Arrogance, thy Name Is Real Estate Inspector

     SANTA MARIA, Calif. (CN) – A real estate inspector terrified a woman on a lonely ranch by trying to force his way into her house, and when she scared him off with a shotgun, the bank and its agents cost her a pending $2 million sale of the property, she claims in court.
     Jeremy W. Faith, Chapter 7 Trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Sonia Chantal Wisniewska, sued Wells Fargo Bank, Robert Newcomb, Premier Field Services and Lender Processing Services in Santa Barbara County Court for trespass, invasion of privacy and malicious prosecution.
     Wells Fargo, which holds the trust in Wisniewska’s secluded rural ranch house, hired Premier, Lender Processing Services and Newcomb to inspect it after Wisniewska accepted a $2 million offer by (nonparty) Robert Haugan, the complaint states. Haugan was to assume the First Deed of Trust held by Wells Fargo.
     “Defendants sent Mr. Newcomb to the remote ranch a number of times, but Mr. Newcomb could not enter because of a closed and locked gate on the edge of the ranch. On these instances, Mr. Newcomb did not leave a business card or any information stating that he sought to enter the ranch,” according to the lawsuit.
     Newcomb came again, without informing Wisniewska, on a Sunday at dusk when it was “particularly dark due to the time of year and the hills surrounding the remote ranch,” Wisniewska and Faith say in the complaint.
     Wisniewska arrived home in her large Dodge truck, entered her security code at the gate, and drove the half-mile to her ranch house.
     “Unbeknownst to Ms. Wisniewska, Mr. Newcomb pulled his small car behind her large truck into her blind spot, drove through the security gate and tailed her to the ranch house,” the complaint states.
     “Ms. Wisniewska arrived at her house and began to back into her driveway when she noticed Mr. Newcomb in his small car behind her truck. Mr. Newcomb then pulled around her truck and blocked Ms. Wisniewska’s truck. Ms. Wisniewska was very surprised and very frightened to see Mr. Newcomb.
     “Ms. Wisniewska did not give permission to Mr. Newcomb to enter the ranch.”
     Wisniewska asked Newcomb to identify himself and repeatedly told him to leave, but he refused to do either. Instead, he took photographs of the ranch and of Wisniewska. He approached her aggressively and told her he was going to enter her house, Wisniewska says in the lawsuit.
     “Ms. Wisniewska was frightened and afraid for her safety. Ms. Wisniewska continued to yell at Mr. Newcomb that she was frightened, that he needed to leave and warned him that she was going to get her shotgun. Mr. Newcomb continued to approach Ms. Wisniewska and told her he was going to enter her house,” according to the complaint.
     “Ms. Wisniewska went into her house and obtained her shotgun. Mr. Newcomb got back into his car and drove a short distance from the house. Mr. Newcomb then stopped the car and got out again. Ms. Wisniewska, now standing on her own front porch, again told Mr. Newcomb to get off her property and in a safe manner, directed away from Mr. Newcomb and toward open range on her ranch, fired a warning shot into the air.
     “Mr. Newcomb left the property. Mr. Newcomb then called the Santa Barbara County Sheriff and told them a lie – that Ms. Wisniewska had fired a shot and then pointed a shotgun at him.”
     Wisniewska was arrested and spent the night in jail, where the other inmates stripped her of some of her clothing. She was prosecuted for the felony charge of intentional discharge of a firearm with gross negligence that could have resulted in injury or death, but the charge was dismissed at a preliminary hearing. The court found that Wisniewska had acted in a reasonable manner under the circumstances, according to the complaint.
     But when Haugan heard about the charge he withdrew his offer to buy the property, according to the complaint.
     Wisniewska and Faith seek punitive damages on nine causes of action, including trespass, privacy invasion, malicious prosecution, intentional interference with contractual relations, negligent supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional stress.
     They are represented by Nikolai Lachowicz with Sethi Lachowicz in Los Angeles.
     Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

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