February Insurance Insights

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 New case law, analysis, trends and news for those in the liability, risk management and insurance industry 
  Volume 8  |  February 2018

Mushrooming Claims: Recognizing When Simple Claims Threaten to Expand Beyond What is Expected

By: Patricia McHugh Lambert, Esq. and Robert S. Campbell, Esq.

In the not too distant past, claims and claims handling were generally predictable. There was an incident causing damage, then a demand, and a dispute largely about the amount that would be paid. More recently, many clever plaintiff’s attorneys have developed strategies to cause an otherwise routine claim to expand into something more in an effort to drive up the claim’s value and to increase the likelihood of settlement. For example, claims for bad faith, vendor liability, agent errors or omissions, and consumer protection are frequently added to routine claims as a means to increase the scope of available damages.

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PK Law Member Pat Lambert Helping Women Leaders Through Executive Alliance

A recent article in I95 Business highlights PK Law Member, Patricia McHugh Lambert and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore Executive Director Karen Bond’s extensive involvement in Executive Alliance.

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Coming in the next issue:

The March PK Law Insurance Insights will focus on flood claims.

About PK Law’s Insurance Group

PK Law’s Insurance Group is comprised of a deep bench of attorneys with an extensive range and level of experience in the insurance industry. Lead by Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, the Group is supported by Members, Steve Allen, Barry Bach, Robert Campbell and James Benjamin and Associates Kambon Williams, Aidan Smith and Kayleigh Toth-Keilty. All members of the Group receive mentoring and are trained to apply the techniques and analysis that the Group’s senior attorneys use including project management, identification of the stages and how to accurately evaluate a case.

Insurance
Insurance Defense

 

January Insurance Insight

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 New case law, analysis, trends and news for those in the liability, risk management and insurance industry 
  Volume 7  |  January 2018

Liability of Healthcare Providers in the Wake of Maryland’s Opioid Crisis

Oxycodone is the generic name for a range of opoid pain killing tablets. Prescription bottle for Oxycodone tablets and pills on metal table for opioid epidemic illustration
By: Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, Esquire and Kathryn D. Jackson, Law Clerk

 
When it comes to opioid use, the U.S. is in a league of its own. Roughly eighty percent of the world’s opioid supply is consumed within the United States. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The likely source of these staggering numbers? Prescription painkillers, which currently outnumber heroin overdose deaths by almost sixty percent. [1]  As a result of these overwhelming statistics, state legislature s have poured millions of dollars into combatting the epidemic. [2]  Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a “State of Emergency”, pledging billions of dollars to treatment programs and stricter regulations for healthcare providers. In the wake of this highly publicized crisis, state governments and individuals alike are desperate to recoup the resulting devastating losses. This increases the spotlight on healthcare professionals who handle these types of substances.

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PK Law Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Robert Campbell at Harmonie Conference

PK Law Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Robert Campbell recently attended the Harmonie Winter Conference and presented on a topic of growing concern for defense counsel, “Mushrooming Claims: Recognizing When Simple Claims Threaten To Expand Beyond What Is Expected.”

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Coming in the next issue:

The February PK Law Insurance Insights will focus on t he growing problem of mushrooming claims.

About PK Law’s Insurance Group

PK Law’s Insurance Group is comprised of a deep bench of attorneys with an extensive range and level of experience in the insurance industry. Lead by Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, the Group is supported by Members, Steve Allen, Barry Bach, Robert Campbell and James Benjamin and Associates Kambon Williams, Aidan Smith and Kayleigh Toth-Keilty. All members of the Group receive mentoring and are trained to apply the techniques and analysis that the Group’s senior attorneys use including project management, identification of the stages and how to accurately evaluate a case.

Insurance
Insurance Defense

 

December Insurance Insight

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 New case law, analysis, trends and news for those in the liability, risk management and insurance industry 
  Volume 6  |  December 2017

NAIC’s Model Law Opens Door for State Data Security Standards


There appears to be no stopping the continued breathtaking pace of cyberattacks as we head into 2018. In 2017, the Equifax data breach exposed the nonpublic information of over 140 million consumers; there were allegations that Uber hired hackers to conceal a data breach involving over 57 million rider accounts; and Yahoo confirmed that its 2013 data breach (which was initially reported in 2016 to involve 1 billion accounts), actually involved every one of the 3 billion accounts managed by the company . Amazingly, these events have not prompted a significant push from Congress for national data security standards.  However, following New York’s lead, state legislators and regulators (including those in Maryland) now appear ready to take up the mantle with the Insurance Data Security Model Law (“Model Law”) recently adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”). NAIC adopted the Model Law in October 2017 to establish standards for data security and investigation for the insurers or “licensees” its members regulate, but the Model Law may have broader implications for many other businesses as well.

