Professional Liability Matters

All articles by Professional Liability Matters

 

Seeking Your Nomination

Attention blog readers! This year, the ABA Journal is publishing their first ever “Web 100” celebrating the best of the legal industry on the web. In order to be named, we’ll need your help. For years, Professional Liability Matters has been your source for trends, regulations, decisions, and breaking news impacting the professional liability community. Our goal is — and always has been — to educate you about the professional liability landscape and provide resources to help professionals avoid pitfalls and to defend those professionals in the event of a lawsuit. If you feel Professional Liability Matters is one of the best legal blogs today, click here to nominate us.  The nomination deadline for the contest is July 30th.  

Employer Guidance on Mental Health Disorders

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in five US adults experiences mental illness in a given year. In a recent article authored by PL Matters contributor Dove A.E. Burns, the “prevalence of these disorders has a significant impact upon the workplace and upon employers and their accommodation policies and procedures.” The New York Law Journal article evaluates the EEOC’s publication titled “Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.” The article also considers what the EEOC's guidance means for employers navigating the ADA landscape.  

Family Feud leads to Privity Lesson

A somewhat bizarre family feud presents an interesting evaluation of the general requirement of privity in order to maintain a legal malpractice claim. Consider the circumstances of when an attorney is appointed by the court to administer an estate. Who is the client? A Kansas appellate court examined this situation in Schroeder v. Brewer, 2017 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 101 (Kan. Ct. App. Feb. 17, 2017) which addresses whether an attorney may be held liable for legal malpractice while representing an Estate “against” the beneficiaries of the estate.  

Blown Deadline = $850,000

Ugh…deadlines. Many classes of professionals are bound by deadlines. Attorneys are no different. Pleading requirements, discovery responses, motions, hearings and other proceedings must all be calendared to ensure that an attorney meets all deadlines. In fact, an easy path to malpractice is to miss a deadline. A recent New Jersey verdict highlights the importance of complying with deadlines and maintaining clear and open communication.  

Liability for Inadvertent Metadata Disclosure

In the modern practice of law, attorneys are expected to be familiar with discovery of electronically stored information. Often this involves the production of files in their native format, which preserves metadata such as the document author, dates of creation and alterations, and where the document was stored. Production of electronic information thus facilitates document review, but also could lead to the disclosure of information that is beyond the scope of permissible discovery.  

We Need Your Vote! Round 2

Hello, blog readers! We told you last month that Professional Liability Matters has been nominated in The Expert Institute’s “2015 Best Legal Blog Contest.” We have good news to share: We’ve made it to round 2!  

We Need Your Vote!

Attention blog readers! We are proud to announce that Professional Liability Matters has been nominated in The Expert Institute’s “2015 Best Legal Blog Contest.” To be officially named one of the best legal blogs, we’ll need your help! There is a two-step process to this contest: first, blogs need to be nominated by our readers. Then, the blogs that receive the most nominations make it to the voting round. So, if you’d like to nominate Professional Liability Matters, click here for the official submission form! …  

The Latest Professional Liability Decisions – Goldberg Segalla’s Professional Liability Monthly Now Available

Please click here for the latest edition of  Professional Liability Monthly. Goldberg Segalla’s Professional Liability Monthly provides timely analysis of court decisions from across the country concerning professional liability. Cases are organized by topic, and where available, hyperlinks to the full decisions are included. In addition, we highlight the latest news impacting the professional liability community. If you would like to receive future editions of Professional Liability Monthly directly by email, please contact Brian Biggie at[email protected].…  

Professional Liability Monthly – March Edition is Now Available

Case analysis in this edition of Professional Liability Monthly include:
  • Court Refuses Design Professional’s Bid to Avoid Liability Reliant on Future Inspection or Approvals
  • A Plaintiff’s Complaint Alleging Defamation and Violations of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act Is Stricken Under the Absolute Litigation Privilege
  • Pennsylvania Enacts Benevolent-Gesture Bill Into Law
  • Evidence of Informed Consent Inadmissible in Medical Malpractice Case
  • Case of First Impression: Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Bring Malicious Prosecution/Vexatious Litigation Actions Against Attorneys and Attorneys’ Clients
  • Court Finds Theory of Apparent Agency Applicable
 

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – March 2014 Edition

The below cases correspond with the March edition of Professional Liability Monthly and the analysis of each case. Click here to access to the newsletter. Cases are provided courtesy of LexisNexis. Brady v. Urbas Granger Constr. Co. v. G.C. Fire Prot. Sys. Meyers, Harrison & Pia, LLC v. Riella Ntumbanzondo v. Bang Chau Scalise v. Cummings & Lockwood, LLC Schlump v. Pabst Wojeck v. Latimer Point Condo. Ass’n, 

Are Law Firm Advertisements Covered?

