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07 July 2004
The Supreme Court stated that by answering questions in his field of expertise, an expert may be liable to a non-contractual party in an indirect relationship. It follows from this that an expert who provides an expert opinion to the principal enters into an indirect relationship with a third party who becomes aware of that opinion, as long as the expert is aware of the fact that the principal will pass on the expert opinion.
In the case at hand the architect knew that the valuation would be passed on
to a bank. The plaintiffs received the valuation two years later. According
to the Supreme Court, the architect could not have excluded the possibility that his
valuation would be seen by a third party in any other context at a later date.
However, the Supreme Court decided that the mere possibility of a third party
taking note of the valuation was not sufficient to establish liability for breach
of trust. The architect was not required to anticipate that a valuation provided
for mortgage purposes would be used two years later in order to sell the property. The
Supreme Court left open the question of whether the valuation could have been
a basis of trust for the recipient bank if the bank had made adverse arrangements
due to misrepresentations in the valuation.
For further information on this topic please contact Markus Doerig or Philipp Schaller at Badertscher Doerig Poledna by telephone (+41 1 266 20 66) or by fax (+41 1 266 60 70) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Badertscher Doerig Poledna website can be accessed at www.bdp.ch.
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