477415065We are taught early on that we are each responsible for our own actions. If we make a mistake that results in damages to someone else, we have to pay for those damages. That is the basic concept of indemnification, and the law enforces it.

In many circumstances, a party to a contract wants to make sure that the other party agrees to indemnify them in the event of a claim or suit. Often, a service provider is required to supply insurance for the benefit of the service purchaser by adding the buyer to its policy. It has become more and more common for form contracts required by appraisal management companies (AMCs) to contain an indemnification or “hold harmless” clause. A professional service provider must take care in reviewing these contracts, understand them and be prepared to reject the business opportunity if it cannot negotiate the terms.Continue Reading To Indemnify or Not to Indemnify? That Is the Question!

SlipperySign_TS-152948541My wife recently slipped on the ice outside our home and fractured a bone in her elbow, which required surgery. We are advised it was a success, though she will need to be in a cast for eight to ten weeks, disrupting our household in many ways. I have advised clients, co-workers and adversaries of her injury and all of them have expressed sympathies and replied that I should understand my priorities and take care of her. While I have been comforted by their words of kindness and have attempted to follow their advice, there are only so many hours in a day. My practice of law still goes on with litigation deadlines, client expectations, settlement negotiations, and pending travel plans for work that have created additional stress and anxiety. So far, I have been able to balance all these demands and, when appropriate, obtained help from other lawyers within the firm or extensions of time as warranted from adversaries.
Continue Reading When Life Gets in the Way

Gavel and book_TS_99074151As empty nesters, my wife and I ask each other the standard question as we sit down for dinner each night: “How was your day?” We usually exchange small talk about work, the commute and so forth. As an attorney, I am acutely aware of the attorney/client privilege, and therefore careful not to jeopardize my clients’ confidences. Sometimes, however, lawyers and other professionals can’t help disclosing facts about their work that may be deemed violative of confidences. Some may be covered by strict privileges, such as lawyer/client or physician/patient relationships. If the wrong information is disclosed to the wrong person, while not a technical violation of a recognized privilege, the professional can be exposed to claims of an ethical breach, giving rise to licensing issues, negligence claims or damage to business interests.
Continue Reading Loose Pillow Talk

solar-panel-on-roof119357760TS-WEBWith the continuous shift in the construction industry toward green and sustainable design, becoming green-accredited is a great marketing tool for any business. However, programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and green design accreditations such as GRP (Green Roof Professionals) are changing the standard of care for design professionals.
Continue Reading “IT ISN”T EASY BEING GREEN….” Green Design Changing the Standard of Care

I often speak to groups of professionals on how to avoid errors and omissions claims. When I started making such presentations more than 30 years ago, I would hold up a piece of notebook paper and explain that it was a professional’s “best friend” when it comes to avoiding future problems. A memo of a conversation with a client detailing and confirming the services that can (or can’t) be delivered and the realistic outcomes that can (or can’t) result from those services may provide the best defense when a client complains. This is only true to a point. Sometimes, written communications provide a client with ammunition for a claim of negligence.