All insurance policies are not created equal. Some policies contain exclusions that many professional may not expect. Take for example a recent decision that evaluated whether a law firm’s advertising practices were covered under a D&O policy. In Rob Levine & Associates, Ltd. v. Travelers Casualty, a Rhode Island federal court considered whether conduct relating to Internet and television advertisements was considered “professional services.”  

D&O Suits Reach Historic High: Economy to Blame?

The fallout from the 2007-2010 economic downturn is behind us, right? Nope; not so for the professional malpractice community in light of the many lawsuits arising from the recent market collapse. In fact, lawsuits relating to 2007-10 bank collapses in particular have increased dramatically and the primary targets are executives. According to a February 13, 2014 report which is available here, litigation against directors and officers of failed banks reached an all-time high in 2013. To make matters worse, many of those directors were forced to reach into their own pockets to absorb the costs.  

Special Edition: Professional Liability Monthly Compendium 2013

Click here for this special edition of the Professional Liability Monthly Compendium 2013. We have compiled all the Featured Articles from the past year along with the year’s most popular blog posts.. For your convenience, we have linked each author’s name in the newsletter to their online biographies in the event you would like more information regarding the article or post. We encourage you to share the publication with your colleagues. If others in your organization are interested in receiving the publication, please contact…  

Professional Liability Monthly – December Edition is Now Available

Featured headlines in this edition of Professional Liability Monthly:
  • No Breach of Fiduciary Duty Where the Plaintiff Alleged That the Defendant Insurance Agency Procured an Inadequate Policy
  • Disclosure of Medical Records From Patients Other Than the Plaintiff Denied by Court
  • Improper Reference to Smoking History in Medical Malpractice Case Leads to New Trial
  • Expert Gastroenterologist Should Have Been Permitted to Testify as to Causation
  • Dispute Over Date of Discovery of Actionable Harm Prevents Defendants From Obtaining Summary Judgment
  • A Defendant’s Counterclaim Alleging Legal Malpractice
 

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – December 2013 Edition

The below cases correspond with the December edition of Professional Liability Monthly and the analysis of each case. Click here for access to the newsletter. Cases are provided courtesy of LexisNexis. BECK & BECK, LLC v. COSTELLO LYKES V. YATES MICHAUD V. HAUSER SEVEN BRIDGES FOUND v. WILSON AGENCY SUTCH V. ROXBOROUGH MEM’L HOSPITAL WARD V. RAMSEY  …  

Professional Liability Monthly – October Edition is Now Available

The October edition of Professional Liability Monthly is now available for download. Please click the continue reading link below to access the newsletter.  

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – October 2013 Edition

The below cases correspond with the October edition of Professional Liability Monthly and the analysis of each case.  

A-Rod Sues Yankees Doc For Malpractice

In the midst of his appeal of a 211-game suspension arising from the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, Alex Rodriguez just filed the anticipated malpractice suit against a Yankees’ team physician. Professional Liability Matters posted of the rumblings of a malpractice suit in August. Now, the other shoe dropped. Although the allegations are serious, many speculate that A-Rod’s real goal of this lawsuit is to distract from A-Rod’s steroid controversy and to deflect blame.  

A Significant Blow to Med-Mal Reform

Medical malpractice reform has been on virtually ever state’s legislative agenda for the past several years as a result of a concerted effort by the defense bar and public interest groups to insulate physicians from frivolous suits. In an effort to curb rising healthcare costs, a variety of legislation imposing prerequisites on medical malpractice suits has been passed by a number of states. Rather than simply imposing damages "caps," some states are getting creative with their reform legislation. However, a recent decision by a Florida federal judge dealt a major blow to those efforts.  

Professional Liability Monthly – July Edition is Now Available

For a free copy of this month’s edition of Professional Liability Monthly, click here. To be added to our circulation list, where you will receive this publication for free each month via email, please contact Brian Biggie at [email protected].…  

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – July 2013 Edition

Cases provided courtesy of LexisNexis.  

Professional Liability Monthly – June Edition is Now Available

For a free copy of this month’s edition of Professional Liability Monthly, click here. To be added to our circulation list, where you will receive this publication for free each month via email, please contact Brian Biggie at [email protected]  

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – June 2013 Edition

Cases provided courtesy of LexisNexis.  

