Professional Liability

Overview

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.

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.

Services for Lawyers

Our practice also routinely 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.

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.

Representative Matters

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

Trauma

  • Alleged negligence in Level 1 trauma work-up with death of highly compensated executive from aortic transection.

Emergency Medicine

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

Spine Surgery

  • 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.

Obstetrics

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

Radiology

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

Critical Care

  • Death of young mother allegedly due to negligent failure to timely diagnose and treat infection and sepsis.

Primary Care

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

Anesthesia

  • Alleged nerve injury from positioning.

Orthopaedics

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

Publications:

2018 Professional Liability Update

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?

Legal Issues for the Gastroenterologist: Part 1

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

2017 Professional Liability Update

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

2016 Professional Liability Update

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?

2015 Professional Liability Update

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 at 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

2014 Professional Liability Update

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?

2012 Professional Liability Update

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?

Can an Attorney be Liable for Harm Resulting from Misinformation Given to a Prospective Client?

Can a Lawyer Speak Out Against the Project of a Former Client?

When Does the Clock Begin Ticking on a Legal Malpractice Claim?

Litigation Activity as Basis for Debt Practices Collection Claim

E-Mail Purloined by Opposing Party

Does Federal District Court Have Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Legal Malpractice Claims Involving Patents?

When an Expert Opinion is Required to Support a Certificate of Merit in a Professional Liability Action

2011 Professional Liability Update

Can a Prospective Beneficiary Sue If the Intended Will Does Not Get Drafted or Executed in Time?

Another Consideration of Rule 1925(b) and Waiver

Professional Judgment and Speculative Damages in Transactional Malpractice

Is Notice of a Claim to a Former Partner Notice to the Former Firm?

No Malpractice Claim Unless the Actual Client Sustains Damages

Advising a Client of the Potential for Deportation

Bankruptcy Abuse and Lawyers

Error of Law Defense Not Recognized Under Federal Fair Debt Collection Law

Is a Certificate of Merit Required in a Professional Liability Action by a Non-Client Against a Lawyer? - Revisited

The BAPCPA as it Impacts Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyers

Are Confidential Communications from Attorney to Client Subject to Attorney-Client Privilege?

Are Lawyer-Client E-mails Sent on the Computer of Client's Employer Privileged?

Malpractice Claim for Failure to Record a Right of First Refusal

Legal Issues for the Gastroenterologist: Part II

News:

Eckert Seamans welcomes Kevin Farrington to Philadelphia office

Eckert Seamans welcomes Andrew J. Bond to Philadelphia office

Eckert Seamans welcomes health care industry veteran and professional liability litigator Rafael M. Villalobos, Jr., to Philadelphia office

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

Eckert Seamans welcomes Andrew Albero to Philadelphia office

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2015 recognizes Eckert Seamans lawyers in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh offices

Eckert Seamans Promotes Nine Lawyers to Partnership

New Associates Join Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2014 recognizes 35 lawyers from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh offices

Eckert Seamans Promotes 5 to Partnership