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Shifting The Burden

After our clients’ house sustained significant damage from a burst pipe, they retained a public adjuster to negotiate the best possible settlement with their insurance company. Since the homeowners had already received an offer of $230,000 from the carrier, our clients agreed to pay the public adjuster 10% of any amount recovered above $230,000.

The adjuster obtained an additional settlement from the carrier of $6,359.50 (for a total of $236,359.50). Instead of sending my clients a bill for $635.95, he sued them to recover $23,635, which was 10% of the entire amount. We moved for summary judgment, arguing that the agreement was clear and unambiguous.

In granting our motion for summary judgment, the Judge noted that we made out a prima facie case for the relief; therefore, the burden shifted to the public adjuster to bring forth admissible facts to defeat our motion. The Judge then concluded that the public adjuster’s arguments were “self-serving”, “conclusory”, and “bald”. After the Judge dismissed the complaint, the parties settled our clients’ counterclaim for fraud.

Silver Decision

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