Carter Conboy Supports ALFA International in New York
By: Carter Conboy
The Insurance Law, Labor & Employment, and Professional Liability practice groups of ALFA International hosted a three-day seminar for its attorneys and their clients in New York, New York. The seminar “Strategic Considerations and Practical Solutions for Managing Employment-Related and Professional Liability Claims” was held from June 8-10, 2016.
Carter Conboy, the Albany, New York member of ALFA International, was the New York State Continuing Legal Education accredited provider for the three-day seminar, which involved the following continuing legal education sessions:
- Can We Fix This? Going to Trial With a Difficult Case: Mock Trial
To obtain a favorable trial result or settlement, the defendant and counsel must be ready to try the case. This abbreviated mock trial provided attendees the opportunity to observe experienced lawyers cross-examine and rehabilitate witnesses in a professional liability case. The mock trial was followed by a discussion of how to handle “bad facts” when defending a professional or an employer and how to evaluate cases when those facts will be presented to the jury.
- Walking the Line Without Stepping Off: Common, Concurrent or Joint Interests? Walking the Line as Coverage Counsel
The panel explored and discussed the different perspectives of insurers, single and multiple insureds, additional insureds, panel and non-panel lawyers representing one or more insureds, and brokers representing any insured, in connection with handling claims and litigation.
- Pregnancy Discrimination Claims
The panel discussed a general review and update on case law developments in the area of pregnancy discrimination claims under federal law with a specific focus on the overlap between ADA and FMLA, and addressed when pregnancy complications become a disability under the ADA and recent EEOC guidelines on pregnancy discrimination claims in the workplace.
- Current Developments in Bad Faith and Punitive Damages Litigation
The panel examined issues of bad faith and punitive damages which arise in the context of employment and professional liability litigation.
- Professional Liability and Illness/Health Issues
The panel discussed how the health or illness of professionals (attorneys as well as other professionals) can result in increased exposure to them for malpractice claims.
- Who is Considered a Joint Employer?
The panel discussed recent case law developments on who is considered a joint employer in the franchise relationship, whether staffing firms or temporary agencies are entitled to indemnity, and best practices for employers to avoid being considered a joint employer.
- Current Trends in D&O and E&O Claims
The panel discussed the current trends in D&O and E&O claims, as well as what is on the horizon. With increasing cyber risks and the perils of global warming looming, they explored their impact on the industry and looked at trends in cyber-related claims, such as claims for breach of fiduciary duty for failure to maintain appropriate cyber security, as well as actions by the Federal Trade Commission. The current landscape of more traditional claims, including derivative actions and increasing regulatory activity, was also discussed.
- Trending Exposures for Real Estate Professionals
The panel discussed evolving financial and other laws impacting how real estate closings are conducted and anticipated claims arising from regulatory changes and developing legal theories. The panel covered risk trends for closing lawyers, title professionals, appraisers and appraisal management companies, and home inspectors. The discussion included examination of illustrative fact patterns seen by the panelists in actual claims and cases.
- Ramifications of the Legalization of Marijuana
The panel discussed the employment-related issues and ramifications of state laws legalizing the use of marijuana including the question: What can an employer do when an employee comes to work under the influence of marijuana in a state where the recreational or medical use of marijuana is legal? The panel discussed case law related to medicinal use during work hours, restrictions on the use of equipment and machinery, drug testing implications and some peculiar state law nuances regarding employee termination or discipline for marijuana usage or influence in the workplace.
- The Best Strategies to Obtain Quick and Reasonable Settlements of Even the Most Complex Claims
Exposure is lurking everywhere, and sometimes it sneaks up on you. Some claims have exponential consequences, which may be detrimental to an insurer’s career. The panel explored practical, out-of-the-box tactics and techniques aimed at creating leverage to settle a case. They discussed efficient and reasonable assessment of exposure and case weaknesses, including “wild card” claims and “bad” facts – the assessment of which assists in defining and determining a “win.” Ultimately, consideration and implementation of the approaches discussed to benefit insurance professionals in achieving success in the high exposure minefield.
