Obermayer Attorneys Matthew Green and Samantha Koopman Successfully Defend Frederick Group, LLC and Frederick M. Lesavoy

August 28, 2019

Congratulations to Matthew Green and Samantha Koopman on their recent win representing real estate appraiser their clients, the Frederick Group, LLC and Frederick M. Lesavoy. The Superior Court recently affirmed the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas’ grant of their clients’ preliminary objections and dismissal in the matter Atiyeh, et al. v. the Frederick Group, LLC, et al.

After the City of Allentown initiated an eminent domain proceeding against the plaintiffs’ property and after such proceeding was settled, the plaintiffs filed a negligence action against Frederick Group, LLC and Frederick M. Lesavoy, who were retained by the City of Allentown to prepare an appraisal report on behalf of the City in the eminent domain proceeding.  The plaintiffs’ claims were based on plaintiffs’ contention that the appraisal provided by Frederick Group, LLC and Frederick M. Lesavoy to the City was negligently performed.

Matthew Green and Samantha Koopman argued that their clients were immune from civil liability for their appraisal report and that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the economic loss doctrine because the plaintiffs only alleged economic harm. Although the trial court sustained the preliminary objections on both grounds, the trial court granted the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint to assert economic damages.

After the plaintiffs filed their amended complaint, Matthew Green and Samantha Koopman re-filed the preliminary objections and argued that there had  been no change in the controlling law regarding the witness immunity doctrine and that the plaintiffs still failed to allege economic harm.  The trial court sustained dismissed the action with prejudice. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that their claims were sufficient and that the trial court erred in dismissing the case on the basis of the economic loss doctrine.

As Matthew Green and Samantha Koopman addressed in their appellee brief, the plaintiffs made no argument that the trial court erred in dismissing their claims on the basis of the witness immunity doctrine, which was a separate and independent objection apart from the economic loss doctrine.  The Superior Court agreed with our attorneys’ position and affirmed the trial court’s decision on the basis of the witness immunity doctrine. In a footnote, the Superior Court also held that the trial court’s dismissal on the basis of the economic loss doctrine was proper.