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Professional Liability

Recognition

In September 2016, Marshall Dennehey's Professional Liability Department was recognized as the Pennsylvania "Litigation Department of the Year" for both medical and non-medical professional liability by The Legal Intelligencer. The practice group was selected for its focused approach and responsiveness to clients. Read "Ready to Roll: Marshall Dennehey Puts Clients' Needs First."

Overview

Since the inception of Marshall Dennehey’s Professional Liability Practice Group, we have recognized that professional firms and service providers are frequently at risk of being sued over the services they perform.

Because of our experience and expertise, our professional liability attorneys are the first choice for professionals sued for alleged negligent acts, errors or omissions, or other alleged failings while rendering their services.

Our Professional Liability Practice Group is broad-based. It includes many senior attorneys who have significant experience in the defense of large-exposure, politically sensitive and complex cases. We thoroughly examine each case upon intake to ensure the right attorney with the appropriate experience defends that case for that particular professional.

Our offices are centrally linked by state-of-the-art computer networking. Our clients realize added value from our extensive network of offices: travel time is sharply reduced, and the attorneys working out of these offices and living in these respective areas are intimately familiar with local practice and enjoy a good rapport with the judges before whom they frequently appear.

Recognizing the need for a cost-effective approach to the defense of professionals, our firm is dedicated to providing our clients with quality, timely and economical service. We are on the cutting edge in developing innovative and alternative billing practices.

The Professional Liability Practice Group serves clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and New York. We welcome the opportunity to work with you in handling your professional liability litigation. We are also available to furnish value-add services, such as presentations/training seminars at your location or at one of our offices.

Lawyers' Professional Liability

Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin is uniquely positioned to defend lawyers’ professional liability (LPL) claims. We have been doing so for over three decades. In addition to defending civil matters, we also represent attorneys in disciplinary matters, and we furnish counseling and risk management advice to law firms.

Our familiarity with the bench and bar fosters our ability to manage sensitive issues inherent in many legal malpractice and bar complaint matters. Representing our brethren at the bar requires tact, finesse, experience and poise—the attorneys of this practice group are especially sensitive to reputational issues.

The prototypical legal malpractice case involves two matters: the act or omission of the attorney and the underlying lawsuit or transaction. Marshall Dennehey’s clients benefit as a result of the capability found in our more than thirty distinct practice groups. For example, when a legal malpractice claim derives from an underlying medical malpractice matter, members of our Health Care Liability Practice Group bring depth and added knowledge to the defense of the matter.

In addition to the firm’s prowess in defending attorneys and their firms, Marshall Dennehey is proud of its success in providing creative solutions to traditional legal issues. The attorneys within the practice group look for “business solutions” and have structured the resolution of cases by resurrecting the underlying transaction which gave rise to the legal malpractice claim.

The attorneys within this practice are involved in precedent-setting matters. Also, we are thought leaders in the professional liability industry as frequent authors and speakers on risk management and legal malpractice defense.

In addition to defending these claims in the six states where our offices are located, we try cases as lead counsel on a national basis and associate with local counsel when necessary. The firm is fortunate that it has provided counsel to respected lawyers from essentially every domestic insurance carrier and has represented lawyers through the London market.

Disciplinary Board Practice

The conduct and actions of attorneys are governed by a complex series of rules of professional conduct, rules of civility and ethical practice considerations. However, when attorneys are faced with having to defend their actions and/or conduct in disciplinary proceedings, very few are ever fully prepared to address the situation head-on. The quasi-judicial and quasi-administrative nature of the disciplinary process can be intimidating. Attorneys who choose pro se representation in a disciplinary proceeding may find themselves uninformed and may take an action that has unintended consequences.

Our highly-respected and experienced attorneys are recognized leaders in legal malpractice. They frequently counsel attorney clients and respond to matters before disciplinary boards and/or agencies in the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. Our attorneys are well-versed in the procedures governing the disciplinary process in all of the jurisdictions where they serve. Please consider reaching out to us if you find yourself called before a disciplinary board or panel.

Accountants' Professional Liability

A discrete group of attorneys in the Professional Liability Practice Group staff the accountants’ professional liability (APL) team. These attorneys focus on the defense of any size accounting firm, person or practice in federal and state courts in all jurisdictions in which the firm has offices. In addition to defending civil matters, these attorneys represent accountants in disciplinary matters and provide counseling and risk management advice to individual CPAs, PAs, bookkeepers and their related firms.

