Pushback: Home appraiser sues professors who called him racist without evidence – Behind The Black – Robert Zimmerman

Bring a gun to a knife fight: A home appraiser, Shane Lanham, who was publicly accused by two Johns Hopkins professors, Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott, of being a bigot and racist by valuing their home less because they are black, has now filed a countersuit, noting that the accusation was based on data so faulty “a first-year undergraduate” would immediately reject it.

[T]heir claims would fail to pass basic academic muster if treated as scholarship, Lanham argued in his counterclaim, which includes a suit for defamation. The racism claims achieved national coverage such as in ABC News. The resulting allegations have harmed Lanham’s business and reputation, according to the lawsuit.

“Dr. Connolly and Dr. Mott’s ill-conceived ‘experiment’ involving different appraisers, a seven-month gap, and intervening changes in market conditions would not withstand even basic scrutiny in the serious academic environment in which they work,” Lanham’s counterclaim stated. The lawsuit noted that the professors “failed to disclose the sale of the similar house next door to their home that sold only a month after Mr. Lanham and 20/20 Valuations’ appraisal for $7,000 less than the amount of the appraisal.”

You can read Lanham’s countersuit here [pdf]. He is requesting, at a minimum, $250K in compensatory damages and $250K in punitive damages.

This story began when Connolly and Mott asked Lanham (who is white) and his company, 20/20 Valuations, to appraise their house. When they were unhappy with his appraisal, they decided to get another appraisal, but this time do what they themselves called a ““whitewashing experiment.”…

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