Professional Liability


Eckert Seamans’ Professional Liability Group defends professionals who practice in a number of industries against challenging and sensitive claims of malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, and securities violations, among other claims of wrongdoing.

We regularly defend medical professionals, attorneys, accountants, insurance brokers and agents, architects, engineers, clergy, and other professionals against liability claims in virtually every setting in which those claims arise.

With experience in all aspects of professional liability defense, attorneys in the group are well qualified to handle sensitive issues of confidentiality, the impact of the case on the professional’s ongoing practice, and the need to work closely with the client in developing a litigation strategy and negotiating settlement.

Eckert Seamans attorneys appreciate that professional liability suits threaten financial loss – but also realize that the more significant impact can be permanent damage to a client’s hard-earned reputation. Therefore, early case evaluation and resolution is of particular importance from the outset in a claim involving professional negligence.

Services for Medical Professionals

Our Health Care defense team is among the most respected in the country. The complexity of this practice area is as diverse as the clients we serve. We represent physicians and other health care professionals; hospitals, nursing homes and health care systems; health insurance companies; pharmaceutical companies and professional corporations. We provide counseling and litigate matters concerning physician rights, medical malpractice defense, regulatory and licensure issues, guardianship proceedings/incapacitated patients, insurance issues, pharmacy liability, and reimbursement, in addition to other related matters. We also assist in developing and implementing risk management strategies concerning issues related to the application of peer review privilege and related confidentiality concerns for hospitals and other health care institutions.  We frequently defend cases at jury trial and to verdict..

Services for Lawyers

Our practice regularly defends lawyers and law firms in matters involving alleged professional negligence, environmental liability, ethics consulting litigation, intellectual property, internal firm disputes, securities, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) issues, fraud and/or misrepresentation, wrongful use of civil proceedings, and, malicious prosecution, among other related issues.

Representative Matters

Defense verdicts in hundreds of cases alleging legal and medical malpractice, including the following complex cases:


  • Alleged negligent delay by trauma team in diagnosis of aortic transection from car accident and death of highly compensated executive.  Defense verdict.

Emergency Medicine

  • Alleged negligent failure to timely diagnose STEMI and death.  Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent discharge of young father who subsequently died from cardiac infarction, alleged negligent failure to admit for work up. Multiple ED presentations.  Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent failure to diagnose colon cancer in patient presenting with acute abdominal pain.  Defense verdict.

General Surgery

  • Alleged negligent performance of bowel surgery, leading to anastomotic leak, infection and colostomy.  Defense verdict for surgeon and hospital.

Spine Surgery

  • Alleged negligent delay in performance of spinal surgery post trauma, outcome paralysis.  Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent performance of spinal fusion post trauma, paralysis post-surgery. Post-operative vision-loss following  spinal  surgery.  Co-defendant  was  found  100  percent  liable for verdict of $20 million.
  • Alleged misplacement of hardware during spine surgery leading to partial paralysis.  Defense verdict.

Cardiac Surgery

  • Alleged negligent delay in performance of open heart (CABG) surgery.  Defense verdict for clients cardiac surgeon and hospital.


  • Alleged negligent delivery resulting in death of child.  Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligence in labor and delivery resulting in cerebral palsy. Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligence in delivery with shoulder dystocia, Erb’s palsy. Defense verdict.


  • Alleged misread of chest imaging, delayed diagnosis of lung cancer. Defense verdict.
  • Alleged misread of abdominal CT, delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Defense verdict.

Critical Care

  • Death of young mother allegedly due to negligent failure to timely diagnose and treat infection and sepsis.  Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent delay in recognizing onset of brain bleed resulting in death.  Defense verdict.

Primary Care

  • Death of a 40-year-old husband and father of five children for allegedly failing to diagnose and treat congestive heart failure. Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent failure to timely diagnose colon cancer. Defense verdict.


  • Alleged nerve injury from positioning. Defense verdict.
  • Alleged failure to monitor.  Defense verdict.


  • Alleged negligent performance of discectomy, resulting in need for repeat surgery. Defense verdict.
  • Alleged negligent performance of hip replacement surgery, resulting in infection and multiple additional surgeries.  Defense verdict.

