E&O Weekly Prevention
  
Strategies for the Professional Agent
July 31, 2014
Agents of America





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California Supreme Court Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Future Homeowners

By John R. Clifford, Esq., Edward P. Garson, Esq. and Ian A. Stewart, Esq. ofWilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP  

 

The California Supreme Court in Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (July 3, 2014), held - based on common law principles - that an architect owes a "duty of care" to future homeowners in the design of a residential building. (July 3, 2014), held - based on common law principles - that an architect owes a "duty of care" to future homeowners in the design of a residential building.

  

Recent Trends Concerning Reservation of Rights in Pennsylvania

By Thomas Paschos, Esq. of Thomas Paschos & Associates, P.C.

 

Insurance carriers and coverage professionals are often confronted with a myriad of issues related to the duty to defend and the duty to indemnify. The duty to defend is generally broader than the duty to indemnify. The duty to defend is based upon allegations and potential coverage. A suit that triggers the duty to defend does not necessarily mean there is coverage. A situation arises when the claims alleged include both covered and uncovered claims or where there appears to be a question as to whether the claims alleged fall within the scope of coverage. Under these circumstances, the insurer will often agree to defend its insured through a reservation of rights letter.


Big Brother in the Office - New Methods of Employee Surveillance

By Seth L. Laver, Esq., Jessica L. Wuebker, Esq. and Latha Raghavan, Esq. of Goldberg Segalla LLP

 

Employers will implement various tools to increase productivity and efficiency, to generate profit, and to create a comfortable office environment. Some employers are utilizing new surveillance systems in the office to achieve these goals, an issue that was recently addressed in the New York Times. Today, the run-of-the-mill security camera is passť. Instead, new technologies track seemingly unlimited data about employees, including the amount and nature of employee interaction with co-workers, clients and customers. This is particularly popular in restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses where customer-service is a key to profitability. But is it legal? And is it appropriate for your office?

 

Termination Policies

By Aaron Peterson, Editor Agents Advantage

 

An employer should have a clear procedure to be followed by their staff when an employee resigns, retires, is laid-off or terminated. The procedure may include but is not limited to:

  • Setting guidelines for termination meetings;
  • Making provision for final compensation payment to the employee at the time of the termination meeting and clearly identifying what payments are to be included;
  • Implementing a policy for returning company property, e.g., keys, laptop computers, in the possession of the departing employee;
  • Determining protocol and/or timeframe for the employee to gather his or her personal property in the workplace.

Engineers May be Liable to Third Parties Absent Privity

By Marc Zimet, Esq. of Jampol Zimet LLP

 

Engineers may be held liable for damage they proximately cause to third parties as a result of their negligence. This is true even if the engineer does not have a contractual relationship with the third party.


Whether an engineer may be liable to the third party depends upon several factors. As professionals, engineers give an implied warranty that they have exercised their skills with care and diligence and in a non-negligent manner. With this implied warranty must be some reliance by the third party upon the engineer's work. For example, in Kent v. Bartlett (1975) 49 Cal.App.3d 724, a surveyor was found to be liable to a third party who purchased real property he had surveyed.
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