Archives: Professional Liability

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Direct Actions against a Defendant’s Insurance Company

Since the economy tanked, we’ve seen a number of cases in our office (particularly in the area of construction defects) where a defendant (such as a subcontractor) has become insolvent, and we’ve been called upon to pursue a direct action against that defendant’s insurance company.  Surprisingly, insurance companies don’t really care for this. So, the … Continue Reading

Notice Requirements and Claims-Made Coverage

“For want of a shoe, the horse was lost,” goes the old saying.  If you handle claims from the policyholder side, nothing will aggravate you more than seeing a perfectly good claim go awry because of poor risk management controls in an organization, especially the failure to give notice under potentially applicable insurance policies. The … Continue Reading

Insurance coverage for “intentional” torts

One of the celebrities we lost in 2013 was the novelist Tom Clancy. I wasn’t a Clancy devotee, but I have to admit that “Red Storm Rising” and “The Hunt for Red October” were excellent military thrillers. In “Red October,” the KGB officer on board the Russian submarine (Red October) thinks that, rather than surrendering … Continue Reading

Insurance coverage for cyberliability

At the end of this month (January 26, to be exact), assuming that the Mayans remain incorrect, I’ll be doing a presentation to the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on the topic of insurance coverage for cyberthreats.  Of course, I probably should be disqualified from making any comments whatsoever about trends in computer-related … Continue Reading

Are Punitive Damages Insurable?

The answer is maybe, under some circumstances.  Unfortunately for the major accounting firm BDO Seidman, however, such circumstances didn’t exist in a recent New York coverage decision.  You can read the full opinion by clicking here. BDO’s coverage dispute stemmed from a $92 million Florida jury verdict against BDO (ouch), which included $55 million in … Continue Reading

Misrepresentations in policy application

In Continental Casualty Co. v. Law Offices of Melbourne Mills, Jr., PLLC, the Sixth Circuit has just ruled that a lawyer’s failure to disclose an ongoing state bar association investigation against him constituted a material representation justifying the rescission of his malpractice insurance. The defendant was one of three attorneys who represented a class of Kentucky … Continue Reading

The timing of an “occurrence” and the duty to defend

Every once in awhile, we come across a case that calls to mind the formal legal term:  “Eeeeww.”  Here’s one that’s now before the New Jersey Supremes, and that (if you can get past the ghoulishness) involves two important questions:   (1)  When does an “occurrence” take place under a liability policy?  (2)  Can a court … Continue Reading