Professional Liability

News & Analysis as of

The SEC Gets Serious About Late Beneficial Ownership Reporting

On September 10, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced charges against 28 directors, officers and significant shareholders of public companies for repeated failures to timely report their share...more

U.S. District Court in Kentucky Holds that Contractor Which Proposed Design Solution During Construction Might Be Liable for...

American Towers LLC v. BPI, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106724 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 4, 2014) - American Towers LLC (“American Towers”), which operates wireless and broadcast communications towers, undertook a project to...more

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal Holds an Insurer’s Liability for Breach of Contract Is Not a Necessary Prerequisite for...

In Cammarata v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 2014 Fla. App. Lexis 13672 (September 3, 2014), the Fourth District court addressed a challenge to an insured’s bad faith lawsuit as premature. The Cammaratas’ home sustained damage...more

Ninth Circuit Brookstreet Decision Upholds Control Person Liability

The Ninth Circuit recently found the principal of a broker-dealer liable for the extensive and aggravated sales practice violations of the firm’s registered representatives. In its unpublished decision (not to be cited as...more

Most-Invasive-Procedure-of-the-Month Award

Back in 2010 the police asked Dr. LaPaglia to conduct a body cavity search of Felix Booker. They were looking for illegal drugs. Dr. LaPaglia said yes and proceeded. First, he paralyzed Felix with drugs (legal ones). Then...more

Limits of Expansive Protection of New York’s In Pari Delicto Defense

Whenever a company tumbles into bankruptcy following the discovery of its management’s financial misdeeds, firms that provided the company with accounting, legal, banking and financial advisory services should prepare to...more

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

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