- 2016 Ethics Challenge
This interactive challenge explored ethical dilemmas facing attorneys in various fields of practice. The panel discussed and debated ethic answers with seminar participants.
- Cyber Liability and Data Breaches in the Workforce
Cyber liability and data breaches are becoming a large risk and common place issue for companies as increasingly more private data is collected and stored during ongoing business operations. Many companies, their counsel and risk management are struggling to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of regulations, laws, data security and privacy standards, new theories of liability related to data breach, and a wide array of insurance offerings designed to protect against cyber liability and data breaches. The panel discussed emerging issues and trends raised by cyber liability and data risk in the work place.
- Recent Developments in Whistleblower Retaliation Claims
The courts, administrative agencies and legislatures continue to make it easier for individuals to bring whistleblower retaliation claims. The panel discussed what constitutes “protected activity”, recent court cases, such as the decision in Nassar, what employer conduct negates causation, expansion of Sarbanes-Oxley liability after Lawson, coverage issues that arise in the context of whistleblower claims, and ways to avoid or minimize whistleblower retaliation claims.
- What to Do When Your Defense Lawyer Has Screwed Up
Crisis management at its best – counsel and insurance professionals discussed how to handle a situation where defense counsel has been (allegedly) less than perfect.
- Defending Claims Against Insurance Brokers and Agents
The liability exposure for insurance agents and brokers has expanded over the years and includes risks that are not faced by other professionals. The panel explored the current trends in claims against insurance agents and brokers, including the duty to advise, third-party rights and statute of limitations issues. They panel discussed the common tactics used by plaintiff’s counsel to prosecute these claims and offer defense strategies that can be employed both pre-suit and during the course of litigation.
- Strategic Considerations in the Trial of an Employment Case
The panel discussed developing effective trial themes from the employer’s perspective, important considerations in jury selection, opening statements, strategies for cross examining the plaintiff, important and common evidentiary issues, motions in limine to consider; countering the plaintiff’s usual trial themes; humanizing the employer/management witnesses, and delivering effective closing arguments.
- Social Media Trends, Benefits and Pitfalls
Social media is a powerful tool. But like most powerful tools, there are also risks. When using social media, helpful information must be effectively captured while maintaining an awareness of the vulnerability in which social media places us as professionals, employers, and potential defendants. The panel discussed real-world examples of how social media has been used (and misused) to help identify resources while avoiding potential pitfalls.
- Recent Trends and Developments in Legal and Accounting Malpractice Cases: Preparing for the Future Based Upon the Past
To be prepared for the future, one must know the past. The panel explored the recent legal and accounting claims and cases and share their insights and perspective on the trends and future of these types of malpractice claims including not only the frequency of certain types of claims, but the severity of the claims, the defenses to those claims, and the attempts to mitigate damages arising from the claims. The goal is to shape these recent trends into a useable tool to help avoid future claims or at least lessen the severity.
ALFA International is a premier network of independent law firms. Founded in 1980, ALFA is the oldest and continues to be one of the largest and strongest legal networks, consisting of 145 member firms throughout the world. ALFA International’s mission is to provide high quality, cost-efficient legal services globally. The ALFA model enables member firms to use their local expertise to deliver highly effective legal solutions, often drawing upon the collective wisdom and experience of other member firms. ALFA clients benefit from a geographically comprehensive network of exceptional law firms and accomplished trial and business counsel. Member firms meet high standards to be part of the ALFA network and are well respected by their peers in the legal and business community.
Carter Conboy is a Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ peer rated full-service law firm committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to its clients. Founded in 1920, Carter Conboy has offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York, serving clients throughout New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. For additional information about the firm, visit www.carterconboy.com or contact the firm’s Director of Marketing, Stacy A. Smith, at 518-810-0516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.