Industry News

Appraisers to have their day in court

Judge says AppraisalPort lawsuit can proceed

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Appraisers who claim FNC Inc.'s AppraisalPort service mined their electronic reports to build a database of online property information are entitled to their day in court, a federal district judge has ruled, rejecting an argument by FNC that users of the service agreed to arbitrate any disputes.FNC Inc. argued that three appraisal firms that filed suit against the company in May 2007 accepted user agreements that included binding arbitration clauses. The user agreements appeared in pop-up boxes when the appraisers started using the AppraisalPort service, which allows lenders to order property valuations online.Attorneys for the three appraisal firms -- who are seeking class-action status to represent other appraisers -- successfully argued that two user agreements employed by FNC Inc. between 2000 and 2005 were superseded by a third agreement, which did not include a binding arbitration clause. In denying FNC Inc.'s motion to force the firms to submit to arbitration, Judge Robert Titus...