Professional Liability

News & Analysis as of

CEO, CFO Charged in SEC Financial Fraud Action

Since the formation of the financial task force, and its related data group, there has been speculation regarding the focus of the new program and the impact of big data techniques. One indication of how the program could...more

Benefits of Physician Disclosure To Patients of Medical Errors

No matter how dedicated a physician is to her medical practice, or how careful she is to avoid treatment errors when providing care to her patients, nonetheless mistakes cannot be entirely avoided....more

Is There a Duty to Defend Pollution Claims? It’s the Complaint, Stupid

This Spring, cases from Florida and Wisconsin reaffirmed the general proposition that a liability insurer’s duty to defend must be determined from the specific claims in the underlying complaint against the insured, and not...more

Company Sues Former Officer For Failing To File Form 4s

A complaint filed in the Central District of California caught my eye because it involved the rather unusual circumstance of a corporation suing a former director and officer for, among other things, failing to file reports...more

Ninth Circuit Finds No Tag Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporation

When a corporation sends an officer to a conference in California, is the corporation present in California? A corporation can only act through its officers. Thus, it might be said that the corporation is present wherever...more

Known Unknown: 7th Cir. Uses Heightened Discovery Rule for Wisconsin Businesses

In a case decided last Friday, KDC Foods v. Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., No. 13-3678 (7th Cir. Aug. 15, 2014), the Seventh Circuit warned companies not to expect much leeway from statutes of limitation under...more

Director Liability for Cybersecurity Risks

If a corporation is the target of a cyberattack resulting in a data breach, its board may be the target of a shareholder derivative action claiming breach of fiduciary duty. A recent example is Palkon v. Holmes, No....more

Architects and Design Professionals Can Be Held Liable for Defects Based On Third Party Claims

A homeowners association, on behalf of its members, sued a condominium developer and various other parties for construction design defects that allegedly made their homes unsafe and uninhabitable for a significant portion of...more

Mind Your Ds and Os: Policy Language Proves Determinative in Director and Officer Insurance Coverage

A recent pair of opinions from New York and Pennsylvania shows the importance of evaluating all parts of director and officer (D&O) insurance coverage, down to each definition. These cases, one holding for the insured and one...more

Practicing Defensive Lawyering: Leaving No Stone Unturned In the Land Where the Unicorn is the National Symbol

It’s easy to criticize medical professionals when we believe they are engaged in “defensive medicine”. The fear of legal liability in a future malpractice action sometimes drives medical professionals to order tests or take...more

Land of Confusion: Insurance Coverage for Pre-Suit FCPA Investigation Costs under D&O liability Policies

Bloomberg recently reported that Walmart spent $439 Million in the past two years related to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) investigation . Moreover, Walmart predicts that it will spend an additional $200 Million to...more

The Corporate Representative’s Deposition Bill Of Rights (And Wrongs)

Your company’s general counsel just “voluntold” you that you’re going to be deposed as the company’s representative in a court case that you’ve never heard of. What in the world is she talking about, and what will you have to...more

Three New Weapons to Combat Shareholder Litigation

Over the past several years there has been an overwhelming abundance of class action shareholder litigation. A study by Cornerstone Research found that in 2013 alone, 94% of mergers and acquisitions worth over $100 million...more

Insured Not Justified in Ignoring Claims-Made-and-Reporting Requirements

An insured’s attempt to circumvent the claims-made-and-reporting requirements of its professional liabilty policy, by arguing that the doctrine of promissory estoppel applied, was thwarted when a court ordered summary...more

Federal Judge Concludes Restitution May Be Covered Under Commonly Used Professional Liability Policy Language

A federal judge in Minnesota recently held that “restitution” paid to settle a class action lawsuit was covered under the terms of a professional liability policy. The court in U.S. Bank National Ass’n et al. v. Indian Harbor...more

SEC Can’t Pass On Pot Stock Puffery

Corporations facing federal securities suits can sometimes avoid liability by claiming that their forward-looking statements were so vague or indefinite that they could not have affected the company’s stock price and are...more

Massachusetts Court Holds No Coverage Under Lawyers’ Malpractice Policy for 93A Claim

In its recent decision in Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Lamond, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103117 (D. Mass. July 29, 2014), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts had occasion to consider what portion...more

This Court’s Ruling Puts The Opinion In Auditor’s Internal Control Opinion

A brief ruling issued this week by U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan makes it clear that an auditor isn’t always liable even when a subsequent auditor uncovers fraud. In Oaktree Capital Mgmt., L.P. v. KPMG, 2014 U.S....more

Avoid the “Insolvency Exclusion” Trap in E&O Policies: Tennessee Federal Court Confirms That Insolvency Exclusion Does Not Apply...

As the wave of litigation spawned by the 2008 financial crisis begins to ebb, insurance-coverage litigation arising out of the credit crisis continues unabated. Financial institutions have successfully pursued insurance...more

Creditors: Delete a discharged debt from a credit report or face possible liability

A typical lender is often managing tens of thousands of accounts of all different types and in various states of financial health. So what happens when a lender, for whatever reason, fails to update credit reporting agencies...more

Your D&O Insurance Policy Post-Halliburton

In its recent, highly anticipated decision in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, the U.S. Supreme Court declined an invitation to overturn the so-called “fraud on the market” presumption applicable to securities class...more

Texas Court Holds Insured Failed to Timely Report Claim

In its recent decision in Netspend Corp. v. AXIS Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97656 (W.D. Tex. July 18, 2014), the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas had occasion to consider what constitutes a...more

California Dividend Statutes Found To Preempt Common Law Claims

Chapter 5 of the California Corporations Code imposes specific limitations on “distributions to shareholders”, a term defined in Corporations Code section 166. Directors who approve the making of any distribution to...more

Roitelman: Director Not Liable Where Employee Engages In Deceit

The Tax Court of Canada recently considered whether a director could establish a due diligence defence with respect to unremitted source deductions where the responsibility for remittance lay with an employee in Roitelman v....more

Principal Architects on Residential Projects Liable for Construction Defects Outside Their Control; Developers and Owners May Pay...

On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided the much watched case Beacon Residential Community Assoc. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP. The court held that the “principal architect” “owes a duty of care to future...more

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