Q: I live in St. Louis, Mo. I sold my home over two months ago. The house was inspected thoroughly and passed.
The new owners is having sewage problems and now wants to sue me. Am I liable for anything that happens to the house?
A: I suggest that you have an attorney review your sale contract and seller's disclosure form, as well as any written demands from the buyers. You are liable if the buyers sue you and prove their claim or claims against you by a preponderence of the evidence. I have litigated failure-to-disclose cases for buyers. There are various causes of action that a buyer could pursue: breach of contract, violation of the Merchandising Practices Act (Missouri's consumer protection statute), and negligent or intentional misrepresention. Each cause of action has its own elements that a plaintiff must prove. I have a saying: "Ignorers get sued." Most of the failure-to-disclose cases in which I've been involved begin with the buyers' agent contacting the sellers' agent, who either ignores the communication or tells the buyers' agent to go pound sand. Then the sellers ignore my pre-litigation letter and get sued. At that point, it is much more expensive to deal with the matter than if the sellers would have hired an attorney to review the buyers' demand letter and to write a response explaining why the sellers do not believe they are liable for the post-closing problem.
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