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Businesses Take Note: Updates to Maryland’s Data Breach Notification Law Take Effect January 1, 2018

What are businesses required to do when personal information they have collected is breached? Most states have breach notification laws with varying degrees of security and notice requirements. With high profile data breaches continuing to top headlines, legislators are beginning to make these laws more strict. 
 
Maryland’s legislature is no exception. On January 1, 2018, several amendments to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act, (“MPIPA”) MD Code Ann., Com. Law §14-3501 et seq. will go into effect. Businesses collecting personal information should take note and be prepared. 

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PK Law Insurance Group 2018 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars!

Congratulations to the Following PK Law Insurance Group Attorneys on their selection to the 2018 Super Lawyer Maryland List (Top 5% of MD Attorneys)
 
* Steven Allen, Business Litigation
James Benjamin Jr., Environmental Litigation
Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, Medical Malpractice Defense
Patricia McHugh Lambert, Business Litigation
 
*Top 100 MD Lawyers   
And 2018 Super Lawyer Maryland Rising Stars List
 
Kayleigh Keilty, Civil Litigation Defense
Talley Kovacs, General Litigation
Aidan Smith, General Litigation
 

Coming in the next issue:

The January PK Law Insurance Insights will focus on insurance issues surrounding the opioid crisis and the growing problem of mushrooming claims. 

About PK Law’s Insurance Group

PK Law’s Insurance Group is comprised of a deep bench of attorneys with an extensive range and level of experience in the insurance industry. Lead by Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, the Group is supported by Members, Steve Allen, Barry Bach, Robert Campbell and James Benjamin and Associates Kambon Williams, Aidan Smith, and Kayleigh Toth-Keilty. All members of the Group receive mentoring and are trained to apply the techniques and analysis that the Group’s senior attorneys use including project management, identification of the stages and how to accurately evaluate a case.

Insurance
Insurance Defense

 

November Insurance Insight

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 New case law, analysis, trends and news for those in the liability, risk management and insurance industry 
  Volume 5  |  November 2017

Insuring the Crops, Opportunity on the Vine


Insurance coverage can be the difference between a natural disaster causing the closing of a business or merely a temporary shutdown. In October 2017, wildfires blazed across eight counties in Northern California causing billions of dollars in insured losses. 19,000 residential, commercial, and auto claims were filed by the end of October, with payouts of over $3.3 billion according to the California Department of Insurance. The wildfires are expected to collectively amount to the costliest wildfire loss in U.S. history.

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10 Steps to Navigate the Labyrinth of E-Discovery for Small to Mid-Size Firms

  1. The practice of exchanging discovery in federal litigation has ballooned to its own cottage industry within the practice of law. Many law firms tout expertise in the practice “Electronic Discovery Law.” Heady conferences convene to discuss the intricacies of how parties are to find their way through the labyrinths of software and security systems that protect the information of their adversaries. To many lawyers, the language of this area is akin to Hellenic Greek (active data, archival data, legacy data, Zublake steps, etc.). Many might be tempted to shrug off the detail and resort to the tried and true methods of faxing or hand delivering reams of unsorted papers as a discovery response. There is a path forward, though, for every lawyer, regardless of the robustness of your IT department, if you even have that kind of resource at your disposal. Read More
 
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Recent Victories For PK Law Flood Team

The PK Law Flood Team handles litigation for a variety of carriers in several jurisdictions including federal and state courts in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana and Oregon. In this article, we highlight several recent victories.

 
 

Love Me Tender: Maryland’s Requirement that Insurers Pay Pretender Defense Costs


By: Patricia McHugh Lambert, Esquire

Today I am listening to music as I write my article regarding an insurer’s obligation to pay pretender defense costs in Maryland. I first listened to the Platters’ version of “The Great Pretender” with lyrics of “my need is such that I pretend too much”. After that, I listened to the great Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” which spoke of tendering as making his life complete. And to bring it to this century, I listened to Usher’s “Tender Love” where he crooned about how he was longing for tender love. All of this made me think that there should be a song created for the unique obligations that Maryland imposes on insurers for pretender defense costs. Read More

PK Law Hosts BCBA Pro Bono Reception


PK Law had the pleasure of, once again, hosting the Baltimore County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Reception to acknowledge and celebrate the pro bono contribution of attorneys to the citizens of Baltimore County. Congratulations to this year’s BCBA Pro Bono Award winner Marty Voelkel-Hanssen.   Read More

Coming in the next issue:

The December PK Law Insurance Insights will focus on trends in cyber security including the recently issued NAIC model cyber security regulations.

