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Practice Highlights

  • Our clients often come to us with problems before the filing of a lawsuit.
  • We work with licensed professionals to manage problems early and provide an aggressive litigation defense when necessary.
  • We devote a substantial portion of our practice to representing licensed professionals in errors & omissions and malpractice litigation.

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Professional Liability

Attorneys in our Professional Liability Group counsel and represent licensed professionals such as accountants, architects, individual attorneys and law firms and insurance agents and brokers when disputes arise following the provision of services. Our team serves clients from all offices of the firm and has an unparalleled record of successfully litigating claims against professionals at the trial and appellate levels throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. Our clients include the professionals as well as the insurers who underwrite their professional liability exposures.

We also specialize in advising insurers (particularly in excess or quota share programs) when their insured professional is brought into litigation, where we monitor, work with defense counsel and coordinate with other insurers.

Our service to certain professionals, such as healthcare providers and insurance producers, includes representation in licensing, staff privileges and similar matters before administrative agencies and regulatory boards. In addition, lawyers in our business-related practices counsel professional business organizations on an array of issues which include creditors rights, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), real estate transactions, and restrictive covenant enforcement.  

Representative Insurance Broker Matters
  • Successfully represented defendant broker in multi-million dollar Superstorm Sandy flood damage case, the court finding that brokers have no duty to offer or recommend higher limits of coverage in the absence of a special relationship with the client. S. Osborne & Co., Inc. v. Charter Oak Fire Ins. Co., et al., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 1051; 2017 W.L. 1548796 (N.J. App. Div. 2017)
  • Lead counsel in case where the New Jersey Appellate Division overturned a $9 million judgment against an insurance broker in a suit arising from the sale of breach of warranty and hull insurance to a commercial ferry operator. Harbor Commuter Service, Inc. v. Frenkel & Co., Inc., et al., 401 N.J. Super 546 (App. Div. 2008)
  • Handling motion practice and briefing before the Pennsylvania courts in an effort to establish that the Pennsylvania bad faith statute, 42 P.S. Section 8371, does not apply to claims against insurance brokers and agents
  • Handled trial and appeal of case establishing insurance agents and brokers are not subject to the treble damages and attorney fee exposure of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. N.J.S.A. 56:8-1. See, Plemmons v. Blue Chip Ins. Services, 387 J. Super 551 (App. Div. 2006)
  • Secured multi-million dollar recovery on behalf of New Jersey insurance agents whose agreements with an auto insurance carrier were proven, before an administrative tribunal, to have been terminated in violation of New Jersey law; see, Scheller v. Rutgers Casualty Insurance Co., 2008 WL 2121254 (N.J. App. Div. 2008)
  • Secured summary judgment for insurance broker in suit arising from fire loss denial, the court finding that broker had no duty to explain the policy to the client and that claimant/client was unable to establish legal causation. See, Berenato v. Seneca Spec. Ins. Co., 240 F.Supp. 3rd 351 (E.D.Pa. 2017)

Representative Legal Malpractice Experience

Traditional Legal Malpractice Litigation/Related Experience

Our firm has substantial experience and success representing attorneys and law firms in legal malpractice matters across a variety of underlying “case within the case” matters, including, by way of example:

  • bankruptcy, fraud, and self-dealing claims;
  • corporate attorney representations/claimed misrepresentations and lack of due diligence by corporate counsel;
  • family trust/legal probate disputes;
  • patent matters;
  • real estate transactions;
  • representation of a condominium association board;
  • successful defense of multiple Philadelphia-based law firms in matters involving a variety of claims;
  • a telecommunications rate-setting dispute; and
  • underlying personal injury litigation.

Our firm’s unique cyber experience can be invaluable to defending legal malpractice claims arising out of data privacy or protection failures. We have represented attorneys in proceedings before state bar examiners, have served on disciplinary boards and ethics committees and have been appointed special masters in ethics matters. Senior Counsel David Marion received U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2019 Legal Malpractice Law "Lawyer of the Year" award in Philadelphia.

Representative reported decisions include:
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal of legal malpractice claim against attorney and law firm arising from family trust disputes. See, Jake Ball Trust v. Durst, et al., 2015 US Dist. LEXIS 160025 (D.N.J. 2015), aff’d 663 F. Appx. 231 (3rd 2016)
  • Obtained summary judgment in a legal malpractice action against a law firm in which over $10 million had been at issue in an underlying telecommunications commercial litigation matter; Communications Network International, Ltd. v. Mullineaux (Pa. Superior Court)

Legal Malpractice/Excess and Quota Share Programs

Our Financial Lines Practice Group has significant experience both defending legal malpractice claims involving small and mid-sized law firms in jurisdictions where White and Williams has offices and acting as coverage and monitoring counsel for insurance company clients throughout the United States, either solely or as part of a quota share group representation, which coordinates with defense counsel and other insurers in connection with these claims.

