TORTS – Defective title search claim, damages, attorney fees: Hamilton v. Trans Union Settlement Solutions, Inc. (COA 8/14/2009)

Hamilton v. Trans Union Settlement Solutions, Inc.
2008-CA-001475 8/14/09 2009 WL 2475430

Opinion by Senior Judge Lambert; Judges Clayton and Thompson concurred.

The Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings a judgment of the circuit court granting appellants recovery on their claims against appellee related to a title examination in which it failed to discover a land use restriction in a deed. The Court first held that the trial court’s determination that appellee breached its duty to exercise ordinary care in its examination of the title to the real property was not erroneous. The Court next held that the trial court did not err in calculating the damages that arose from the defective title abstract prepared in connection with a loan. The Court then held that the trial court lacked discretion to punish appellants by deducting their negotiated recovery of interest and attorneys’ fees from the compensatory award to which they were entitled for what the trial court believed to have been improperly collected interest and attorneys’ fees through negotiations with other parties. If the court believed that appellants, their attorneys or other parties behaved contemptuously or unethically, other remedies were available.

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