Attorney Sanctioned for Frivolous Claim

You are what you eat – but for lawyers, you are what you sign, file, verify or plead.  An attorney in Pittsburgh just learned this lesson the hard way and is now $20,000 lighter in the wallet.  The failure to properly investigate his client’s “frivolous” gun malfunction claim has landed Attorney Jason Schiffman with the hefty sanction after the judge disagreed with the attorney’s plea that he had reasonably relied on his client.

In Ellis v. Beemiller, Plaintiff Regis Ellis alleged that …

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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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Who Really Owns a CPA’s Working Papers?

Accountants are well aware that clients, former clients, and others periodically request (or sometimes demand) copies of the accountant’s work-papers.  The question invariably is: who owns those materials?  Moreover, what is the accountant obligated to turn over and what categories of materials may be withheld?  An accountant, and those that represent them, must be aware of the critical legal and regulatory issues facing the accounting profession when handling such a request.

“As many Certified Public Accountants and Public Accountants have come to know in their …

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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. 

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, a defendant may serve an opposing party with “an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued.”  If the offer …

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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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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.  Take for example the sole practitioner in Massachusetts, Attorney Derek Beaulieu, who was recently suspended from the bar for four years for having billed more than 3600 hours annually to …

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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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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 …

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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 will be addressed here.

 Different Laws in

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