Legal Malpractice Insurance For Negligence In Massachusetts
We represent victims of legal malpractice in Massachusetts. Generally, our client alleges that his or her attorney was negligent when the attorney was handling the clients’ case. When the attorney has professional negligence insurance, the insurance company, upon notice of the claim, steps in and provides counsel and, in the event of a settlement or judgment, indemnifies, or pays, on the claim. On the other hand, in a recent case when an attorney and his former firm had a fee dispute, they tried to invoke the malpractice insurance policy, saying that “an act or omission in the performance of legal services” invoked the insurance, both to pay for the defense and to indemnify, or pay, any judgment. Federal Judge Ponsor, sitting in Springfield, however, found that the dispute was a business dispute, and not a negligence issue. The Court, however, in Clermont v. Continental Casualty Co. v. Freedman, DeRosa & Rondeau LLP, found that it was a “business decision”.
The federal case was derived from a serious personal injury lawsuit. When the victim’s attorney left his law firm, he took the client with him. At the time of settlement, the prior law firm filed an action to prevent any payout to the injured party absent getting a share of the attorney fee. Wherefore, the lawyer filed a countersuit against his former law firm. The plaintiff’s lawyer also filed a claim against his malpractice insurance company, requesting injunctive relief, saying that the insurance company should defend him, and make any payment required. Judge Ponsor found that the issue between the attorney and his previous partners was “not based on a wrongful act or omission in the provision of legal services” but it was the “business” of providing legal services.