Monday, October 1, 2012

Word of the Month for October 2012: Due Diligence

definition legal words
A little while ago I was over at the public library and as I was minding my own business, I was witness to a rather loud conversation between a mother and her son.  Seems son had a big test the next day and mother was grinding into him the fact that had he spent more time studying and less time playing that he would not now be sweating his upcoming test.  Interesting how this concept of preparation seems to creep up in everyday life - if you do some prep work before the "test,"  you won't be sweating the details later.  It is with this thought that brings us the word of the month.

The word for this month is DUE DILIGENCE.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, due diligence is the diligence reasonably smack hit head hard objectsexpected from a person who seeks to satisfy a legal requirement.  A failure to exercise due diligence may sometimes result in liability and may also bring on a serious case of the stupids causing you to want to thump your head against hard objects.

This definition comes to us in the form of a couple who bought a house.  Seems they bought the house across the way from a dog kennel.  Actually, they didn't know there was a dog kennel across the way because when visited the house, there were only a couple of dogs on the lot and they were, apparently, not making a whole lot of noise.

dog bark loudThe problem was it never occurred to them to ask about dogs or noise and, apparently, no one thought to tell them about dogs or noise and, in fact, they didn't actually visit their new house but maybe once or twice so they didn't actually get a good feel for the place until after they plunked down their hard, earned cash.

Imagine their surprise, and chagrin, when the full doggie orchestra got together and started their daily performances.  Needless to say, the couple was none too happy.  Yes, the Broker should have told them something.  Yes, the former owner should have said something.  They didn't and the couple moved in and, well...that's how lawsuits get started.

Thing is, when I bought my house, I visited the neighborhood in question during the day, at night, on the weekends, and on holidays.  I checked things out as much as I could because that's what people do (or should do) before plunking down cash for stuff.  They do their "due diligence" before trouble starts.  Get it?  If the concept is still a bit fuzzy, head on over to your local county law library and take a look at California Real Property Sales Transactions (CEB) or American Jurisprudence: State and Federal, 2nd Ed. (West).  Those'll get you going in the right direction.

In any event, I suspect the moral to this when it doubt, check everything out yourself and don't trust anyone.  Kick the tires, slam the doors, and ask lots and lots of questions.  An exception might be made for your local county law librarian because they're there to help you look better than you did when you came through the door.  Yeah, they are that good!