A Pennsylvania federal district court has held that a solo practitioner’s legal malpractice policy did not provide coverage for litigation arising out of several disputes with the attorney’s family because the attorney failed to comply with the policy’s notice provision, certain of the disputes did not arise out of the provision of “Legal Services,” and a number of exclusions applied.  American Guar. & Liability Ins. Co. v. Law Offices of Richard C. Weisberg, 2021 WL 915425 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2021)
Continue Reading No Coverage Under Legal Malpractice Policy for Solo Practitioner’s Family Disputes

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, applying Pennsylvania law, has held that an insurer is estopped from denying coverage for a legal malpractice action after defending the action for over a year without a reservation of rights, despite knowledge of the facts upon which it ultimately relied to deny coverage.  However, the court also held that the insurer was not estopped from denying coverage for a subsequent action seeking disgorgement of the insured attorney’s fees because the insurer timely reserved rights with respect to the disgorgement action. Westport Ins. Corp. v. McClellan , 2020 WL5961047 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 8, 2020).

Continue Reading Insurer Estopped from Denying Coverage for Legal Malpractice Action But Not Subsequent Disgorgement Action

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

Applying Pennsylvania law, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has held that an insurer wrongfully withdrew its defense after paying a covered verdict because the duty to defend extended until the court deemed the verdict to be “satisfied.”  Highland Park Care Ctr., LLC v. Campmed Cas. & Indem. Co., 2020 WL 2571900 (W.D. Pa. May 21, 2020).  The court also concluded that the policy’s standard-interest clause required the insurer to pay all post-judgment interest on the covered verdict.

Continue Reading Insurer Required to Defend Until “Satisfaction” of Covered Verdict

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

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, applying Pennsylvania law, has held that an insurer was not entitled to summary judgment voiding a medical malpractice liability policy, finding that triable issues of fact remained about whether an insured could have anticipated litigation stemming from past medical procedures at the time it completed its policy application.  MDAdvantage Ins. Co. of N.J. v. Hasiuk, 2020 WL 1531817 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 31, 2020).

Continue Reading Issues of Fact Halt Insurer’s Attempt to Rescind Malpractice Policy

Applying Pennsylvania law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that a shareholder demand letter, a derivative action and a shareholder lawsuit against the insured were not “related” because the alleged conduct took place at different times and involved different individuals.  Vito v. RSUI Indem. Co., 2020 WL 424592 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2020).

Continue Reading Claims Alleging Same Conduct Against Same Insured But Based on Different Specific Facts Not Related Under D&O Policy

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, applying Pennsylvania law, found that an attorney “knew or should have known” he might get sued for (allegedly) botching a settlement term sheet where a worker’s compensation review board publicly criticized his handling of the settlement, even though his client did not appear angry at the time.  Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC v. Nat’l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co., 2019 WL 1003157 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2019).  Because the insured attorney knew the relevant facts before his professional liability policy incepted, the district court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment that there was no coverage.

Continue Reading Insured’s Subjective Belief Regarding Likelihood of Being Sued Irrelevant to Prior Knowledge Analysis Under Pennsylvania Law

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, applying Pennsylvania law, has held that a professional liability insurance policy’s outside business exclusion precluded coverage for an underlying lawsuit arising out of an insured attorney’s alleged use of privileged information to benefit his own business interests.  Westport Ins. Co. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, 2018 WL 4705780 (W.D. Pa. Oct 1, 2018).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Malpractice Suit Implicating Policy’s Outside Business Exclusion