Professional Liability

Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s Professional Liability Practice Group represents professionals in a variety of different specializations, including health care (attorneys, physicians, nurses, hospitals), insurance agents and brokers, lawyers, and architects and engineers.  Our attorneys have significant experience in professional malpractice matters and frequently lecture to industry organizations for licensed professionals, typically at continuing education seminars on the topics of professional malpractice.

SPSK has a significant presence in the medical malpractice area, led by partners Peter Marra and William Buckley.  The group’s clients include hospitals, including Atlantic Health System and Hackensack University Medical Center, as well as insurance companies and third-party administrators.  Our insurance company clients include Coverys, Medical Protective/Princeton, Applied Medico Legal Solutions, Sedgwick, Western Litigation, MD Advantage and Ironshore Risk Retention Group.  In addition to defending medical malpractice cases, the group also has extensive experience with professional licensing issues and state administrative hearings and investigations. We have represented nursing homes in multiple cases involving patient falls, as well as the development of decubitus ulcers.  Additionally, we have represented doctors before the Board of Medical Examiners, nurses before the Board of Nursing and dentists before the Board of Dentistry.

SPSK is also a leader in the defense of insurance agents and brokers, led by partners Gil Leeds, Jeff LaRosa, Ryder Ulon and John Campbell.   Our attorneys have represented the two leading professional associations for insurance agents in New Jersey, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New Jersey (IIABNJ) and the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey (PIANJ). The firm has handled hundreds of broker malpractice cases, and has had several reported decisions.  The carriers for whom SPSK performs broker malpractice work include Westport/SwissRe, Markel, Liberty Mutual and Maxum Specialty Insurance Group. Our attorneys are frequent authors in both legal publications and industry publications, and lecture on broker E&O issues to both attorney and broker audiences.  

SPSK is also extensively involved in the defense of legal, architect and engineer and accounting malpractice actions, led by partners Gil Leeds, Eric Inglis, Gary Werner and Jeff LaRosa.  Our insurance company clients include XL Catlin, Hiscox and Maxum Specialty Group.

We work with a number of national and regional insurance companies that provide E&O coverage to these professionals, as well as with professionals who directly retain the Firm.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

  • Represented a physician in connection with a claim that the physician, who referred a patient to a specialist, was responsible for “informed consent” claim.  We obtained summary judgment in the client’s favor.
  • Represented registered nurses in a medical malpractice claim alleging that nurses failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of an internal bleed from a lacerated vena cava in a patient following dialysis.  Defense Verdict.
  • Represented registered nurses and hospital administrators in a hospital in a medical malpractice claim alleging that defendants failed to monitor a patient suffering from Guillain–Barré Syndrome, resulting in respiratory failure and severe anoxic-ischemic insult to the brain, causing neurological impairment and personality disorder.
  • Represented a registered nurse in a medical malpractice claim alleging the nurse failed to monitor the patient following a continuous epidural infusion treatment for reflex sympathetic dystrophy.  This resulted in cardiorespiratory arrest and anoxic encephalopathy, which led to the patient's persistent neurological deficit and persistent vegetative state.
  • Represented physicians and a hospital in a medical negligence/product liability matter alleging that medical defendants improperly connected an oxygen tube to an infant’s IV port, resulting in the infant’s death.
  • Represented registered nurses in a medical negligence matter alleging that the defendants were negligent in resuscitating a minor who was admitted for pyelonephritis, resulting in her death.
  • Represented registered nurses in a medical negligence claim alleging a failure to diagnose and treat a bleed following thrombolytic treatment, resulting in the patient’s death.
  • Represented physicians, nurses and the hospital in a medical malpractice claim alleging that the defendants failed to diagnose and treat a patient during emergency department admission for myocardial infarction, resulting ultimately in her death.
  • Represented physicians in a medical negligence matter alleging that the defendants failed to diagnose and treat acute appendicitis, resulting in a minor’s death.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS – INSURANCE AGENT AND BROKER

  • Successfully defended an insurance agent sued for allegedly failing to explain “non-owned automobile coverage” to an insured.  The insured was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in a $900,000 verdict against the insured.  In the insured’s lawsuit against the agent, we obtained summary judgment in our client’s favor at the trial court, which was affirmed by the Appellate Division, and the New Jersey Supreme Court refused plaintiff’s petition for certification, terminating the case.  Rucci v. R. Bruce Hill Agency, Ltd., 194 N.J. 444 (2008).
  • Retained by the IIABNJ and the PIANJ to represent their interests as amicus in three appeals arising out of a significant insurance coverage/insurance agent malpractice case where plaintiffs obtained a judgment in excess of $9 million at the trial level.  The appeal was successful and the trial court’s ruling was overturned.  Harbor Commuter Services, Inc. v. Frenkel & Co., Inc., 401 N.J. Super. 354 (App. Div. 2008).
  • Represented an insurance agent in connection with a fire loss at a multi-million-dollar mansion where the insurance coverage issue was whether the insured served as a “general contractor” or “construction manager” on the job.
  • Represented an insurance agent in connection with a significant personal injury claim at a New York construction site where the issue was whether the carrier properly reduced coverage at renewal to eliminate coverage for New York jobsites.
  • Represented an insurance broker in connection with the procurement of a warehouse legal liability policy.
  • Represented insurance agents in several different actions arising out of a claim that residential or commercial real estate was under-insured.
  • Represented an insurance agent in defense of a claim relating to an assault and battery exclusion and a liquor liability exclusion.
  • Represented insurance brokers in defense of several malpractice actions where the insurance carrier rescinded coverage due to the insured’s misrepresentations on an insurance application.
  • Represented several insurance brokers in defense of malpractice actions arising out Superstorm Sandy where the insured alleged it had no insurance or was under-insured.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS – ATTORNEYS, ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS, AND ACCOUNTANTS

  • Represented an attorney sued for alleged errors in trial strategy and evidence issues during a Chancery trial concerning ownership of real estate.
  • Represented a real estate agency in a claim arising out of alleged misrepresentations and negligence of agent who had an undisclosed ownership interest in real property marketed by the agency.
  • Represented an attorney sued for allegedly providing incorrect insurance coverage advice to an insurance company client.
  • Represented an attorney sued for alleged malpractice in filing a Public Offering Statement on behalf of a condominium complex.
  • Represented a real estate agent against a claim that she failed to disclose water infiltration and prior damages in a home she was marketing.
  • Represented an architect in a construction defect claim arising at a municipal building in Jersey City, NJ.
  • Represented a real estate property management firm in connection with a claim it violated fiduciary duties arising out of a court-appointed receivership.
  • Represented an accountant in connection with a Chancery lawsuit relating to the handling and investment of assets in a family trust.
  • Represented a real estate management firm against a claim it failed to properly address lead paint in an apartment building.
  • Represented a real estate agency against a claim that it failed to properly investigate the financial worthiness of a residential tenant.