Law.com – Insurer Blames N.J. Lawyer for Blot on Title
Suit shows that rubber-stamping title commitments can be dangerous
New Jersey Law Journal
June 16, 2009
A venerable title insurance company has done something unusual in New Jersey, and lawyers aren’t likely to applaud.
Chicago Title Insurance Co. filed a malpractice claim against a homebuyer’s attorney, saying he acted without diligence and owes a piece of the $300,000 the company paid to save a policyholder’s home.
The Bergen County suit charged Albert Birchwale, of Basile, Birchwale & Pellino in Ridgefield, N.J., failed to investigate a previous sale in the chain of ownership to make sure there was no potential federal estate tax lien.
Veteran real estate lawyers say that they’ve heard of suits by title insurers against lawyers who weren’t diligent but that this is the first they know of to allege an attorney failed to research previous sales in the property’s history — a job usually thought to be the role of title professionals.
Chicago Title, founded in 1849, is part of a conglomerate with 30 percent of the national title insurance market.
On Friday, Chicago Title said through its lawyer that the company had decided to voluntarily dismiss the case, Chicago Title Insurance Company v. Birchwale, Ber-L-483-09, but didn’t backtrack from the position that the claim has merit.
Read the full text of this article here.
Think this action will cost Chicago Title any business from lawyers….duh?