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Termite Legal Issues for Attorneys

Termites are a serious threat to real property in virtually every state (except Alaska), if you run a civil law practice chances are you will come across a termite case at some point in your career.  Whether your client is a pest control company being sued by an irate customer, an angry property owner, or a real estate agent seeking your help for a deal gone awry this page should serve as a good starting point to being able to assist your client.

Most states have tight regulation of the termite control industry.  Each state has a designated agency in charge of enforcing termite industry laws.  For example the State of California regulatory agency is the California Structural Control Board.  To familiarize yourself with the law in your state you can contact your state’s agency.  Most of the agencies have web pages with detail information on their laws.   You can find the law in your state by proceeding to the State Law page.

FIND THE LAW IN YOUR STATE

On your state’s termite law page you’ll find information on your state’s controlling agency, a selection of relevant state law, and landmark termite cases from your state’s courts.

Client is a Property Owner

When your client is the owner of the property in a termite case it is important to familiarize yourself with the potential causes of actions that may be available.  The following are just some of the suits brought by termite afflicted property owners.
Potential Causes of Action

  1. Negligence
  2. Strict Liability
  3. Breach of Contract
  4. Misrepresentation/Fraud
  5. Violations of Code
  6. Breach of Warranty

It may be helpful to see the law in your state before deciding which causes of action are available to your client.

Client is a Pest Control Professional

When your client is a pest control professional the causes of action relate more to a failure to properly treat the plaintiff’s property than any culpability for causing the infestation.  Pest control professionals face potential liability in many forms they have been sued for failing to get rid of an infestation as promised to the plaintiff, not living up to their warranty of service, causing illness by the discharge of chemicals and in a few sensational cases property damage caused by negligent discharge of flammable chemicals.

Because the pest control industry is so tightly regulated in most states, it may be possible to determine whether your client acted negligently by looking to your state’s standards and regulations for pest control professionals.  As you are probably aware accordance with state regulations is strong evidence that no negligence occurred but it is by no means a complete barrier to all liability.
Potential Causes of Action

  1. Negligence
  2. Strict Liability
  3. Breach of Contract
  4. Fraud/Misrepresentation
  5. Violations of Code
  6. Breach of Warranty
-Find The Law in your State-
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