A California federal court has held that a complaint alleging that a law firm was providing services in a non-legal capacity nonetheless triggered a duty to defend the firm under a lawyers’ professional liability policy, where the complaint also described legal-related services provided by the insured.  Associated Indus. Ins. Co. v. Bloom, 2020 WL 5802949 (C.D. Cal. July 29, 2020). 

Continue Reading Despite Allegation that Law Firm Was Not Providing “Legal Advice,” Complaint Triggers Duty to Defend Under Lawyers’ Professional Liability Policy

An Illinois appellate court has held that an underlying action involving a fee dispute was not a claim involving professional services and was not covered under a professional liability policy.  RLI Ins. Co. v. Acclaim Res. Partners, LLC, 2020 WL 5548318 (Ill. App. Ct. Sept. 16, 2020).  The court further held that the underlying action’s conclusory allegations of “professional negligence” did not trigger coverage because the allegations were unsupported by the alleged facts.

Continue Reading Illinois Court Holds Fee Dispute Does Not Involve Professional Services

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, applying Michigan law, has ruled that an insurer did not owe an attorney and his firm a duty to defend under a professional liability policy because, among other things, the conduct at issue in an underlying action brought by a former client was undertaken in an uninsured capacity for a firm that was neither identified in the insurance application nor named as an insured in the policy. Wesco Ins. Co. v. Repasky, 2020 WL 3129145 (S.D. Fla. June 12, 2020).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Conduct Performed By Attorney In Uninsured Capacity

The United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, applying West Virginia law, has held that an insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured because two exclusions and the definitions of “damages” and “claim” each separately precluded coverage of a claim for a client’s lost settlement funds under the lawyer’s professional liability policy.  ALPS Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Murphy, 2020 WL 4141987 (N.D. W. Va. July 20, 2020).

Continue Reading No Coverage under Lawyer’s Professional Liability Policy for Client’s Lost Settlement Funds

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, applying Michigan law, has ruled that an insurer did not owe an attorney and his firm a duty to defend under a professional liability policy because, among other things, the conduct at issue in an underlying action brought by a former client was undertaken in an uninsured capacity for a firm that was neither identified in the insurance application nor named as an insured in the policy. Wesco Ins. Co. v. Repasky, 2020 WL 3129145 (S.D. Fla. June 12, 2020).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Conduct Performed By Attorney In Uninsured Capacity

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, applying Ohio law, has held that an ERISA exclusion in two E&O policies barred coverage for a lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Labor alleging ERISA violations in connection with an employee stock ownership program (ESOP) stock purchase.  Gemini Ins. Co. v. Potts, 2020 WL 4000977 (S.D. Ohio July 15, 2020).

Continue Reading ERISA Exclusion in E&O Policies Bars Coverage for Suit Filed by the Department of Labor

Applying Pennsylvania law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that no coverage is available under a professional liability policy for a lawsuit alleging human trafficking, wage and hour, and consumer protection violations because all counts rested on intentional conduct that occurred after professional services were rendered.  Hemphill v. Landmark Ins. Co., 2020 WL 3871295 (E.D. Pa. July 9, 2020).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Lawsuit Alleging Human Trafficking and Wage and Hour Violations

A New Jersey federal district court has ruled that a broad exclusion in a D&O Policy for claims arising out of services provided to third parties barred coverage for a claim arising out of an insured’s provision of services to its client, and the inclusion in the policy of narrower exclusions (for professional services and insurance company services) did not create any ambiguity.  Benecard Servs., Inc. v. Allied World Specialty Ins. Co., 2020 WL 2842570 (D.N.J. May 31, 2020).

Continue Reading D&O Policy’s “Third-Party Services” Exclusion Bars Coverage for Claim Brought by Insured’s Client

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, applying North Dakota law, has held that a commingling exclusion precluded coverage for an insured’s controller’s theft of funds under the property management company’s errors and omissions policy.  Campbell Prop. Mgmt., LLC v. Lloyd’s Syndicate 3624, 2020 WL 1846985 (D.N.D. Apr. 10, 2020).

Continue Reading E&O Coverage for Embezzlement Precluded by Commingling Exclusion

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that two men who held senior management roles at a hotel and used their positions to cause the hotel to make payments to a fake company that they created were performing “Professional Services” within the meaning of a professional liability policy while doing so.  Gemini Ins. Co. v. Meyer Jabara Hotels LLC, 2020 WL 1649888 (Pa. Super. Ct. Apr. 3, 2020).  Because the policy excluded coverage for losses arising out of criminal acts committed by employees while rendering Professional Services, the court held that no coverage was available.

Continue Reading Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Can Be “Professional Services” Triggering Criminal Acts Exclusion