The Cumis requirement is now a reality in Nevada—at least according to one federal district court interpreting Nevada Supreme Court precedent. This article describes the development of case and statutory law in California and Nevada governing conflicts of interest on the part of insurance carrier-retained defense counsel when the defending carrier reserves its rights to deny coverage. In addition, this article identifies typical situations creating a disqualifying conflict of interest, as well as practice pointers regarding the method of analysis, negotiating attorney fee rates, and resolving Cumis conflicts. Mr. Bolender presented this article, along with a slideshow and live presentation, to Nevada attorneys in October 2013 in a seminar co-sponsored by the Insurance and Health Law Section and the Construction Law Section of the Nevada State Bar.
This seminar booklet was submitted by Jeff Bolender in conjunction with a luncheon seminar sponsored by the South Bay Bar Association in June 2013. The seminar and booklet is an introduction to reading, understanding, and analyzing a common form of liability insurance: a Commercial General Liability Coverage Form, aka a “CGL policy.” Based on nearly two decades of direct experience, including the drafting of over 1,000 coverage opinion, Mr. Bolender outlines a five-step process to spotting issues and organizing the analysis of coverage issues arising from a slip-and-fall incident.
I discovered Evernote a few months ago and soon realized that it’s more than just the latest “new thing.”
I am a busy lawyer who constantly searches the internet for factual information and legal research. Evernote has become not only an essential tool for organizing the many projects in which I’m involved, but also a means to keep a clear record of interesting articles and other interesting things that I find on the internet.
What is Evernote? At its most basic, it is a completely free cloud-based application for taking and organizing notes. A note can be created with one click. But unlike ordinary notes, you can include in the note a photograph, a document such as PDF, a voice memo, a URL link, or a website page (or portion thereof).
The beauty of Evernote is that once you create a note, you can then access the note on your other devices such as your smart phone, tablet, and PC.
For example, suppose your surfing the internet to investigate the viability of filing a claim for products liability. You could spend either a few minutes or several hours over the course of the month concerning (a) the whereabouts of the manufacturer and distributors; (b) whether similar suits have been filed against the same defendants; (c) the best jurisdiction within which to file the claim; and (d) the laws regarding products liability in the various candidate jurisdictions, etc.
As you surfing the internet, you will inevitably find useful information and useless information. In the past, you would likely bookmark useful sites and perhaps print out pages that you wanted to read later. Using Evernote’s web clipper, however, you can keep track of where you’ve been. With one click, you can save a particular website by instantly copying its link, or a screenshot, or even a stripped down version of the website as a note. Later, you can create a notebook, which is essentially a folder containing related notes, and then easily “move” your notes into that notebook.
Because Evernote is always synchronizing itself, your notes will be immediately available on every other device you have. Thus, if you’re running to the airport, or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, you can immediately pick up where you left off because each device on which you’ve downloaded Evernote will have each note and noteback saved on your other devices.
Evernote has other easy-to-use features that are great for lawyers. It has a dictation feature in which your spoken words are transcribed and instantly saved directly into a note. Evernote has a easy “checklist” feature for making simple list of things to do along with a little “checkbox.”
Additionally, your free account comes with an email address that I use to send legal research. For example, suppose I am in Westlaw Next doing some research and find a few cases to read later. I send those to my free Evernote email address and that research is saved as a note. Later, I can read the case on my iPad and attach it to a particular notebook (i.e., a folder) with similar research for that project.
In my judgment, Evernote is not simply the next new thing. This software, and especially the web clipper, represents a new type of tool that eventually everyone will use to make the internet searches more productive.
On Monday, September 8, 2014, I am opening a new law office near my home in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County.
My practice will be dedicated to the legal representation of individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses in their disputes with insurance companies.
From 2001 to 2013, I owned and operated an insurance litigation law firm in Torrance, California. I represented insurance companies in the courts of California and Hawai’i when disputes arose with their policyholders. Now, after a period of personal reflection and professional development, I have decided to chart a new course in my legal career.
Why the change?
During the past twenty years, I have seen firsthand the tactics that some insurance companies employ to resist prompt, full payment of valid insurance claims. I understand the unfair claims practices that evolve within insurance companies to enhance profits at the expense of policyholders. I have learned how to quickly identify and challenge unlawful attempts by insurance companies to misinterpret the fine print in order to avoid paying a claim.
In short, I am uniquely qualified to assert the insurance rights of policyholders, and I am dedicating my practice going forward to assisting them when they get the “run around” from their insurance company.
I am very excited about this new chapter in my life and career. I genuinely enjoy assisting clients formulate practical, affordable solutions to complex legal problems. I will be accepting several non-criminal, pro bono assignments each year as part of my commitment to the legal profession. And I will continue to write and speak about legal and other topics of interest including insurance law, law and technology, and legal marketing.
I invite you “like” my new website or visit the firm’s Facebook page when you have a spare moment and consider giving Bolender Law Firm a “like” or brief comment in support of our formal opening on Monday, September 8, 2014.