Judge Dismisses Home Inspector's Suit

December 2, 2013

A judge dismissed a lawsuit that was filed by a home inspector who accused a real estate agent of calling him a “total idiot” in an e-mail sent to more than 400 other real estate professionals. 

Home inspector Matthew Steinhausen sued a Seward, Neb., real estate agent and her company over the alleged remarks. In the lawsuit, Steinhausen argued the remarks were libelous and hurt his business’ reputation. He was asking the court for more than $50,000 in damages. 

In dismissing the lawsuit, the judge said the comments were protected by the First Amendment. The judge also said the e-mail only went out to a closed company list and that Steinhausen had failed to show malice in the comments allegedly made by real estate agent Shelly Nitz of Woods Brothers Realty and HomeServices of Nebraska. 

According to court documents about the case, Nitz had been asked about Steinhausen’s services by agents at her company and in an e-mail allegedly responded: "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."

Source: “Neb. lawsuit filed over 'idiot' comment dismissed,” KLKN-TV ABC 8 (Nov. 29, 2013)

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