Members of our accountants’ professional liability team  are intimately familiar with the nuances of accounting practices, and one attorney is also a CPA. They are well-versed in the various types of claims and litigation an accounting professional may face, for example, an attest engagement or provision of bookkeeping services.

The typical accounting malpractice case involves myriad legal doctrines, many of which have evolved from cases handled by members of the Marshall Dennehey team. This group of attorneys prides itself on being at the forefront of these legal issues, and it applies that forward-thinking approach to each defense engagement.

In addition to being in the vanguard of decisional law in accountants’ malpractice matters, our team members frequently operate risk management hotlines for accountants across the country. These attorneys publish articles in CPA journals, insurance industry publications and legal periodicals—all directed toward the nuances of the issues with which accountants are faced each day in their practices.

 Accountants’ Professional Liability Hotline – Our firm partners with several national carriers to provide hotline/pre‐claim assistance to its accountant insureds.  Wilhelm Dingler, a shareholder at Marshall Dennehey, oversees this hotline program.

Marshall Dennehey is proud of its success in presenting creative solutions to traditional legal issues. The attorneys within our APL team look for “business solutions” and have structured the resolution of cases by resurrecting the underlying transaction giving rise to the malpractice claim. Our attorneys have been successful in obviating claims and litigation by appearing in Tax Court to assist an insured’s client in successfully reversing an audit finding or assessment by the IRS.

Not every accountants’ malpractice case is actually litigated. Indeed, a great many liability claims are actually resolved without resorting to litigation. Others are resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. Such proceedings are qualitatively different from court proceedings and in many respects require a different skill set. Our team is flexible and experienced enough to assess which cases belong in ADR versus traditional litigation, and we will assist you and your insureds in directing your matters to the appropriate forum for the most expedient, cost-efficient solution.

Miscellaneous Professional E&O Liability

When it comes to defending clients in miscellaneous professional liability (MPL) matters, all of our professional liability attorneys have experience in defending clients in these claims.

Over the years, our attorney’s have handled thousands of professional E&O matters in all of the six states where we maintain our offices. Many of our professional liability attorneys have significant experience in the defense of large-exposure, politically sensitive and complex cases. Our attorneys counsel and defend a broad client base, including, but not limited to:

Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations • Alarm Monitoring Services • Associations • Auctioneers • Background Screeners • Bookkeeping and/or Tax Preparation Services • Business Brokers • Cell Tower Acquisition/Leasing • Employment Agencies/Staffing Services • Environmental Analysts • Event/Conference Planning • Freight Forwarders/Customs House Brokers • Graphic Designers • Human Resources Outsourcing • Insurance Agents and Brokers • Landman Services • Life Coaches • Management and Strategic Consultants • Medical Billers/Coders • Medical Practice Management • Payroll Processors • Probation Officers/Ankle • Professional Employer Organizations • Specialty Consultants • Technical Writers • Trustee Services • Utility/Energy Credit Brokers

Real Estate E&O Liability

Our firm’s Real Estate E&O Liability team provides experienced and knowledgeable litigation defense to real estate professionals. In each of our offices, we have attorneys handling such claims who possess intimate knowledge of the relevant statutes, regulations and case law. We represent real estate agents, real estate brokers, title agents, home inspectors, appraisers and mortgage brokers, and our attorneys aggressively defend their cases from the commencement of litigation, without a “ramp up” period.

Our attorneys have handled hundreds of real estate liability cases. They have successfully defended real estate licensees in state and federal courts in cases involving, for example, allegations that sellers and licensees failed to disclose known material defects with respect to real property and/or made affirmative misrepresentations regarding conditions of real property. In such cases, our attorneys possess a competitive advantage because they are familiar with the licensing statutes and accompanying regulations, as well as the various states’ seller’s disclosure laws.

This team of attorneys also have extensive experience defending title agents in claims for indemnity made by title insurance underwriters and by third parties/insureds for problems that allegedly arise from real estate closings. Once again, our attorneys possess a working knowledge of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the policies and contractual relationships governing the interrelationship between parties in these cases.

Additionally, we have represented real estate licensees and appraisers before state licensing boards and commissions. We are intimately familiar with the real world problems faced by real estate professionals, and we anticipate and identify developments and trends in the industry before they become apparent to the legal and insurance communities at large.

