here about three employee overtime class actions affecting the Colorado AMC filed on behalf of "timeline managers," "valuation managers" and "quality reviewers." Then it was LandSafe Appraisal. In April, I wrote an article about a newly filed overtime lawsuit by staff appraisers against that company.
There is definitely now a small wave of overtime litigation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) affecting businesses in valuation-related fields. The industry has become an easy target for such claims because of the tendency of businesses in this industry to classify their line staff, whether they are doing appraisals, quality review work or analysis of mortgage files, as professionals or administrative management and thus exempt from overtime. The problem is that these exemptions under the FLSA often cannot be supported for such work functions.
The latest industry defendant to be named as a defendant in an alleged overtime class action is a company called Interthinx, Inc., which describes itself as a "provider of comprehensive risk mitigation solutions focusing on mortgage fraud, collateral risk and valuation, regulatory compliance, forensic loan audit services, loss mitigation, and loss forecasting." This lawsuit was filed in federal court in Colorado on May 9 by a current employee Celeste Shaw, who performs mortgage loan auditing in Interthinx's Colorado Springs office. Her attorneys seek to go forward with the case as a class action on behalf of an undetermined number of other employees throughout the U.S. who perform similar functions. She alleges that "the estimated damages involved
in these claims will exceed $5,000,000" among the potential class
members. On behalf of that class, she alleges in her complaint:
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Because some AMCs still wrongheadedly insist that appraisers do it, we are asked this question a lot: "should I attach my E&O declarations page to my appraisal report?" The answer is always the same: it's a bad idea. It's bad for both the appraiser and the client/AMC. It is perfectly reasonable for a client or an AMC to ask for proof of E&O insurance and ask to receive updated insurance information each year. That's common to many professions, but there is no good reason to require that the information be included within or attached to appraisal reports. (Lawyers like myself certainly don't attach proof of insurance to our opinion letters or legal briefs.)
Why is it a wrongheaded practice?