Independent Insurance Agents: Order Takers or Fiduciaries?

Independent Insurance Agents: Order Takers or Fiduciaries?
Article co-written by C. Thomas Ludden, litigation Partner at the Lipson Neilson law firm, and James R. Redeker, claims manager in the Insurance Agent’s E&O Program at SwissRe Corporate Solutions.

An insured has a significant loss, but discovers that the insurance company will not cover the loss under the insurance policy that had been purchased. One of the potential options that an insured may consider pursuing is a claim against the insurance agent who was involved. Whether that claim is ultimately successful may depend upon whether the agent is considered a fiduciary of the insured or the agent has assumed duties in addition to the duty of ordinary care.

The answer to these questions depends upon:

1. Whether the agent is an independent or captive agent;

2. What duties are normally imposed by the applicable jurisdiction;

3. Whether the agent and the customer have agreed that the agent would perform additional duties;

4. Whether the agent has performed acts or omissions that trigger additional duties; and

5. Whether unique circumstances exist that will impose additional duties upon the agent…Click here for full article.

Featured Attorney Kaleb Anderson

Kaleb D. Anderson is a Partner in Lipson Neilson’s Las Vegas office, practicing in the areas of homeowner/community associations, directors & officers, professional liability, insurance defense, and real estate. Mr. Anderson has been practicing law in Nevada since 2001, and his experience includes the representation of large corporations and insurance companies as well as individuals and small businesses.

He has successfully defended hundreds of directors & officers, HOAs and community associations in actions relating to NRS Chapter 116 and alleged breaches of governing documents. This experience includes actions before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies. Mr. Anderson is regularly involved in litigation that shapes the landscape of community association law in Nevada.

In addition, Kaleb has extensive experience representing financial institutions in creditor’s rights actions. This includes defense of FDCPA claims as well as actions to collect consumer and commercial debt.

Prior to joining Lipson Neilson, Kaleb worked at the Las Vegas office of a large insurer where he defended and tried general liability and insurance defense cases.

HONORS

In addition to his membership in the Nevada and Clark County bar associations, Mr. Anderson is also involved with the local chapter of the University of Utah alumni association, and does volunteer legal work through his local church.  He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived for two years in Brazil doing humanitarian work.

2016 Super Lawyers List Includes Seven Lipson Neilson Lawyers

Bloomfield Hills based Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C., a national law firm with offices also in Las Vegas and Phoenix, is proud to announce that seven attorneys from the firm have been selected to the 2016 Super Lawyers list: Jeffrey Neilson, Steven Cole, Phillip Seltzer, Mary T. Schmitt Smith, Joseph Garin, Jessica Green and Corey Richter. No more than five percent of lawyers in a state are selected as Super Lawyers; and no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers are named to the Rising Stars list.

Jeffrey T. Neilson (Bloomfield Hills) has been selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the tenth consecutive year. One of the firm’s founders, Jeffrey is known nationally for his expertise in probate litigation, business counseling, estate planning and domestic and family law liability. In 2014, Jeffrey was reappointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve on Michigan’s Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC); this appointment is through October 1, 2017.

Steven R. Cole (Bloomfield Hills) has been selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the tenth consecutive year. One of the firm’s founders, Steven has a diverse practice focusing on real estate, business and corporate matters, and estate planning. Steven has previously served as an adjunct instructor of taxation at area business colleges and has taught continuing education courses approved by the Michigan Insurance Bureau for licensed insurance professionals. He has conducted numerous seminars for the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, and has served on the boards of directors of public charities.

Phillip E. Seltzer (Bloomfield Hills) has been selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the sixth consecutive year. Phillip is a specialist in the areas of legal malpractice, accounting malpractice, architect and design professional malpractice, real estate broker errors and omissions, directors’ and officers’ liability claims, and complex business tort claims. Phillip is a member of the Litigation Practice and Torts Insurance Practice Sections of the American Bar Association; the Litigation, Business Law, Corporation and Negligence Sections of the State Bar of Michigan; the Defense Research Institute; the Michigan Defense Trial Council (MDTC); and the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS.)

Mary T. Schmitt Smith (Bloomfield Hills) has been selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the tenth consecutive year. Mary advises clients about estate planning, tax and probate options, with a distinct focus on drafting and administration of Special Needs Trusts. Mary is Michigan’s first Certified Elder Law Attorney and is AV-Rated by Martindale Hubbell for the past 17 years. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and is a charter member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national network of lawyers dedicated to Disability and Public Benefits Law.

