Home Inspector Sues Agent for Calling Him ‘Total Idiot’

January 18, 2012

A Lincoln, Neb., area housing inspector says he resents being described as a “total idiot” in an e-mail that was reportedly sent to more than 400 real estate agents, and he’s suing a real estate agent and her company for the name-calling. 

According to the lawsuit, home inspector Matthew Steinhausen alleges that real estate agent Shelly Nitz was asked for feedback from agents at her company, Wood Bros. Realty and HomeServices of Nebraska, about Steinhausen. 

In response, Steinhausen says in court documents that Nitz responded in an e-mail to the 400 or so agents: "He did an inspection in Seward for the agent that sold one of my listings. I will never let him near one of my listings ever again. Total idiot."

In the defamation lawsuit, Steinhausen says the comment has greatly hurt his business and has resulted in more than $50,000 in damages.

"When I lose work because of a falsehood e-mailed en masse accusing me of being an idiot, it's infuriating," Steinhausen told the Lincoln Journal Star. Steinhausen told the Lincoln Journal Star that he felt Nitz was upset over an August 2008 inspection he did of one of her listings that she may have felt was overly critical. 

Nitz and HomeServices have declined to comment publicly on the lawsuit.

Source: “Nebraskan Sues over 'Total Idiot' Description,” Associated Press (Jan. 17, 2012) and “Idiot Comment Spurs Lawsuit,” The Lincoln Journal Star (Jan. 17, 2012)

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