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Professional Liability

Practice Contacts

Matthew S. Foy

Ryan T. Brown

GRSM's Insurance Group attorneys have extensive experience in evaluating coverage under claims-made policies issued to a wide-range of traditional and non-traditional professionals including:
  • Architects & Engineers 
  • Accountants
  • Dentists
  • Directors & Officers (Public and Private)
  • Financial Planners / Investment Advisors
  • Health Care Professionals
    • Assisted Living / Nursing Home
    • Beauty and Spa 
  • Insurance Producers
  • Lawyers 
  • Real Estate Professionals
    • Agents/Brokers
    • Appraisers
    • Home Inspectors
    • Property Managers
    • Receivers 
We regularly represents domestic, London and Bermuda-based insurers in state and federal courts across the country in “bad faith” litigation, declaratory relief actions, and contribution actions involving the full spectrum of professional liability coverage issues including:
  • Claims-made-and-reported (under both single policy and back-to-back policy scenarios)
  • Prior knowledge and rescission based upon a material misrepresentation/omission
  • Drop-down and insured insolvency or bankruptcy
  • Voluntary payments and consent to settle
  • Interrelatedness (temporal, logical, or causal connection)
  • Other insurance, contribution, and Allocation
In addition to litigating cases for the firm’s insurance clients, our attorneys also provide a broad array of non-litigation services including:
  • Underwriting consultation
  • Policy drafting
  • Claims review and coverage opinions 
  • Outside counsel claims management solutions
  • Claim and defense invoice audits
  • Representation with state Departments of Insurance for regulatory filings and compliance
  • Representation with state Guaranty Funds to address issues of Rehabilitation Conservation, and/or Liquidation
  • CLE/CE training for insurance coverage issues, professional liability defense issues, and legal ethics
Representative Professional Liability insurance matters include:
  • In June 2013, GRSM secured summary judgment for its London-based insurer client in a direct action brought by a plaintiff against the insurer in Wisconsin state court. In March 2012, the plaintiff secured a default judgment against the insured for more than $1.1 million. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a suit against the insurer and several of the insured’s former officers seeking to enforce the judgment. GRSM successfully moved to stay discovery pending the resolution of the coverage issues and thereafter obtained summary judgment on the grounds that the claim was reported well after the expiration of the policy period (and extended reporting period), and that the insured’s failure to cooperate in the defense of the litigation was a breach of the policy’s cooperation clause.  
  • In May 2013, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a November 2011 Opinion and Order from the Western District of Washington on a case of first impression litigated by GRSM in Washington, finding no coverage for a professional’s contractual breach despite the fact that the policy did not include a “breach of contract” exclusion. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the District Court that there could be no coverage because the insured persons were acting in their personal capacity both when they signed guarantees for a commercial loan to their accounting firm and when they subsequently refused to honor the guarantees when the firm defaulted on the loan.
  • In September 2012, GRSM won summary judgment for the firm’s professional liability insurer client on a case of first impression in Nevada. In finding no coverage for the insured law firm and individual lawyers, the District Court concluded that the policy’s prior knowledge exclusion was subject to an objective standard which applied regardless of whether the insured actually formed an expectation of a claim as long as a reasonable professional in the insured’s position might expect a claim or suit to result.  
  • In July 2012, GRSM won an appellate victory on an issue of first impression in Illinois state court related to the interpretation of "professional services" under a real estate agent’s professional liability policy. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the trial court found that the alleged wrongdoing did not arise out of the conduct of the business of the insured agent in rendering services for others as a licensed agent.