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New York Relaxes Strict Privity Requirement To Allow Legal Malpractice Claim By Personal Representative Of Estate Against Estate Planning Attorney
By: Michael J. Murphy and Panagiota K. Hyde

There have long been two schools of thought as to whether there was a strict privity requirement in legal malpractice actions in the estate planning context.  The majority has either relaxed the principle of privity or granted standing to beneficiaries or estates.  For example, in Montana, an estate has standing to bring a legal malpractice action.  See The Stanley L and Carolyn M. Watkins Trust, 92 P.3d 620 (Mont. 2004).  While in New Hampshire named beneficiaries have standing to bring claims in negligence against an estate planning attorney.  See Simpson v. Calivas, 650 A2d 318 (NH 1994).  Florida found that the privity requirement was satisfied because the estate stands in the shoes of the testator. Espinosa v. Sparber, Shevin, Rosen and Heilbronner, 612 So.2d 1378 (Fla 1993).

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Policy, Privilege And Methodology In Cases Involving Implied Waivers Of The Attorney-Client Privilege
By: Richard Granofsky

Issues regarding the waiver of attorney-client privilege frequently arise in legal malpractice cases. Privileged communications may show that attorneys other than the defendant lawyer played a substantial role in bringing about the plaintiff’s loss. In order to obtain privileged communications between the party and his or her lawyer that re relevant to the claims or defenses in the malpractice case, counsel often argues that the party’s conduct amounts to an “implied waiver” of the attorney-client privilege. In other words, the party’s conduct in bringing the malpractice case or in defending it puts at issue his own privileged communications, and this serves to waives requires him to disclose his privileged communications.

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Oregonís Approach To Limiting Liability Of An Attorney To A Non-Client For Aiding Or Assisting A Clientís Breach Of Fiduciary Duty
By: Thomas W. Brown

Many states have addressed claims made by non-clients against attorneys for aiding or assisting another’s breach of fiduciary duty.  While most of those states have allowed such claims, they have also developed various ways to limit them out of concern for how such claims can affect adversely the legitimate work of attorneys for clients.

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Insurance Brokers Can Be Liable For Negligence And Fraud In Supplying False Information To Insurers
By: Joseph R. Marconi, ALFA Int'l Professional Liability Practice Group

Insurance companies routinely rely on the information provided by insurance brokers in applications submitted on behalf of insureds.  The questions arises whether brokers can be held liable for supplying false and misleading information to insurance companies.  The court in Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp., Inc. v. First Indemnity Ins. Services, Inc., 31 So.3d 852 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010) unequivocally held that brokers can be liable for their negligent or fraudulent misrepresentations.

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About ALFA International

ALFA International, the global legal network, (www.alfainternational.com) is an organization of independent law firms. ALFA International’s membership is comprised of 140 international law firms (80 U.S. based firms, 60 non U.S. based firms) employing over 9,000 lawyers and 10,000 other legal professionals. Member firms are located in nearly every U.S. state as well as in Canada, Mexico, Latin and South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. ALFA International’s basic objective, accomplished through its member firms and their activities, is to improve the quality and efficiency of legal services and to provide those services to clients within a reasonable and value oriented cost formula across jurisdictions around the world.