Legal Malpractice Claim Denied

Navigators Insurance has denied a claim for a troubled law firm for not disclosing that it had two claims against it during their policy renewal process. The case reinforces that omissions on an insurance application can lead to the policy being rescinded or claims being denied.

Contact ProtectLawyers.com today to better document your insurance and application history.

New Jersey Firm Sued for $4.5M

A New Jersey law firm is being sued for $4.5M, the cost their client claims bad advice cost them. The firm had recommended involuntary bankruptcy petition to collect a debt, which was later dismissed.

Contact ProtectLawyers.com today to discuss better protecting your firm in a hardening market.

California to enact CPA mobility law

On September 20th, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed into law a provision that allows CPAs outside the state of California to practice in California without the need to first obtain a California license or register with the California Board of Accountancy.  Already, Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia  have such laws and this is being viewed favorably by CPAs.  The law takes effect July 1st, 2013.

While this law directly impacts accountants, ProtectLawyers.com reminds clients that laws, standards and rules are often changing.  Firms must continually update their knowledge base to avoid allegations of malpractice. Contact us to discuss further how to best protect your firm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neglect and lies lead to license suspension of Indiana lawyer

An Indiana lawyer was found guilty of neglecting to provide competent and timely representation and lying to cover it up.  In 2008, Janice Gambill was engaged to file a legal malpractice case in Illinois.  Instead, she filed a personal injury case in Indiana.  Only after being pressed on the matter did the attorney finally file a legal malpractice case – but this was also in Indiana and it was a year and a half after the initial request.

ProtectLawyers.com urges clients to maintain systems and diaries that prevent cases from being overlooked or  going unattended.  It is also important for cases to have periodic peer review to prevent deadlines and errors from arising. Contact us today to discuss how to better protect your firm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawyer acting as mortgage broker denied insurance coverage

In April of 2012, a Connecticut appellate court ruled that an exclusion in a lawyers professional liability insurance policy was strong enough to preclude the insurance company from providing a defense in a lawsuit.   The lawsuit alleged that a lawyer made errors while acting both as a lawyer and as a mortgage broker in a real estate transaction.  The lawyer was also the owner of a mortgage brokerage and was representing both sides of a transaction at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.  The exclusion stated that any “activities as an officer, director, partner, manager, or employee of any company, corporation, operation, or association” other than the named insured would be excluded.

This highlights the need for a firm to understand exactly what is covered and what is NOT covered under their professional liability insurance.  Calculated Risk Advisors warns that an improper understanding of their insurance may lead to a gap in coverage.  Contact a broker at ProtectLawyers.com today for an in-depth coverage analysis of your firm’s activities and insurance needs.

Policy exclusion precludes coverage for six claims for law firm Baylor & Jackson

When law firm Baylor & Jackson submitted six claims to its professional liability insurance carrier (Navigators Insurance Company), the insurance company had some concerns.  Each of the six claims dealt with a single set of circumstances revolving around two partners having misappropriated client funds.  The Navigator’s insurance policy had an exclusion for such misuse and sought a court order relieving them of any duty to defend or indemnify the claims.  The court agreed with this and ruled that the law firm was without insurance for these six matters.  It is important to point out that the law firm also knew of two additional potential claims that it failed to report on its application – effectively allowing the insurance company to void the policy for misrepresentation had the court ruled differently.

Calculated Risk Advisors explains that a professional liability insurance policy is non-standard, unregulated and varies company to company.  The danger in not understanding your firm’s policy – or using a broker that is not familiar with such policies – is an uncovered claim.  Calculated Risk Advisors also reminds clients to report all potential claims prior to the inurance renewal date.

Contact a licensed broker today for a review of your firm’s policy.

Three year litigation ends in $25M settlement over Ponzi scheme

Holland & Knight has agreed to pay $25M to settle a litigation ongoing for three years.  The original lawsuit alleged that Holland & Knight missed red flag while working for hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel, who was later found to be operating a Ponzi scheme.  The receiver of the assets claims that had the law firm not missed the red flags, the Ponzi scheme would have been discovered earlier.

Calculated Risk Advisors reminds clients that obtaining proper professional liability insurance will help protect against claims, settlements and defense costs.  Contact a broker at ProtectLawyers.com today if you have questions about your  firm’s insurance and whether the limits your firm carries are adequate.

A lawyer’s highest risk? Real estate claims, reports the ABA.

In a report released by the American Bar Association (ABA), real estate malpractice claims were listed as the most frequent type of claim brought against law firms.  The report looked at 53,000 insurance claims from years 2008-2011.  The activity most likely to generate a real estate claim were errors in the “preparation, filing, and transmittal of documents.”    Personal injury-plaintiff and family law were the second and third most frequent types of claims against lawyers, according to the report.

Calculated Risk Advisors explains that insurance companies have already know these results and have been acting on them.  Law firms with an exposure to real estate law have already felt pressure in their pricing and coverage.  In these cases, it is important to stay ahead of the marketplace and be proactive when an insurance policy renews. Contact a  broker today to discuss how to better position your firm during these times.

Suit-for-fees leads to a counter-suit over a highly publicized matter

WestPark Capital Inc. – an investment banking firm – has been in the news recently for their underwriting of five Chinese companies.  These Chinese companies went public on an American stock exchanges and were subsequently the object of a lawsuit claiming accounting fraud.  Adding to the complexity of the case, Wilk Auslander – the law firm performing securities work for these companies on behalf of WestPark – was not being paid for their work.  Wilk Auslander sued for $250,000 in unpaid fees.  It  has recently emerged that Westpark is counter-suing, alleging that Wilk Auslander performed unnecessary services during the engagement.

Calculated Risk Advisors would like to remind clients of two important risk management points this matter brings up:

First – have a clear engagement letter that outlines the work to be done and the fees associated with the work – especially when the work is non-standard or high risk.

Second – be cautious when suing for fees as many suits for fees lead to counter suits.  It is important to make sure that such counter suits are covered by a firm’s insurance policy since many policies exclude such activity.

Contact a licensed broker today at ProtectLawyers.com if you have questions regarding engagement letter usage or whether your policy covers counter suits.