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#25502 - 05/10/03 11:32 AM Legal Challenges
rowdyrudy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/02/02
Posts: 171
Loc: Mascoutah, IL USA
Just a bit curious. I am in a network of attorneys and get quite a bit of info on inspections and inspectors. It seems, from the mail I’ve gotten recently, that more and more EC’s are challenging inspector’s rulings and winning. In several cases large damage awards have been obtained. There are cases from nearly every state. This trend seems to be spreading. Has there been this type of problem in your area?
BTW, the copyright challenge to the NEC is still active.

Rowdy

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#25503 - 05/10/03 03:32 PM Re: Legal Challenges
George Corron Offline
Member

Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 728
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
Rudy,
Lemme see, an inspector forbids contractor to bond gas pipe - legal challenge

One of the examples of an inspector enforcing what they "think" is right, as opposed to the code, and yes some contractors are saying that is enough.

Another example from the IAEI from several years ago, an inspector told the contractor there was NO recourse but to do what he told him to do....... ooooooops, nasty little thing about the constitution saying you always have recourse until them fellas (and lady) on C street in the District that like to call themselves Supreme Court Justices say there is no further recourse. Challenge - BIG settlement for Civil Rights Violation, and deservedly so, I may add.

Total power does not, and should not, rest in the hands of some minor bureacrat, regardless whether they work at the DMV, or building inspections.

Founding Fathers - damned sharp guys...... who'da thunk it?

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#25504 - 05/10/03 04:12 PM Re: Legal Challenges
ga.sparky56 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
An EC friend of mine told of a recent lawsuit by An EC against an inspectors ruling. EC "fixed" the "Violation" in order to get the job passed. He sued the County Inspection Dept challenging the inspector's ruling and for the cost of "fixing" the "Violation" plus court costs. The EC won and the inspector and his suprvisor were fired,and the court mandated code seminars and education for the inspection Dept.

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#25505 - 05/10/03 08:15 PM Re: Legal Challenges
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Rowdy,

Here in NJ I am an electrical inspector and I am the AHJ. Now when I go out to a job and see a violation, I have to quote the NEC chapter and verse to the electrical contractor (EC) why his job failed inspection. (Let me digress here for a moment. Most of the times I tell the contractor they fail and I don't actually quote the code section and it usually is a simple and small problem. The EC comes back and fixes it.) Sometimes an EC will challenge my call and ask me why he failed. I will then cite the code section and why I failed it. If he is not happy with my call, I always allow the EC to talk to me. Let him present his side of the story. Maybe he sees something that I don't. Or maybe there was something I missed. As a last resort, if an EC didn't like my call he can't go and sue me right out, he would have to take me to the Construction Court of Appeals. This is a county appointed board made up of 5 members. ( Usually 1 is a building inspector, 1 is a plumbing inspector, 1 is a fire inspector, 1 is an electrical inspector, and 1 is an engineer/architect/citizen.) This 5 person panel will listen to my side of the story and the EC's side of their story. Then the panel will make their decision and both the Inspector and the EC will have to follow their ruling. Now all this can fly out the window if a job passes/or fails and someone gets hurt in the meantime. Then the courts might have to get involved in a legal case.

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#25506 - 05/11/03 05:46 AM Re: Legal Challenges
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
When Vermont actually gains the manpower to have in depth inspections i guess i'll comment.

Until then there's really not a whole lot to challenge, save for the lack of inspections, which i already have fruitlessly done....

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#25507 - 05/11/03 08:47 AM Re: Legal Challenges
Electricmanscott Offline
Member

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
Rowdy, when you ask if there has been this kind of problem in other areas are you refering to the contractors challenging inspectors or the inspectors not correctly enforcing the NEC?

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#25508 - 05/11/03 09:54 AM Re: Legal Challenges
wocolt Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 117
Wow, I have never heard of these rulings going to court, usually we argue for a while but sometimes its just easier to make the change.
In Ohio, you can appeal to the State inspector for a ruling but that usually takes a while.
In my area the inspectors are pretty conscientious and are usually dead-on. I have heard 'horror' stories from other counties and states but we for the most part are pretty lucky.

WmColt

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#25509 - 05/11/03 10:00 AM Re: Legal Challenges
George Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/02
Posts: 380
In OK ---

The appeals boards rule on appeals within 30 days or the notice.

District Courts rule within 30 more days on appeals.

The times are not based on law but on practice.

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#25510 - 05/12/03 05:10 AM Re: Legal Challenges
wocolt Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 117
I think the big question here is if the job is held up because of an inspection and ensuing disaggreement, who pays for the late completion of the job.
Isnt this a 'Catch-22' as far as the EC goes, the contractor loses either way.,? I was involved in a dispute between a contractor and a homeowner, I was a witness, and it took the arbitrator 18 months to decide the case, it was a question of a couple thousand dollars. There were depositions, pictures to court a few times, all this is lost time the whole thing came down to He said,,, NO I said and when all was said and done the arbitrator took a year and a half to decide, the contractor finally got paid Not what the job was worth, and in the end lost money plus time lost going to and from court.
Is it really worth suing the inspector over a gig.

Wm.Colt

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#25511 - 05/12/03 05:51 AM Re: Legal Challenges
rowdyrudy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/02/02
Posts: 171
Loc: Mascoutah, IL USA
Many of the judgements have been based upon the claim of "malicious intent" on the part of the AHJ. One sad case from southern AL involved a AHJ who could not read. The county was nailed pretty good on this one. Usually, it requires a pattern of abuse before ligitation begins.

Rowdy

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