The Risks of Online Consultation

We’re inundated with online advice, whether solicited or not.  Many of us utilize various online sources to obtain quick answers without live, in-person consultation from a licensed professional.  WebMD is the classic example of such a site but there are countless others devoted to providing professional advice to an unknown audience.  We previously warned of the malpractice and ethical risks of providing online professional services when we posted about the lawsuit filed against Dr. Oz following his infamous “sleep aid solution.”  To combat these risks, …

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Firing Problem Employees: A How-To Guide

“They come into work disheveled and drunk. They swear while talking to customers. They have sex with a co-worker in the stockroom. Or worse yet, they steal money from the company or threaten to hurt the boss. Some employees turn out to be bad news for a company and need to be fired, but how can a company show misbehaving workers the door while protecting itself from wrongful termination or discrimination suits?”  Our friends at Law360 provide great insight on the difficult and risky task …

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Rutgers: Don’t Look at Me…My Lawyer Made Me Do It

As is so often the case, with mounting pressure and criticism comes finger-pointing. In the midst of a well-publicized scandal, Rutgers University is now suggesting that poor advice from its outside counsel led to a series of infamous decisions regarding its former basketball coach.  According to reports, as Rutgers’ athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned Friday amid the scandal over men’s basketball coach Mike Rice’s unorthodox practices, he blamed the school administration for following a “process” that allowed Rice to stay on-board. With its back …

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A Disclaimer of Disclaimers – Limits on Limitation of Liability

Many classes of professionals utilize engagement letters with limitation of liability language.  For example, accountants, real estate agents and home inspectors often include in their engagements a hold harmless or other clause with the goal of limiting potential damages.  Such a clause will establish the extent of exposure, if any, that the professional can be held liable for should problems arise with the engagement.  The question of whether the clause is enforceable is state specific and somewhat unpredictable.

A recent South Carolina decision provides …

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Malpractice Advice from Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz, a well known TV personality, was recently named in a New York lawsuit arising from on-air advice he provided to his viewers.  The doctor allegedly informed his audience about a “heated rice” remedy for insomnia. Dr. Oz called it “my night sleep special” on the April 17, 2012, episode of his NBC show titled “Dr. Oz’s 24-Hour Ultimate Energy Boost Plan.” Unfortunately for 76-year-old Frank Dietl, that Boost Plan left him bedridden for weeks with severe burns on his …

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Social Media Ramifications for Professionals: A Cautionary Tale

The use of social media as a marketing tool for professionals has become increasingly common.  Studies suggest that this trend will continue as more professionals are utilizing social media to develop business.  In an ever-changing technological world, many attorneys and other professionals tweet, post status updates, engage in internet advertising, or blog on a regular basis without considering the legal and ethical ramifications .  Recent decisions serve as a reminder that the outcome of social media activity may result in unwanted and unintended attention.…

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NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent.  The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos.  Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit.

NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league …

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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 next week (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 …

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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 …

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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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