Wound Care

  • Alleged negligent wound care precautions and treatment involving elderly patient.  Defense verdict.

Hospital Liability

  • Successfully defending a hospital and its employed physician in a complex case alleging failure to diagnose toxic exposure to various chemicals. Successful in motions for forum non conveniens and summary judgment.
  • Managing over 500 cases involving alleged improper placement of cardiac stents in Maryland. These cases included claims of professional malpractice, corporate liability and fraud. Our lawyers were involved in all aspects of the defense, including serving as lead trial counsel.


  • Defense verdict in case involving alleged failure to treat brain tumor.
  • Defense verdict in cases involving spine surgery and instrumentation.

Legal Malpractice

  • Successfully defended a boutique IP law firm on a claim of computer hacking implicating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Copyright Infringement, The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act and related common law claims.
  • Successfully defended several law firms for claims of wrongful use of civil proceedings (“Dragonetti claims”) and abuse of process.
  • Secured summary judgment dismissing legal malpractice claims at trial level and affirmance on appeal with respect to claims of guarantors of debt owed by attorney’s clients.
  • Secured summary judgment dismissing legal malpractice claims against attorney sued for allegedly mishandling divorce action, including obtaining unpaid legal fees for client.
  • Secured summary judgment dismissing legal malpractice claims at trial level and affirmance on appeal against attorney sued for allegedly representing client in a minority shareholder dispute.
  • Secured summary judgment in legal malpractice action with respect to claims based on alleged failure to provide advice about the adequacy of property insurance coverage.
  • Secured voluntary dismissal with prejudice, without any payment, in insurance broker malpractice action after demanding dismissal of action on threat of frivolous litigation sanctions.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of attorney accused of mishandling underlying complex medical malpractice action.
  • Compelled voluntary dismissal with prejudice of claim against insurance broker accused of non- reporting of claim and related negligence in connection with a loss in excess of $1,000,000.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurance broker accused of not properly placing umbrella coverage in context of catastrophic loss.
  • Obtained no cause verdict in favor of attorney accused of legal malpractice and breaching fiduciary duty to client.

News & Insights


Medicolegal aspects of ERCP in the era of duodenoscope-related infections

What the Attorney Says in the Underlying Action Is Not an Admission in the Subsequent Malpractice Action

Electronic Social Media and Judicial Recusal - Revisited

Actionable Legal Malpractice: Tort or Breach of Contract?

Professional Liability Policy Does Not Cover for Intentional Bad Result or for Intentional Misconduct

Lender Funding Lawsuit Cannot Enforce Commitment by Counsel Representing the Client to Pay Lender Out of the Settlement Proceeds in His Escrow Account

The Viability of a Legal Malpractice Claim Rests Upon the Existence of Actual Harm

Can a Lawyer Who Has Formerly Withdrawn His Appearance Incur Liability for Subsequent Events in the Case?

Splitting Fee with a Nonlawyer

What is "Favorable Termination" for Purposes of Assert a Dragonetti Claim?

Speaking Up Upon Discovery of Inadvertently Disclosed Communications

Does a Fee-Sharing Agreement in Violation of a Rule of Professional Conduct Render it Unenforceable?

Dragonetti and Abuse of Process Claims Not Blocked by Application of Judicial Immunity

Malpractice for Failure to Sue the Deep Pocket

Must Counsel Anticipate Judicial Error?

Are Confidential Communications with a Firm's In-House General Counsel Really Privileged?

Contact with Former Employee of Opposing Party

Muhammad Revisited

Can an Employee Use Privileged Communications Made to Employer's Counsel to Assert an 'Advice-of-Counsel' Defense?

The Consequences of the Failure of Corporate Counsel to Give Upjohn Warnings to Corporate Employees

Gist-of-the-Action Doctrine and Legal Malpractice

Lack of Privity Sinks Trademark Legal-Malpractice Claim

Legal Advice or Business Advice?

Non-Clients Who Think They Are Clients

Is the Dragonetti Act Unconstitutional as Applied to Attorneys?

