I represent an appraiser who was accused of inflating the value of a home in Cleveland to secure a mortgage. The home was subject to foreclosure, and the homeowner sued several parties, including my client, alleging that the parties were involved in a predatory lending scheme. Although my client appraised the home at its proper market value, he was sued for fraud, civil conspiracy, violation of the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act (Ohio’s version of the federal RICO Act), and violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act.
After over five years of discovery and motion practice, the case went to trial last week. I successfully persuaded the Court to exclude evidence and testimony offered by the Plaintiff, including the testimony of Plaintiff’s expert appraiser, who failed to provide an opinion of a comparative market value of the subject house as of the date my client performed his appraisal. Without such comparative evidence, I argued, the expert’s opinion had no evidentiary value. The Court agreed. I also established through four days of cross-examination of the Plaintiff’s witnesses that there was no evidence to support the claims against my client.
At the close of the Plaintiff’s case, the trial judge granted my motion for a Directed Verdict, holding that my client was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Under Ohio Civil Rule 50, the judge evaluated all of the evidence presented in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Even under that standard, it was held that a reasonable jury could only find in my client’s favor.
I will continue to handle this case through any appeal.