About PK Law’s Insurance Group

PK Law’s Insurance Group is comprised of a deep bench of attorneys with an extensive range and level of experience in the insurance industry. Lead by Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, the Group is supported by Members, Steve Allen, Barry Bach, Robert Campbell and James Benjamin and Associates Kambon Williams, Talley H-S Kovacs, Aidan Smith, Kayleigh Toth-Keilty, Anna Sholl, Jennifer Harris and Jennifer Ciarrocchi. All members of the Group receive mentoring and are trained to apply the techniques and analysis that the Group’s senior attorneys use including project management, identification of the stages and how to accurately evaluate a case.

Insurance
Insurance Defense

 

October Insurance Insight

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 New case law, analysis, trends and news for those in the liability, risk management and insurance industry 
  Volume 4  |  October 2017

Drafting Liability Releases in Maryland

Six Things to Think About in Drafting Liability Releases in Maryland:
JOINT TORT-FEASOR STATUS: Under the Maryland Uniform Contribution Among Joint Tort-Feasors Act, Cts. & Jud. Proc. I § 3-1401 et seq., the concept of a “joint tort-feasor” is derived from the notion that a single injury can result from the joint actions of two or more individuals, who, putting aside defenses, may be jointly and severally liable. Each individual is severally liable for the entire damage, regardless of whether the conduct of one directly caused more or less injury compared to that of another, because they acted together with a common purpose resulting in responsibility for the common injury. Under the Act, a “release by the injured person of one joint tort-feasor, whether before or after judgment, does not discharge the other tort-feasors unless the release so provides, but it reduces the claim against the other tort-feasors in the amount of the consideration paid for the release or in any amount or proportion by which the release provides that the total claim shall be reduced, if greater than the consideration paid.” A releasing party’s status as a joint tort-feasor (or not) must be considered in preparing any release.

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The Rise of Split Claims in Wrongful Death/Survival Cases

Recently, in Spangler v. McQuitty, 449 Md. 33 (2016), the Maryland Court of Appeals examined the interplay between an injured person’s injury claim/survival action and the claims of beneficiaries under Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act. While the Court acknowledged that a wrongful death action was derivative of the injured person’s action, the Court held that Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act is a separate and distinct action for the injured person’s beneficiaries. Read More

 
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“Technically Speaking” – the Do’s and Don’ts of the New Maryland Electronic Filing Rules

For most of us, we do not get into trouble for intentionally doing something wrong. We do not steal. We do not commit fraud. We do not hurt people on purpose. But, if we are truthful with ourselves, we have sometimes looked away and then backed away when we saw someone else doing something that troubled us.Read More

Deciding Not To Look Away: Ethics v. Compliance

For most of us, we do not get into trouble for intentionally doing something wrong. We do not steal. We do not commit fraud. We do not hurt people on purpose. But, if we are truthful with ourselves, we have sometimes looked away and then backed away when we saw someone else doing something that troubled us. Read More

PK Law Supports The First Tee of Greater Baltimore

PK Law Insurance Group Associate, Anna Sholl, and fellow associates Brian Cathell, Ben Wolf and Adam Konstas enjoyed a day on the green playing for a great cause. The First Tee of Greater Baltimore helps to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. PK Law was proud to support this event.

Coming in the next issue:

The November PK Law Insurance Insights will focus on insurance issues arising out of the California wildfires and offer tips on guiding clients through probing ESI discovery.

About PK Law’s Insurance Group

PK Law’s Insurance Group is comprised of a deep bench of attorneys with an extensive range and level of experience in the insurance industry. Lead by Members Patricia McHugh Lambert and Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen, the Group is supported by Members, Steve Allen, Barry Bach, Robert Campbell and James Benjamin and Associates Kambon Williams, Talley H-S Kovacs, Aidan Smith, Kayleigh Toth-Keilty, Anna Sholl, Jennifer Harris and Jennifer Ciarrocchi. All members of the Group receive mentoring and are trained to apply the techniques and analysis that the Group’s senior attorneys use including project management, identification of the stages and how to accurately evaluate a case.

Insurance
Insurance Defense