The members of the Professional Liability Team have developed specialized expertise in defending malpractice claims against professionals including:
• accountants and other financial services professionals;
• construction managers and inspectors;
• design professionals;
• fitness trainers;
• home inspectors;
• insurance agents and brokers; and
• real estate brokers and agents.*
*For: Corporate Directors & Officers; See Business Litigation Team
The Professional Liability Team is led by Fredric W. Trester, who has been designated the title of 2006 and 2008–2014 Super Lawyer, an honor which is awarded to no more than five percent of attorneys in a state who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, and was nominated by the State Bar in 2012 for Real Property Person of the Year. Mr. Trester has defended professionals for more than three decades.
Matters we have handled include allegations of:
• errors and omissions;
• fraud relating to the provision of accounting services;
• breach of fiduciary duty;
• failure to properly audit financial statements;
• loss of independent status;
• failure to detect embezzlement;
• poor tax advice or errors in consulting;
• failure to prepare tax returns properly;
• failure to advise a client of suspected fraud;
• failure to properly advise a client on the tax consequences of an estate;
• failure to advise a client as to whether they should file for bankruptcy;
• failure to properly administer distributions for a charitable foundation;
• failure to properly administer a company's trust account;
• failure to timely file tax returns and/or file for extension; and
• failure to properly follow accounting standards in preparing audits.
Our attorneys have represented design professionals for more than three decades in numerous cases involving private and public projects against claims of design deficiencies and contract administration failures, to name a few. Clients include several international engineering companies as well as small architectural and engineering firms designing residential, commercial, parking and multi-use structures.
Insurance Agent E & O
We have represented insurance agents and brokers in cases ranging from alleged negligent procurement of insurance to misrepresentations of coverage. These claims have involved both retail and wholesale agents and brokers in a variety of cases brought by carriers, insureds, and third-party claimants. Our experienced attorneys have handled claims against insurance producers involving almost all lines of coverage, including bonds, casualty, disability, Directors & Officers, excess, fidelity, fire, life, health, property, professional liability, surplus lines, and umbrella. Several of our team members have previous “hands-on” experience, advising insurance carriers on coverage matters and defending carriers in bad faith litigation. We use our knowledge of insurer claims and underwriting practices to best position our insurance production clients' defense. We also represent third-party administrators and self-funded ERISA health plans in claims brought by medical providers seeking reimbursement for services.
Real Estate Professional E & O
Our team has several attorneys with real estate broker’s licenses who have represented real estate professionals, including real estate appraisers, agents and brokers, escrow officers, home inspectors, lenders, mortgage brokers, and title agents in more than 1,000 cases. We are exclusive litigation counsel for several large and national real estate companies and operate national hotlines for insurance carriers providing their coverage.
In all areas of professional liability defense, our decades of experience help us to quickly develop early evaluations and effective resolution plans, which leads to cost-efficient litigation and settlements. Most of our professional liability matters are amenable to resolution before they proceed to trial (and often before a complaint is filed). But when a case requires a judicial resolution, we bring our considerable trial experience into play.
Our attorneys stay active at the cutting edge of California legislation and judicial authority, which provides several procedural and substantive protections. We tailor our defense strategies to take advantage of the differences between professional malpractice suits and other tort actions. Moreover, the firm's diverse practices contribute to our attorneys' ability to remain current with legal developments in those areas which most often generate professional liability claims. Our Professional Liability Team regularly consults with in-firm specialists who represent sports, real estate, and retail clients in other types of matters, and remains informed regarding pertinent and substantial legal developments impacting our valued clientèle.