Although we are committed to litigating such matters through trial if necessary, we are often able to obtain favorable early settlements, which satisfy our clients’ goals of cost-effective and efficient litigation defense. Our trial attorneys are adept at identifying the core issues in these cases, and they work closely with our clients to ascertain whether a non-litigation remedy exists and whether alternative dispute resolution is more appropriate.

The Real Estate E&O Liability team serves clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and New York. Consistent with our firm’s proactive approach and philosophy, we welcome the opportunity to present educational seminars and workshops as a mutually beneficial introduction to one another.

Case Study February 8, 2013

Pages

May 11, 2017
Successfully defended a Pennsylvania real estate broker who represented the seller in a residential real estate transaction. ​The homeowner-plaintiffs claimed that the seller and our client failed to disclose certain material defects in the property...
May 11, 2017
Successfully defended a condominium association in arbitration before the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation regarding alleged violations of the Florida Condominium Act. The petitioner’s complaint alleged that the...
May 11, 2017
Obtained a non-appealable defense award at binding arbitration in an alleged negligent procurement of insurance case. The plaintiff alleged the insurance agent failed to obtain comparable coverage to the plaintiff’s prior coverage, resulting...
Dec 6, 2016
Our client was a lawyer whose former client obtained a building permit to expand his beach house. When the construction was almost complete, the town issued a stop work order on the basis that the construction did not conform to the plans filed with...
Dec 6, 2016
The plaintiff was a former attorney and county commissioner who was indicted in the “Kids for Cash” scandal. A federal jury convicted the plaintiff of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official...
Aug 25, 2016
Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against our client, a large, regional accounting firm. The claims arose from our client’s auditing and SEC-reporting work on behalf...
Aug 25, 2016
Marshall Dennehey attorneys obtained a directed verdict after a four-day jury trial in Philadelphia County. The plaintiff, a Philadelphia police sergeant who had been discharged, sued the lawyer provided by the FOP at a grievance arbitration on the...
Aug 25, 2016
In this non-profit agency directors and officers liability case, our client, a non-profit environmental protection association, was dismissed with prejudice on preliminary objections in the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Pennsylvania. The...
Apr 21, 2016
Obtained a decision from the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denying the appellant’s motion for re-hearing in a complex legal malpractice action that involved a series of cases spanning 25 years and invoked the...
Apr 21, 2016
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurance agent and agency in Ohio, who sold the plaintiff property and liability insurance on its business. A fire loss occurred, and the insured discovered that it did not have business interruption...

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Mediation July 17, 2017
Law Alerts July 1, 2017
The plaintiff entered into a sales contract with the defendant for the construction of a home. Ten years after closing on the home, the plaintiff filed suit against the builder, alleging construction defects. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss..., Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2017 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice...
Articles June 23, 2017
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2017
Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017 By Aaron E. Moore, Esq.* Key Points: Dragonetti Act penalizes attorneys and clients who engage in frivolous litigation. Dragonetti Act is not unconstitutional. Supreme Court held that the Act..., Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to...
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2017
Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017 By David W. Henry, Esq.* Key Points: Settling professional liability claims poses some unusual challenges. Associations and entities operated by governing boards require additional...,   Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not...
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2017
Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017 By David J. Oberly, Esq.* Key Points: Amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will change discovery practice in federal courts. Changes focus on the scope of discovery, proportional...,   Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not...

