Insurance Goes Green

With new technologies comes new businesses and new products—and new insurance issues. As with so much else, the new color in property insurance is green. Continue reading

Libel Tourism

As Americans, we feel comfortable saying whatever we want about public officials and celebrities on our blogs and websites. We’ve got the First Amendment behind us. Unfortunately, the First Amendment doesn’t stretch to cover everywhere our Internet musings may go. Forum shopping has taken a new turn — libel tourism – in which defamation plaintiffs seek a forum that will provide the least protection for statements. Continue reading

Who’s Got the Power (of Attorney Papers)?

So, you finally get around to preparing and signing powers of attorney for health care, personal care, and financial management. Now, where should you keep them? Should they be at your home? In a safe deposit box? At your attorney’s office? What’s the point of preparing these important documents if you don’t have them when you really need them? Continue reading

The Legal Side of the Schwarzenegger Paternity Scandal

Continue reading

Loose Language Sinks Coverage

Most of us never think about the distinctions between words like “mudflow” and “landslide” until a storm hits, damaging our home or business, and we are frantically trying to decipher our insurance policy. That’s when we learn how critical policy wording can be — so critical that it can mean the difference between a covered claim and no coverage at all. Continue reading

Foreign Bribery Actions Hit Record Numbers

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are bringing record numbers of actions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act these days, and the trend is likely to continue.  In one case (.pdf) Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries are accused of paying bribes to public doctors in Greece who use the company’s surgical implants. Maybe it’s time for businesses to get a refresher course on a very simple rule: You can’t bribe foreign officials to get or keep business deals. Continue reading

Sharing Search Terms

During discovery, parties often use search terms to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e., the irrelevant or unresponsive data from the relevant or responsive information.  The sheer volume of electronic material makes the use of search terms a necessity, but, as with many conveniences, there is some risk involved.  The key may be in agreeing to share search terms that will improve the process without showing your hand. Continue reading

7 Simple Rules To Preserve Attorney-Client Privilege

Consider this scenario: Your corporate client asks you for advice on the legality of  a new marketing strategy. You issue an opinion that certain aspects of the plan are marginally legal, but that the audit-risk is low unless your client’s competitors chose to sue. Your opinion letter is reviewed and filed in the company’s general files, and your client decides to accept the risk and goes forward with the strategy. Murphy’s law comes into play and your client is sued by its competitor, which asks for all communications with you about the new marketing strategy, including your opinion letter. Might the corporation be forced to turn over its communications with you? Yes. Could such a result have been avoided? Yes. Continue reading

New Property Insurance Book

I am very excited about my first YouTube video — an interview with Tim Sullivan, the contributing editor of CEB’s new book California Property Insurance: Law and Litigation.

This book is a great guide for attorneys who

  • Handle real property and advise clients on how to insure that property;
  • Manage, or assist others who manage, estate property; and
  • Sue or defend insurers.

Just as insurance is a big part of all our lives, this book is important for attorneys practicing in a variety of areas. Think flood, earthquake, toxic drywall from China. Property insurance issues are pervasive and always growing and changing as our world and technology does.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Challenging an Adverse Ruling on Bias in Peremptory Challenges Is a High Hurdle

It’s becoming harder to establish that a peremptory challenge to a potential juror is discriminatory. It sometimes seems that almost any justification for striking a racial minority or a woman from the jury venire will be accepted. And woe to a party who is challenging a trial court’s finding against the existence of discrimination — talk about high hurdles. Continue reading