The Sandberg Phoenix professional liability team has extensive experience representing accountants, attorneys, architects and engineers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate brokers and a wide range of other professionals. These attorneys believe the best way to avoid a professional liability case is to learn from the past, and they write extensively about previous cases, current issues and relevant topics relating to a very important subject in the Professional Liability Blog.

Your Case is Pending on Appeal? If Malpractice is a Concern, Don’t Forget to Disclose

Introduction In Bar Plan Mutual Ins. Co. v. Likes Law Office, LLC, 2015 WL 6023075 (Ind. App. Oct. 15, 2015) (No. 02A03–1502–CT–65), the Indiana Court of Appeals examined an attorney’s duty to disclose a potential claim when completing a malpractice insurance renewal application—particularly when an attorney has a favorable judgment from a state’s intermediate appellate…

Insurance Company Prevails after Denying Coverage for Attorney’s Wrongful Conduct

In Gandor v. Torus Nat’l Ins. Co., 2015 WL 6043621 (D. Mass. Oct. 15, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment finding there was no professional liability coverage for two underlying claims stemming from an attorney’s alleged malpractice in handling his client’s appeal of a…

When Preparing Tax Returns Equals an Illegal Recommendation to Utilize Tax Shelters: The Limits of Professional Liability Coverage

Introduction Concurrent causation can be a tricky doctrine to apply, but nonetheless is important in determining whether professional liability insurance will cover a claim. Generally speaking, concurrent causation mandates coverage if two causes—one covered by a policy, the other excluded by a policy—contribute to a loss. But, this simple formulation is not as straightforward as…

Lawyers Mixing Legal Counsel with Business Interests? Not So Fast

Introduction In Burk & Reedy, LLP v. Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co., 89 F.Supp.3d 1(D.D.C. 2015), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia examined a professional liability insurer’s duty to defend when the insured attorney is involved in both the legal and business aspects of a failed transaction. The case serves as…

Taylor v. Bar Plan (Mo. 2015): A Reminder About the Outer Limits of Professional Liability Insurance

INTRODUCTION This past March, the Missouri Supreme Court had occasion to review whether an insurance policy would cover certain malpractice claims against an insured attorney who was found liable for breaching certain fiduciary duties owed to the client. See Taylor v. Bar Plan Mut. Ins. Co., 457 S.W.3d 340 (Mo. banc 2015). Though the Supreme…

Arbitration: Not So Confidential After All?

Introduction Arbitration is a powerful tool for those involved in a professional malpractice action—an area of liability that, despite numerous state efforts, can still be resolved using alternative dispute resolution. See, e.g., Triad Health Management of Georgia, III, LLC v. Johnson, 679 S.E.2d 785, 789 (Ga. App. 2009) (statute providing that “no agreement to arbitrate…

I Want My Money Back: Fraud by Insured Results in Rare Attorney’s Fee Claw-Back Award for Insurance Company

They say fraud doesn’t pay—or, at least they say that about crime.  Anyway, it sure didn’t pay in the case of Protection Strategies, Inc. v. Starr Indem. & Liab. Co., in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed that an insurance company should get its money back from the company it…

Wyoming Court Sides with Minors in Striking Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims

In 1976, the Wyoming legislature enacted two statutes that effectively required all persons, including minors, to bring a medical malpractice claim within two years of treatment. The statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims by minors required suit to be brought by the minor’s eighth birthday or within two years of the alleged act, error,…

Tennessee court says defense counsel for medical entity can communicate ex parte with non-party treating physicians employed by entity, which has independent right to discuss patient treatment with its own employees

In Hall v. Crenshaw, 449 S.W.3d 463 (Tenn. App. 2014), a plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Johnson Clinic, among other defendants, alleging wrongful death arising out of treatment rendered to the plaintiff’s decedent. Plaintiff sought the depositions of two physicians employed by the Clinic who had treated decedent during the relevant timeframe but…

Withdraw! Withdraw! Withdraw! Redux

Attorneys can run afoul of the rules of professional conduct in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways is by ignoring a client’s matter. The Ohio Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recently sanctioned an attorney for just that. On review, the Ohio Supreme Court then upheld the majority of the…

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