Lost Legatee Beneficiary Claims

Timely Reporting of a Claim

Can a Carrier Rescind the Policy as Against Innocent Insured for Failure to Disclose Potential Claim on the Application?

Must a Client Appeal Underlying Matter Before Pursuing a Legal Malpractice Claim?

Does a Lawyer Owe a Duty to Explain Unambiguous Language to a Sophisticated Client?

Unenforceability of Unconscionable Engagement Letter

The Rules of Professional Conduct as Public Policy

A Client's Own Criminal Conduct Can Bar a Claim Against His or Her Lawyer

The Question of Privilege When Consulting the Law Firm's In-House Counsel

Judicial Error as Superseding Intervening Cause

Attorney's Death Before Statute of Limitation Has Expired Does Not Preclude Malpractice Claim

Is a Provision in an Engagement Letter Providing for Arbitration of Malpractice Claims Enforceable?

Suing a Client for Tortious Interference After Being Booted from a Law Partnership

Insurance Carrier Suing Insurance Defense Counsel for Malpractice

Can a Legal Malpractice Claim be 'Spun' as Fraudulent Misrepresentation?

Can the Bank be Liable for a Loss of Trust Account Money Resulting from a Phishing Scam?

Is There Malpractice Claim for Negligence That Causes the Government to Discover and Deport an Illegal Alien?

Does an Unimpeached Guilty Plea in a Criminal Proceeding Bar Recovery in a Legal Malpractice Action?

Can Failure to Make the Effective Argument Sooner State a Malpractice Claim?

Does Counsel's Assurance Toll the Statute of Limitations?

Error-in-Judgment Rule Might Not Protect Where Law Is Unsettled

Malpractice Claim Requires Proof of Damages

Litigation Privilege Does Not Bar Malpractice Claim

Opinion Letter May Be Actionable Under RICO

Even When Not in Doubt, Always Disclose a Potential Claim

Can Counsel be Liable for Malicious Prosecution for the Conduct of Associated Counsel Who is Primarily Responsible for the Conduct of a Case?

Proving the 'Case Within a Case'

Could Lawyers Face Claims for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?

The Differing Views Between State and Federal Case Law of Legal Malpractice as a Breach of Contract

Avoiding Personal Liability on a Client's Contract

Automated Communication Between Lawyer and Client

Read the Policy Fine Print When There is a Potential Claim!

Duty to Warn Client to Protect Confidentiality of Electronic Communications with Counsel

Must a Lawyer Try to Find Another Expert to Support a Client's Legal Position Where the Chosen Expert May Not Fully Do So?

Malpractice Claim for Failure to Record a Right of First Refusal

Refusal to Extend Intended Third-Party Beneficiary Status

Can Confidential Communications with a Public Relations Consultant Be Privileged?

Legal Updates:

How Percentage of Revenue Impacts Analysis of Challenges to Venue

Superior Court Clarifies Required Processes and Procedures for Healthcare Institutions to Preserve Privilege for Investigations Pursuant to MCARE Act

Eckert Seamans' 2022 Professional Liability Update

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Restores Statutory Protections For Peer Review Materials

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania’s Interpretation of The Fair Share Act in Spencer v. Johnson, No. 2021 WL 1035175 (Pa. Super. Ct. Mar. 18, 2021) May Signal A Return to Traditional Joint and Several Liability

Eckert Seamans’ 2021 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2019 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2018 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2017 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2016 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2015 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2014 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2012 Professional Liability Update

Eckert Seamans' 2011 Professional Liability Update


Eckert Seamans Welcomes Megan B. Kelleher

Eckert Seamans Welcomes Randall S. MacTough

Donna Y. Kramer Joins Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia

M. Sean Maravich Joins Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia

Eckert Seamans Expands Professional Liability Capabilities with Addition of Jacquelyn Ager

Best Law Firms 2019: U.S. News – Best Lawyers again ranks Eckert Seamans among the nation’s top law firms

Eckert Seamans welcomes Andrew J. Bond to Philadelphia office

Eckert Seamans welcomes Kevin W. Fay and Roger LaLonde to Philadelphia office