In the large-stakes coverage and monitoring counsel representations, we are typically engaged by excess insurers to efficiently manage and resolve high-stakes litigation against AmLaw 100 law firms that threaten the excess layers on these law firm’s E&O insurance programs. Insurance clients hold us in high regard because we are thoughtful and professional in our dealings with defense counsel and the insurance broker, while using our developed relationships with excess insurers, their outside counsel and mediators to drive settlements of these cases to the lowest reasonable amounts that can be achieved. In many cases, we have been effective at building coalitions of excess insurers to successfully negotiate defense strategies and settlements as a block.

Restrictive Covenant Experience

White and Williams understands what it means to protect your business. Our team has handled hundreds of restrictive covenant, trade secret and non-compete matters in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, California and Illinois. In addition to insurance, our clients come from a wide variety of industries including aerospace, executive recruiting, petrochemical, real estate, technology and media and professional services firms.

Our team has counseled numerous businesses and individuals with respect to their rights and obligations under, and strategy with respect to, restrictive covenants. Our experience includes advising and representing insurance brokers on:

  • Drafting executive employment agreements, cease and desist letters, separation agreements, trade secret and non-compete agreements;
  • Enforcement of covenants not to compete against departing franchisees and employees;
  • Handling temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction (PI) hearings, subsequent litigation, and trials in state and federal courts;
  • M&A due diligence;
  • Negotiating restrictive covenant provisions for employment agreements, severance documents and other contractual relationships; and
  • Trade secret protection, including crafting corporate confidentiality, security and non-competition programs.
Representative Clients

Our clients in this area have included several leading insurance brokers, as well as advertising, marketing and media companies, construction companies, healthcare companies, product manufacturers, security companies and software and technology companies. We have:

  • Defended claims in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania relating to alleged improper use of trade secrets consisting of business strategies and customer lists;
  • Enforced national food distributor’s rights under non-compete and non-solicitation agreements and the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act against a former employee;
  • Litigated and resolved non-competition and other restrictive covenants in various federal and state court jurisdictions on behalf of a trucking company, auto repair service company, marketing company, and professional advisors;
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction for our client when the buyer of business opened up a competing business after defaulting on the note to repay the seller, acted as lead counsel in the case in the Floyd County Superior Court in Rome, Georgia, which affirmed on appeal;
  • Obtained injunction for corporate client to enforce terms of non-compete and other restrictive covenants in Philadelphia Commerce Court;
  • Obtained preliminary injunctive relief in Delaware Chancery Court to prohibit further use and dissemination of trade secrets relating to internet-based business and interference with customer relationships;
  • Obtained summary judgment for a large home improvement retailer in a trade secret matter involving tens of millions of dollars in alleged damages, and acted as lead appellate counsel in the case in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which affirmed based on a decision by Justice Souter, who was sitting by designation;
  • On behalf of a large health care organization, obtained an injunction against a physician per a non-competition agreement;
  • Represented American subsidiary of multinational printing company in chancery action involving former employee’s violations of non-compete and restrictive covenant provisions in employment contract;
  • Represented international defense contractor as co-lead counsel at trial in breach of asset purchase agreement litigation involving the former owner of business the client purchased; handled the cross-examination of the main defense witness, and the direct examination of the main witness for client/plaintiff at trial; obtained verdict in favor of client establishing that seller was, and continued to be, obligated to prevent competition by son pursuant to a restrictive covenant in the asset purchase agreement that prohibited competition by persons within a certain degree of consanguinity to the seller; obtained confidential settlement amount thereafter;
  • Secured a temporary restraining order from a NY federal judge on behalf of a client against a former employee who joined a competitor and used the client’s confidential information to solicit business in violation of a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement;
  • Secured an award of liquidated damages that forced the defendant, a financial advisor, to file for bankruptcy protection;
  • Successfully argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court in a case that reaffirmed an at will employer’s right to require non-compete agreements from its employees;
  • Successfully defended a manufacturing company in Pennsylvania state trial court from claims that it misappropriated trade secrets relating to the electroplating of metals; and
  • Successfully defended claims in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania relating to alleged theft of confidential, proprietary and trade secrets information contained in electronic files and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
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