Vague Settlement Agreement May Result in Malpractice Claim

Reaching a settlement agreement is supposed to conclude litigation, right? Well the failure to draft a clear settlement agreement may result in serious repercussions for client and attorney. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs due to a vague offer of judgment.
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March Madness and You: Implications

Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. The 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will start with play-in games March 19 and conclude with the Championship Game on April 8 in Atlanta. During the tournament’s three weeks, the US economy will lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. Make no mistake, March Madness and participation in other work-place “gambling” such as fantasy sports has real world implications on the workplace.
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A Lesson in Ethical Attorney Billing

A lawyer stands at the gates of heaven and pleads his case to St. Peter. “I’m much too young to die. I’m only 48.” St. Peter responds, raising an eyebrow: “Forty-eight? Not according to your time sheets." Unfortunately, some attorneys give the rest of the profession a bad name for abusing the billable hour system. Perhaps a lesson in ethical billing is in order.
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What Does Daylight Saving Time Mean to Employers?

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2013, people all across the United States set their clocks forward one hour to start Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is intended to place more sunlight into “daytime” hours in order to seemingly stretch the day longer and conserve energy. 2013 marks the seventh year DST was expanded by four weeks pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For many, the change simply means one less hour of sleep, but for employers, the time change has unique and important implications.
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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.
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When Negligence is a Crime: Part II

In a prior post, we discussed When Negligence = Murder and profiled a building defect dispute which resulted in the death of a firefighter. In a similar vein, a nurse’s refusal to perform CPR on a collapsed woman dying in a California independent living complex has launched a criminal investigation and sparks new concerns about protocols at independent living facilities. State officials in California are taking a close look at the nurse’s conduct and at retirement facility policies after a lengthy 911 call was released in which an emergency dispatcher is heard pleading with a facility nurse to provide CPR on the dying resident. The nurse’s refusal to attempt resuscitation has opened the door to inquiries about the facility’s protocol and about potential civil and/or criminal liability for failing to render adequate care.
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The Yahoo! Decision: Telecommuting Issues Facing All Employers

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently made headlines for doing away with the company’s telecommuting policy and requiring all employees to report for work at their respective offices. Reportedly, Yahoo! was suffering from “productivity” issues with many of its employees who were working from home. While employee productivity is always of paramount importance to employers, telecommuting also poses a variety of legal risks that can similarly affect an employer’s bottom line. Some of the most common legal issues facing employers will be addressed here.
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Lindsay Lohan’s Legal Lesson

Last week Lindsay Lohan provided a valuable lesson for the professional liability community. It’s true. The lesson arises from Lohan’s recently dismissed lawsuit against rapper Pitbull. Adding insult to injury, the court tossed the suit and sanctioned Lohan’s lawyer for improperly submitting a brief that contained plagiarized, “cut-and-paste” content. You can’t make this stuff up.
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Yeah, But I Didn’t Read My Insurance Policy…

A recent decision confirms that failure to read the fine print is not a valid defense. The Mississippi Supreme Court recently ruled that the owner of two nursing homes was required to pay a $1.25 million deductible despite claiming it was unaware of the high deductible. The insurance policy issued by Lloyd’s of London contained a $250,000 per-claim deductible. Since the nursing homes were named in five separate professional liability suits, and each of which was considered a separate "claim," the policyholder was forced to pay a $1.25 million deductible.
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When Negligence = Murder: Building Defects Result in Manslaughter Charges

An architect faces criminal manslaughter charges arising from the death of an LA firefighter who died attempting to control a blaze that engulfed the defendant architect’s multi-million dollar home. This case raises an unprecedented issue: Can defective design lead to criminal liability? Apparently, the answer is “yes” if the defect is the result of gross negligence.
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