Professional Liability

From corporate executives to insurance brokers, architects and engineers to securities brokers, professionals regularly find themselves involved in litigation for actions they’ve taken in performing their duties. We defend these individuals and their companies in nearly every forum. Whether it be in disciplinary hearings, arbitration or litigation, we have the experience essential to a successful defense and meaningfully take into consideration the impact of a case on a professional’s ongoing practice and the need to work hand-in-hand with the client in developing a strategy.

With experience in all aspects of professional liability defense, MZFC is well qualified to handle sensitive issues of confidentiality, the impact of the case on the professional’s ongoing practice, and the need to work closely with the client in litigation strategy and settlement.

Attorneys

No matter what the particular issue may be, accusations of misrepresentation or poor conduct represent a potential threat for all kinds of law firms. Our malpractice defense attorneys are experienced, and our approach is calculated and thorough. In learning the details and having a comprehensive understanding of the claims, we work with the client to develop a sound strategy – whether the case ends up going to trial or being settled out of court. MZFC works with lawyers and law firms in legal malpractice actions in both state and federal courts, in alternative dispute-resolution venues such as arbitrations and mediations, and before professional licensing and disciplinary boards.

Accountants

As accountants expand the range of services they provide, their exposure also increases. MZFC helps them meet this challenge by offering risk-management services, such as contract and engagement-letter drafting and guidance on formulating document-retention policies, and we provide consulting services on issues such as electronic documentation and expansion of scope of services. MZFC works with accountants in malpractice actions in both state and federal courts, in alternative dispute-resolution venues such as arbitrations and mediations, and before professional licensing and disciplinary boards. Further, we work with accountants on IRS-related matters, navigating inquiries and investigation, providing assistance to produce documents, representing the client at depositions, and providing advice on pre-claim matters.

Insurance Agents and Brokers

MZFC represents insurance agents and brokers in actions alleging errors and omissions involving various types of insurance products including the sale of life and health insurance as well as annuities and variable products. These claims range from run-of-the-mill negligence cases where an agent or broker is being sued for rendering improper advice concerning an insurance sale to those responsive for administering pension plans. At times, the insurance agent might also be a registered representative or investment advisor and claims overlap with suitability and investment advice issues and we have navigated both areas. In addition, we have considerable experience representing primary, excess, and life insurers and claims management organizations in matters involving failure to select appropriate policies, failure to disclose, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraud, bad faith, and negligence.

Directors and Officers

Running the gamut from shareholder derivative suits to claims of breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing, usurpation of corporate opportunities, unlawful distribution of corporate assets, alter ego, and failure to supervise, MZFC has defended corporate executives. Given the potential negative impact these cases can have, both professionally and personally, MZFC understands the importance of listening and understanding what is important to its clients and developing a litigation strategy that reflects these priorities.

Architects and Engineers

MZFC represents architects and engineers as individual professionals, professional design firms, design joint ventures and design teams against claims arising out of alleged errors and omissions related to the provision of professional services on projects including commercial, industrial and residential developments. Attorneys in our Portland office have represented architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, and geotechnical engineers in a variety of construction-defect claims throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Real Estate Agents and Appraisers

Both locally and regionally, MZFC represents real estate brokers and agents in commercial and residential actions against suits alleging fraud, trade secret and business competition disputes, negligence, and contractual issues. With respect to real estate appraisers, we defend against civil claims (e.g. violations of USPAP and AQB requirements) and appear on behalf of our clients at state licensure and certificate boards hearings.

Third Party Administrators

Historically, the technical aspects of administering benefits plans served as the foundation for a majority of the claims against third-party administrators. However, the recent trend among third-party administrators of expanding their businesses into full-service financial firms has been accompanied by an increase in the number and breadth of claims being filed. Now that many third-party administrators sell insurance and investments and often play a role in financial planning, claims have evolved and MZFC is here to help our clients adapt.

Recent Successes

Defended life insurance company and broker in complex lawsuit related to alleged professional negligence and breach of life insurance contract.  The matter settled favorably for the clients.

Defended insurance broker in case in which broker allegedly failed to procure a “key man” policy for the executive of an Oregon real estate firm.  The case attracted significant press attention, and was ultimately settled on favorable terms for our client.

Defended insurance broker accused of switching an entire portfolio of life insurance contracts in a wealthy clients trust for commission purposes. The case involved complex analysis of the old policies versus the new ones.  Case settled on favorable terms.

Defended insurance broker in case involving policy lapse.  Matter settled with nuisance contribution from our client.