Joseph P. Garin (Las Vegas) has been selected to the Mountain States Super Lawyers list for the tenth consecutive year. Joseph was recently selected to serve as a member of the new Professional Liability Advisory Board for the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM). This board is comprised of industry leaders from across the United States that will guide the development of extensive professional liability resources. The CLM is the only national organization created to meet the needs of more than 35,000 professionals in the claims and litigation management industries. Joseph is consulted nationally on the defense of professional liability claims, ethics, employment, insurance coverage disputes, director and officer claims, and risk management.

Jessica A. Green (Las Vegas) has been selected as a Mountain States Super Lawyers’ Rising Star for the third consecutive year. Jessica has defended many lawyers and law firms throughout the country during her career and is recognized as an emerging leader in Errors and Omissions (E&O), Employment, and Insurance Coverage law. Jessica is also well versed in education law and she serves as an Educational Surrogate Parent and Transition Specialist for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. In doing so, she advocates for children with disabilities, ensuring their schools are meeting their disability-related needs. Jessica is a national liaison for the Defense Research Institute Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee.

Corey I. Richter (Phoenix) has been selected as a Southwest Super Lawyers’ Rising Star for the third consecutive year. Corey has represented the world’s most prominent manufacturers of automobiles and recreational vehicles in warranty, catastrophic injury and property damage litigation, and he also has experience representing clients in the aerospace and defense industry. He has represented clients in states throughout the country in matters ranging from administrative complaints by the Attorney General to complex multi-million dollar contract disputes.

About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

About Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C.
Founded in 1985, the firm has grown from three founding members to thirty-two attorneys located in three states. The firm has also expanded its expertise from its core business, tax and litigation practice areas during its early days, to currently offering a full range of practice areas including complex business tort litigation, professional liability defense, employment law and litigation, international law, real estate, probate litigation, family law and estate planning. Lipson Neilson attorneys represent and provide counsel to clients around the country, and around the world.

To learn more about the firm, please visit www.lipsonneilson.com, or call (248) 593-5000.

Contact: Jeffrey Neilson
Phone: (248) 593-5000
Email: JNeilson@lipsonneilson.com

Attorney Eric Tran Joins Lipson Neilson’s Las Vegas Office

tran-005-web-res-resizedAttorney Eric Tran has joined the firm’s Las Vegas office. Eric’s practice includes commercial litigation, personal injury, general liability defense, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith litigation, and professional liability.

Prior to joining the firm, Eric served as corporate counsel for a startup technology company in Las Vegas. He also previously served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Nevada defending state agencies and state employees in civil rights actions in both state and federal court. Eric is admitted to practice in the Nevada, California, and the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Eric received a B.A. in Political Science and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a J.D. from the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. In addition to English, Eric is also fluent in the Vietnamese language.

Eric Tran’s Published Cases:

Andrew v. Century Sur. Co., No. 2:12-CV-00978-APG, 2015 WL 5691254, at *1 (D. Nev. Sept. 28, 2015)

  • Obtained summary judgment ruling that a $14,000,000 default judgment against an insured was a reasonably foreseeable consequential damage caused by an insurer’s breach of its duty to defend its insured; that an insurer who breaches its duty to defend its insured will be bound the default judgment against its insured; and that the insurer’s liability is not capped at the $1 million policy limit.

Brady, Vorwerck, Ryder & Caspino v. New Albertson’s Inc., 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 68, 333 P.3d 229, 230 (Aug. 7, 2014)

  • Obtained a favorable ruling in a certified question of law that the statute of limitations in NRS 11.207, as revised by the Nevada Legislature in 1997, is tolled against an action for attorney malpractice, pending the outcome of underlying suit including all appeals in which the malpractice allegedly occurred.

USF Ins. Co. v. Smith’s Food and Drug Center, Inc., 2013 WL 438585, 1 (D. Nev. 2013)

  • Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of Smith’s in a bad faith action arising from USF’s failure to defend and indemnify Smith’s in an underlying action from a third party.




