Lesser Law Group

San Rafael California Insurance Law Firm

Property dispute leads to legal malpractice claim

With high property values making California real estate a costly investment, property disputes can be expensive, as they are across the country. This may be especially true for people who believe they were poorly represented by their legal counsel in a land-use fight. In one case, Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, is suing his former attorney after a negative outcome in a property battle with his neighbors. Lewandowski says that his former lawyer did not provide proper representation in the 2017 case over a six-car garage that he wanted to build on his property, which his neighbors objected to.

He sued the neighbors in the dispute, who in turn filed a counter-suit accusing Lewandowski of attempting to intimidate and bully them through his political connections. Lewandowski wound up paying the neighbors $75,000 to settle the issues raised in the counter-suit. He says that his lawyer was unprepared for the case, especially defending against the counter-claim. Lewandowski alleges that when the issue came to trial, his attorney was admonished by the judge for his negligence, saying that he did not have evidence or witnesses to support Lewandowski's side.

Apple sues former executive who started a competing company

In a lawsuit filed recently in California, Apple Inc. accuses one of its former executives of using information he had access to while working with the company to launch his own competing business. The technology giant alleges that the man's scheme was designed to place Apple in a position where it had no choice but to buy his company. The lawsuit claims the man boasted to his colleagues that he was developing a processor Apple would need and have to acquire.

The complaint also alleges that the man violated the terms of his employment contract by luring Apple employees away to join his new company. Apple is asking for damages to compensate it for the man's alleged breaches of his duty of loyalty and his employment contract. The company also seeks an injunction to prevent further employee poaching. Legal experts feel that Apple's poaching arguments face an uphill battle as contracts that prevent workers from pursuing new opportunities are difficult to enforce in California.

Has your business insurer unfairly cancelled your policy?

As a business owner, you may be well aware of the risks involved in your industry. Not only may you face damage to your business, such as may occur in a California fire or other natural disaster, but you may also deal with liability issues if someone suffers injuries or damages as a result of your services, products or employees' actions. For this reason, you may carry numerous insurance policies or a package of several kinds of coverage.

What can you do if your insurer cancels your policy? The unfortunate fact is that many insurance policyholders do not really know or understand the contents of their policies. Therefore, they may not know when the insurer oversteps its rights to cancel coverage. If you have received a letter warning you that your coverage is coming to an end through no choice of yours, your first step is to carefully examine the fine print in your policy.

Bad faith issues continue to plague the insurance industry

Insurance is all but mandatory in certain instances, such as if you wish to drive a car in California or if you carry a mortgage on your home, and is seen as a necessity for things like health. And while it's certainly true that as much as most people would prefer not to have to pay for insurance, they absolutely never want to have to access the benefits of insurance by needing to file a claim. But when they do, they want their insurance company to be there for them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Insurance is a unique type of business in the sense that it is very much self-regulating. An insurance company will offer coverage for protected losses, and it is the main, and often sole, arbiter over whether the loss claimed by the policyholder is covered by terms of the policy and if so, to what extent. Considering that an insurance company is ultimately a for-profit business that very much wants to keep shareholders happy by increasing their bottom line, it is easy to see where there may be potential conflicts of interest. Legal commentators indicate that when an insurance company fails to perform its obligations properly, it may be an act of bad faith.

Has your insurer rejected your EPL claim?

Whether you own a large company or a family-run business, if you have employees, you may spend much of your time trying to keep them happy. Because you have seen the recent events involving accusations of misconduct that have ruined the careers of numerous successful people, you have decided it is wise to carry insurance in case your company should face similar allegations.

If you have purchased an Employment Practices Liability Coverage policy, you would be wise to read it carefully and understand exactly what it covers and what it excludes. Some policies may have terms that are confusing, and you don't want to discover your policy does not cover you when it is too late.

Ethereum co-founder's suit underscores importance of pre-contract legal review

California blockchain investors may be interested to learn that Harrison Hines, the founder of the Token Foundry, is suing a former business partner for breach of contract. His lawsuit was filed in the New York County branch of the Supreme Court of the State of New York on June 5.

According to court documents, Hines is seeking over $13 million in damages from Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of the Ethereum cryptocurrency project and also the co-founder of the ConsenSys project, which helped provide funding for Hines' Token Foundry. The Token Foundry, which specialized in helping new blockchain companies issue and market tokens, had to lay off most of its employees, including Hines, during the crypto market crash of 2018. However, the lawsuit contends that ConsenSys lied about the amount of equity available to employees when Token closed down and cheated them out of their rightful disbursement percentages.

Holding Your Insurer To Its Promises When Making a Claim

As a California business owner, you undoubtedly know the importance of having various types of insurance for your company. You likely have general liability insurance, property insurance and maybe even business income insurance.  Many companies need errors and omissions, directors and officers and cyber coverages as well.  Though you likely hoped to never need to file a claim, you knew that having this coverage was an important safeguard.

Now, you may find yourself feeling differently about your insurance coverage because of difficulties you face with the insurer after having to file a claim. In fact, you may worry that you will not obtain the payout you need even though your policy covers the claim. What are your remedies for the carrier's conduct?

About accountant malpractice

Many people in California do not feel comfortable handling their own accounting. They may opt to use an accountant who can assume the responsibility of ensuring that their taxes and other financial matters are in good standing. However, if the accountant does not properly manage their accounts, they may be the victim of accounting malpractice.

The Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are protocols by which accountants are bound to abide by. GAAS pertains to when accountants provide an objective and transparent auditing of their clients' accounts. GAAP applies when accountants prepare financial statements on the behalf of clients. There are various forms of accountant malpractice that could take place when accountants stray from the standards and principles established by GAAS and GAAP.

$1 million punitive damages award upheld against insurer

A California court of appeals has upheld a judgment against a major insurance company for dealing with one of its insureds in bad faith. In August 2008, a 24-year-old man was in a serious car accident on a California highway. He was traveling at around 45 or 50 miles per hour when he crashed head-on with a vehicle that had crossed into his lane traveling approximately the same speed. The at-fault driver, who had crossed into the wrong lane, was killed in the crash.

The insurance carrier for the at-fault driver paid out the policy maximum, $50,000, and the 24-year-old man's attorney sought further recovery from GEICO, which was his insurer. In December 2009, the attorney filed a claim under the man's underinsured motorist coverage. The claim included medical records and other documentation, and it demanded $50,000, which represented the man's $100,000 underinsured motorist policy limit minus the $50,000 that had already been paid by the at-fault insurer.

Understanding professional malpractice and filing a claim

When Californians hear the term "malpractice," they will automatically think of a medical mistake that leads to illness or injury to themselves or death of a loved one. However, malpractice is not limited to medical professionals. If other professionals who agree to provide various services make mistakes through intent or incompetence, there is recourse to address it and be financially compensated. When errors are made by an accountant, an attorney, a financial professional or anyone else, it can warrant a professional malpractice legal filing.

Professional malpractice occurs if there are egregious errors related to failing to adhere to the requirements for professionalism, the professional does not live up to the appropriate standard of care, shows negligence, commits fraud or other acts that harm the client. To recover damages in these circumstances, it is important to know what to do to pursue compensation and hold the professional accountable.

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