Coverage Question Series – Part 29
Post on November 16th, 2018
This is a continuing series in which we address policy coverage questions that we routinely discuss with you and your colleagues. The answers provided are based on the basic policy form, currently LPLP-1s
(effective for all policies new or renewed as of May 1, 2018). Refer to your specific policy and any endorsements attached thereto that may change coverage or the answers provided here.
The lawsuit filed against me by a former client is nonsensical, claims $50,000,000 in damages and does not clearly state a claim for malpractice, am I covered?
It depends but possibly. Most attorneys have heard of someone who has been sued by that pro se plaintiff alleging violations of the magna carta and demanding monetary damages well in excess of any common insurance limits of liability. Hopefully you are not the unlucky attorney that is the target of one of these actions.
When we evaluate coverage for any particular claim, we are not examining the merits of the claim, but the allegations made. Assuming a current policy exists, an initial, general coverage review includes the following questions:
- Is the plaintiff demanding monetary damages?
- Does the policy provide coverage for the time period of the alleged act, error or omission?
- Did you provide “Professional Services” to the plaintiff? i.e. did you provide services or activities in a lawyer-client capacity?
- Are there any allegations that are not excluded by the policy?
This is not an exhaustive list and each claim has its own specific coverage evaluation. Generally, if you can answer yes to each of those questions, even if the complaint is garbled and nonsensical, there may be coverage for such a claim. If you are on the receiving end of one of these complaints, contact us and we will review and discuss your options with you.
As you should expect, these Q&A scenarios are based on simple hypotheticals. Coverage determinations for an actual claim are ultimately based on the unique facts, applicable law, and the Terms, Conditions, Limitations, Exclusions, and Endorsements of your policy.
Carl Marsh, Esq.