3 Jan

Limiting Professional Liability through the Professional Services Agreement

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The importance of the written agreement between the professional and his or her client cannot be overstated. A written agreement will define the duties and responsibilities of the parties, allocate risk and reward for a particular project or engagement, and govern how disputes are resolved. In some cases, written agreements are required by insurance companies or by law. Despite this, written agreements and their critical terms are often afterthoughts for professionals, who are typically and …

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7 Jul

What the Recent Beacon Residential Decision Really Means for Design Professionals in California

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Last week, the California Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Beacon Residential Community Assn. v. Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP. This case has been closely monitored by design professionals and the attorneys who represent them because it addresses a fundamental legal question: do design professionals owe a duty of care to third parties without privity of contract? At first blush, Beacon appears to hold in the affirmative. On closer examination, however, the scope …

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1 Apr

Causation in Professional Liability Cases: A Key Issue Often Overlooked on Dispositive Motions

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California has seen an increase in professional liability claims in recent years, in large part a result from the significant downturn in our economy. When business deals go awry, the participants often look to cast blame on their professional advisors: their accountants, lawyers, or real estate agents, to name a few. Causation is one of the most pivotal and hotly-contested issues in a professional liability case and should always be carefully examined by the defense. …

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