David Michael Featured Speaker at Real Estate Law Seminar for New Lawyers

IMG_1417David Michael, an attorney at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C., and the immediate Past-Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s Real Estate Committee, will be one of two featured speakers during the upcoming “Practical Knowledge Seminar on Real Estate Law.” This seminar will be conducted at 6:00pm on October 13, 2016 at the Oakland County Bar Association in Bloomfield Hills. Part of the OCBA U Practical Knowledge series, this seminar will provide new lawyers with insight into the nuts-and-bolts of real estate law in Michigan.

David Michael specializes in all aspects of real estate law and litigation and remains active in the Oakland County Bar Association’s Real Estate Committee. Most recently, Mr. Michael co-authored an article for the journal Laches titled “Avoiding the Abyss: Environmental Due Diligence in Real Estate” and—along with co-authors Brian Considine, Nicholas Maloof and moderator Philip Grashoff—presented a seminar of the same name on June 15, 2016, at Cooley Law School.

Contact: David Michael
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: DMichael@lipsonneilson.com

Joe Garin to Speak at the 2016 CLM Claims College – School of Professional Lines

Joseph Garin resize 1Joe Garin, Managing Partner of the firm’s Las Vegas office, will be speaking at the CLM 2016 Claims College School of Professional Lines. The 2016 Claims College will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, September 7-10.

Each school is comprised of three levels and successful completion of all levels in a particular school will earn participants a respected and sought after designation, which will become the industry standard for identifying top-notch claims professionals. For individual schools, levels consist of pre-course reading materials, in-class instruction, group projects and an exam. The Claims College is not an industry seminar or conference, this is a true educational experience designed to help educate and grow the claims profession.

Mr. Garin is consulted nationally on the defense of professional liability claims, ethics, employment, insurance coverage disputes, director and officer claims, and risk management. He is also experienced in handling complex and commercial litigation matters, including cases involving unfair business practices.

Mr. Garin earned a B.G.S. degree from the University of Michigan and received his J.D. degree cum laude from Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He is a member of the State Bar of Nevada, the State Bar of Colorado, the State Bar of Michigan and the State Bar of Illinois. He is admitted before the United States District Court the District of Nevada, the District of Colorado, the Eastern and Western District of Michigan, as well as in the Sixth and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Garin is the immediate past Chair to the State Bar of Nevada Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics and continues to serve as a member of the Committee. He is a member a co-chair to the Professional Liability Committee for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance.

About the CLM
The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management and brings together the thought leaders in both industries. CLM’s Members and Fellows include risk and litigation managers, insurance and claims professionals, corporate counsel, outside counsel and third party vendors. The CLM sponsors educational programs, provides resources and fosters communication among all in the industry. To learn more about the CLM, please visit www.theclm.org.

David A. Clark Joins Las Vegas Office as a Partner in the Firm

David ClarkJeffrey Neilson, Managing Partner of the Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C. law firm, is proud to announce that former Bar Counsel for the State Bar of Nevada, David A. Clark, has joined the firm as a Partner in its Las Vegas office. Clark’s practice focuses mainly on professional liability defense, discipline defense, ethics opinions and expert witness testimony; he has worked as Of Counsel for the firm since August 2015.

“David has extensive experience in attorney regulation for professional liability, attorney discipline and commercial litigation. He has prosecuted more than 1,000 attorney grievances from the investigation stage through trial and appeal that resulted in reported decisions, and he filed emergency suspension and reciprocal discipline petitions to the Supreme Court. He’s a great addition,” said Jeffrey Neilson.

Clark worked as a prosecutor for the Office of Bar Counsel for 15 years, including five years as the chief discipline counsel for the State Bar. During this time, Clark obtained several injunctions and contempt orders in state court against parties who practiced law without authorization and successfully defended the bar in California and Nevada federal court against actions over prosecutions. He established the training program for the Southern and Northern Disciplinary Boards, obtained numerous changes to the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct and the Supreme Court’s rules for attorney discipline, and he drafted the Disciplinary Rules of Procedure that were adopted in July 2014 by a task force and the Board of Governors.

Clark has presented during numerous continuing legal education-certified seminars on attorney ethics, has spoken about ethics and attorney discipline to paralegal groups, and taught paralegal ethics and legal research at the College of Southern Nevada since 2004.

He received a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1990, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Claremont McKenna College.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. has offices in Bloomfield Hills, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The firm is widely known for its excellence in the professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients across the USA and around the world. You can learn more about the firm at www.lipsonneilson.com.