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May 9, 2017
Elizabeth B. Ferguson, Esq. has joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin as a shareholder in the firm’s Jacksonville office. A member of the Professional Liability Department, she defends clients against claims of liability, breach of contract, construction defect, design defect, delay...
March 13, 2017
John "Jack" Slimm, Senior Counsel in the Cherry Hill office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America. The induction ceremony was held at the College's annual Spring Meeting...
September 21, 2016
We are honored to announce that Marshall Dennehey has been selected a winner in two categories of The Legal Intelligencer's 2016 Litigation Departments of the Year contest. The firm has been recognized in the areas of Appellate Law and Professional Liability, which in this particular contest...
March 17, 2016
Three Marshall Dennehey attorneys are set to speak at three separate sessions at the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance's (CLM) annual conference, to be held April 6 – 8 in Orlando, Florida. The CLM promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management to foster...
November 4, 2015
Jonathan E. Kanov and Claudia A. Costa, professional liability attorneys at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, will be featured presenters at the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) 2015 Annual Conference, to be held November 11-13 in Dallas, Texas.  Mr. Kanov and fellow...
August 18, 2015
Arthur W. Lefco, professional liability attorney in the Philadelphia office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has been named the 2016 Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" for Philadelphia by Best Lawyers in America©. Mr. Lefco was additionally recognized by Best...
July 27, 2015
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin announced today that Nicholas Chrysanthem has joined the firm's New York City office as a shareholder in the Professional Liability Department. Previously, he was a member in the Manhattan office of McManus & Richter, P.C. An experienced litigator...
May 27, 2015
David W. Henry has joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin as a shareholder in the firm’s Orlando office. A member of the Professional Liability Department, he focuses his practice on matters involving business and insurance disputes including employment claims, professional liability...
May 6, 2015
Claudia A. Costa, Special Counsel in Marshall Dennehey's Roseland office, will discuss liability issues surrounding sexual assaults on college campuses at the CLM 2015 Professional Liability Conference, to be held June 4 – 5 in Chicago. Ms. Costa's presentation is titled, "Costs of a Higher...
April 10, 2015
Brigid Q. Alford, Esq., shareholder in the Camp Hill office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has been named a recipient of the 2015 "Women of Influence" Awards by the Central Penn Business Journal.  The Women of Influence program recognizes 25 female leaders in the midstate who are...

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Seminar May 1, 2014
Michael Detweiler, shareholder in our Professional Liability Department, will be a featured speaker at the PBI Travel Law seminar, to be held May 1 in Philadelphia. Michael and other panelists will discuss hot topics in the field of travel law,...
Conference Jun 17, 2014
David Shannon will discuss E & O Cyber Liability at the 8th Annual E & O Insurance ExecuSummit, to be held June 17 - 18 in Uncasville, CT. Additionally, Jeffrey Chomko will participate on a panel discussing Insurance Agents & Brokers E...
Seminar May 28, 2015
Claudia Costa will participate as a moderator and panelist at the PLUS Hartford Chapter seminar meeting on May 28 at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Claudia and a panel will discuss "Actions Against Schools for Bullying and Sexual...
Conference Dec 3, 2015
Claudia Costa will co-present the session, "Hot Topics for Non-Profit D&O Liability" on Thursday, December 3 at 1:30 p.m. She and co-presenter Thomas Lookstein of the Starr Companies, will discuss how directors and officers of non-...
Seminar Mar 19, 2016
Every year, an increasing number of New Jersey attorneys find themselves facing ethical issues - often without realizing they were inadvertently in violation. Don’t become another statistic - learn everything you need to know to effectively...
Conference Apr 6, 2016
Niki Ingram, director of the Workers' Compensation Department, Eric Fitzgerald, assistant director of the Professional Liability Department, and Claudia Costa, a member of the Professional Liability Department, are speaking at the 2016 CLM...
Conference Sep 19, 2016
Martin Schwartzberg, a shareholder in the Professional Liability Department in the firm's Long Island office, will take part in a panel discussion: How to Control, Manage, Reduce and Monitor Litigation Cost and Risk  A critical...
Seminar Nov 4, 2016
This seminar will focus on an often overlooked area of liability insurance – covering copyright, trademark and patent litigation. The seminar will also explore the various insurance coverages that are available, discussed some of the insurance...
Seminar Dec 8, 2016
Wilhelm Dingler, Shareholder, in the Professional Liability Department will be joining a panel discussion on "Top 10 Trouble Spots for Accountants and How to Defend Against Them" at the DRI Professional Liability Seminar.  This...
Seminar May 18, 2017
Wilhelm Dingler will sit on a panel that will explore the development and admissibility of expert testimony in professional liability litigation, with an emphasis on themes that cross several disciplines (attorney; accountant; architects and...
Conference Sep 23, 2017
Paul Lees, a shareholder in the firm's Allentown office, along with William Dewalt of Lehigh University, will be presenting on the topic  "But We Had a Contract! Understanding Contractual Risk Transfer and Drafting Effective (and...

Chair

Christopher E. Dougherty
Chairman of the Board of Directors; Director, Professional Liability Department
(215) 575-2733
cedougherty@mdwcg.com

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