How Jerry Sandusky Impacts You

The evolving Jerry Sandusky scandal continues to impact the professional liability community.  Most recently, the Middle District of Pennsylvania reached a decision with major implications on the application of D&O – Director’s and Officer’s Insurance.  In deciding that Sandusky’s acts occurred outside the scope of his role with the Second Mile even though the conduct occurred during Second Mile events, the court may have also exposed directors and officers to increased risk of personal exposure.

A key issue in Federal Insurance Co. v. Sandusky, …

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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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My Lips Are Sealed: No Liability For Attorney’s Non-Disclosure to Non-Clients

Let’s start with the basic principle: an attorney’s duty runs exclusively to the client apart from limited circumstances of fraud when an attorney may be liable to the client’s adversary. The question remains whether an attorney’s decision to keep her mouth shut – i.e. not to disclose key information to the other side – constitutes actionable fraud.  According to a recent decision by the Texas Appeals Court, the fact that an attorney did not disclose information to her adversary does not constitute actionable misconduct.

In …

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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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