probate until this is resolved. The original sale contract (2 years ago) required that money is to be held in escrow "for 8 months for a septic inspection after 6 months of continued occupancy". At the end of the 8 months, the buyer had not yet moved in. Her father, who just happens to be an attorney, wrote a letter stating that his daughter was in the process of moving in and expected to live there full time by the end of April, 2016. Rather than looking for other avenues to recover the money we extended the time by 6 months. The buyer had until Oct 30, 2016 to have the inspection done, repairs made (if necessary) and invoices submitted to the title company. The title company was instructed that, if the buyer fails to do the above, they were to immediately release the full amount to me. They failed to do that claiming there was a dispute. The dispute did not occur until long after the deadline. To date, 2 years later, the buyer is still not occupying the house.
Expert:  Ray replied 2 months ago.

You would likely have to give a lawyer a $5k retainer, you have to decide if it is economically feasible here to litigate this for $10k.I know you feel they ripped you off but you may decide its not worth it given your husbands health and the cost to go back to sue and there is uncertainty that you would win here.It's probably 50-50%.Please don't shoot the messenger.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for the advice. I have already said good bye to the $10,000. I know it's going to go to attorney fees and I'm willing to do that as long as the money stays out of the buyer and her attorney/father's hands. I followed every letter and punctuation mark in the contract and they breached it at every turn. I just don't want to add to the $10,000 I'll already be losing. The buyer requested that they be allowed to choose the title company. I agreed because it was one less thing for my to be concerned with from 2000 miles away. They also disclosed that they had an "interest" in this company. I was ok with that too since I assumed a title company is supposed to be neutral. It appears they were actually colluding with the buyer. Unfortunately, I can't prove it.
Expert:  Ray replied 2 months ago.

Yes I agree tough to prove, use the lawyer referral if you decide to pursue this.I wish you both the best here with this and his health.

Thanks for rating 5 stars.