The “Loss of Chance” Debate Continues

A recent decision provides hope for supporters of the “loss of chance” doctrine and further fuels the debate. Pursuant to this controversial doctrine, which has now been adopted in 23 states, a plaintiff may recover damages from a defendant due to a heightened risk of injury, even if the plaintiff cannot prove causation. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently joined those courts embracing the doctrine in the medical malpractice context. In its recent decision, the court permitted the parents of a seven-year-old girl afflicted by a rare form of cancer to pursue a medical malpractice recovery even though they could not prove that the defendant caused her condition. The suit has reignited an intense debate and has generated national attention.  

Facebook Post Lands Attorney in Hot Water

Fact: most professionals use social media in one form or another. Fact: Professional Liability Matters has previously warned of the various risks associated with LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communications. Nonetheless, we continue to encounter seemingly countless reminders of missteps by professionals through presumably well-intentioned social media use. Recently, a Facebook post from a New York based attorney resulted in a fight over sanctions.  

Professional Liability Monthly – May Edition is Now Available

For a free copy of this month’s edition of Professional Liability Monthly, click here. To be added to our circulation list, where you will receive this publication for free each month via email, please contact Brian Biggie at [email protected] 

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – May 2013 Edition

Cases provided courtesy of LexisNexis.  

OJ Simpson’s Bid for Freedom: It’s My Lawyer’s Fault

OJ Simpson's fall from fame is well documented. The disgraced football running back's latest legal woes stem from an altercation in a hotel room in which the Juice was allegedly joined by armed men. That story ended with his incarceration. Now, OJ is back in a Las Vegas courtroom with a new team of attorneys and a novel argument: Simpson's former attorney is to blame for the 2008 conviction. In the latest chapter in OJ's lengthy legal history, the “Juice” claims that poor legal advice is the sole reason he was incarcerated.  

Ignoring Prejudgment Interest = A Costly Mistake

Prejudgment interest awards are often overlooked in evaluating a claim, especially legal malpractice matters. Typically, when valuing exposure, the focus centers upon the underlying action had the attorney avoided alleged negligence. But overlooking the impact of prejudgment interest can prove to be a costly mistake. Depending upon the statutory interest rate in your jurisdiction and the potential amount of the award, prejudgment interest can transform a nuisance value malpractice case into a hefty judgment.  

Real Estate Transactions Pose the Greatest Risk of Attorney Malpractice

According to a recent study, real estate transactions pose the most risk to attorneys of a malpractice claim. In its annual survey, the American Bar Association reported a higher percentage of professional liability claims stemming from real estate dealings than any other area. Over the past several years, plaintiff personal injury claims topped the list, but to the joy of the plaintiff's bar and the chagrin of real estate professionals, that trend is apparently changing.  

Professional Liability Monthly – March Edition is Now Available

For a free copy of this month’s edition of Professional Liability Monthlyclick here. To be added to our circulation list, where you will receive this publication for free each month via email, please contact Brian Biggie at [email protected] 

Attorneys in the Crosshairs: Limits of the Litigation Privilege

A recent decision helps to define the limitations of the absolute litigation/judicial privilege and serves as a reminder that attorneys are not immune from defamation suits. Notably, attorneys may be on the wrong end of a defamation claim for out-of-court statements concerning ongoing litigation. The litigation privilege and the judicial privilege provide an absolute defense from defamation suits relating to certain in-court statements. However, the protections may not apply outside of formal court proceedings according to a recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court.  

Professional Liability Monthly – January Edition is Now Available

For a free copy of this month’s edition of Professional Liability Monthlyclick here. To be added to our circulation list, where you will receive this publication for free each month via email, please contact Brian Biggie at [email protected] 

Cases for Professional Liability Monthly – January 2013 Edition

Cases provided courtesy of LexisNexis.  

Attorney Suspended for Operating a Foreclosure Mill

In a recent consent agreement reached with the Florida Bar Association, Attorney Marshall C. Watson, was suspended for 91 days and agreed to shut down his legal practice for his role in operating a foreclosure mill. The issue: may an attorney be held personally responsible for his oversight of a large foreclosure mill? The lesson: even when an attorney’s work-product is not technically negligent, she may still be in violation of ethical rules and subject to strict discipline.  

Sleeping with the Enemy: When a Consensual Relationship = Medical Malpractice

New York’s high court recently concluded that a consensual relationship between a patient and her family doctor constituted medical malpractice. Issue: Whether a consensual sexual relationship between a married patient and her physician is grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Lesson: When possible, avoid sleeping with your clients.