“Gratuitous Undertaking” Lawsuit

Here is an interesting decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals that discusses the liability of a property appraiser who told the plaintiff that “‘he could not himself perform the appraisal’ but [said] that ‘he would find another appraiser and would supervise and review that appraiser’s work.'” Well, the appraisal was wrong and the “supervising appraiser,” who did not charge for his work, was sued.

The Court reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the “supervising appraiser,” holding that there was a jury issue on the nature of the relationship between the parties and the extent of the movant’s role in the transaction.

Although this case was decided under Massachusetts law, I bring it to your attention because Tennessee has a number of recent decisions on the issue of “gratuitious undertaking.” (For example, see Biscan v. Brown here and cases cited therein.) Massachusetts law on the subject is a little different than Tennessee law, but the opinion is a nice refresher on the topic.