Lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and brokers, architects and engineers, realtors, health care providers, registered representatives and many other professional service providers devote years to giving their clients highly specialized guidance or care. When they become the target of professional negligence allegations, their careers and professional standing are at risk.
Our attorneys effectively defend our clients and their reputation through thorough understanding each client’s industry, business model, and risks, so that we can tailor creative, efficient, and strategic defenses. We help clients choose the path that is best for them—trial, negotiation or alternative dispute resolution – and represent them in administrative proceedings before regulatory bodies. We also offer guidance on risk management and dispute avoidance. We provide counsel during contract and engagement letter negotiations, and conduct internal risk management seminars for firms and companies, executives and senior management. Thompson Coe lawyers have the sophisticated knowledge, experience and the practical skills to meet the unique challenges of professional liability problems.
Defending professional liability cases requires the kind of focused skills that are the foundation of our practice:
- Decades of trial experience throughout Texas, California and the Southwest
- Sophisticated understanding of legal, insurance, accounting, design, construction, health care and other industries
- Proven ability to minimize damages from legitimate errors, mistakes, and accidents.
Lawyers and Law Firms
Our lawyers defend other lawyers against legal malpractice claims and in disciplinary proceedings. We are routinely hired by legal malpractice insurers to defend their insured lawyers, as well as hired directly by other members of the bar, to defend attorneys who practice in all areas of the law, including personal injury, commercial litigation, banking and finance, debt collection, estate planning, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and real estate, to name a few. We offer effective defense in:
- Legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty
- Conflicts of interest
- Claims alleging illegal, unethical or fraudulent conduct
- Liability to non-clients
- Disciplinary proceedings, investigations, and suspension and disbarment proceedings by the State Bars of Texas, California, Louisiana, Minnesota.
Any law firm of any size can face claims by current or former clients, or internal problems that raise questions of professional and personal liability. Firms rely on Thompson Coe’s discreet and experienced guidance to defend professional reputations and financial solvency.
Insurance Agents and Brokers
Insurance agents and brokers from small independents to national carriers may face client claims resulting from the sales of life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, or annuities and other insurance products. Many of the cases that we handle require us to resolve allegations of misrepresentation, inadequate coverage or product unsuitability involving:
- Commercial lines coverage (CGL, Business Risk, E&O)
- Personal lines coverage (Auto, Home, Health and Life)
- ERISA and Welfare Benefit Plans
- Annuities and other investment products
- Workers compensation insurance.
Architects, Engineers and Designers
Thompson Coe defends architects, engineers, contractors, surveyors, builders, consultants and other design professionals against a wide range of construction-related tort claims alleging financial or physical loss due to professional malpractice and breach of contract. Our lawyers understand the construction business and the unique relationships among the various professionals and contractors on a jobsite. Our work with numerous liability insurance companies, skill at contract negotiation and interpretation, and knowledge of construction industry practices form the core of our ability to provide effective counsel. We have handled claims involving:
- Design defects and omissions
- negligent provision of construction phase services
- delay claims
- faulty or defective material specification
- indemnification and contribution
- professional negligence.
We understand there are often many design professionals involved in the delivery of a complex structure or system, and litigation over alleged negligent error or omission can involve a wide range of parties. We have experience on all sides of the table to effectively resolve malpractice, contract, cost overrun and other liability claims through mediation, arbitration or trial.
Real Estate Professionals
Plaintiff’s attorneys see the complex, high-intensity real estate market as a fertile arena for litigation involving the services of real estate agents, brokers, appraisers, title companies, and fee attorneys. Our lawyers defend these real estate professionals in controversies that involve allegations of misrepresentation, failure to disclose property or financing defects, and failure to uncover title problems. Most of the properties at issue are valued anywhere from the hundreds of thousands to many millions of dollars.
Our lawyers defend clients in proceedings before the Texas Real Estate Commission and the California Bureau of Real Estate, in the trial and appellate courts, and in mediation and arbitration actions. In addition to more traditional real estate controversies, our lawyers are effectively dealing with the wave of litigation that real estate professionals face over the ongoing distress in the subprime real estate market, particularly claims involving foreclosure and inadequate risk disclosure.
Broker-Dealers and Executives
Our lawyers are skilled at defending broker-dealers, registered representatives, financial advisors, and corporate officers and directors against lawsuits filed under the complex and changing maze of federal and state securities laws and regulations. We offer effective help to broker-dealers facing investor lawsuits alleging breach of fiduciary duty, improper investment advice, churning and other claims (including those made by former employees).
Our litigators also regularly represent broker-dealers in other professional liability matters, such as broker raiding cases involving noncompetition and non-solicitation contracts and in regulatory and disciplinary matters before state and federal regulators as well as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the securities exchanges.
Broker-dealers also ask our help when facing allegations of underwriting misrepresentation, including those involving derivatives and other structured financial products caught up in the subprime lending crisis.
Accountants and Benefits Professionals
We have handled accounting malpractice claims for firms of all sizes. Our work includes defense of claims arising out of audits, preparation of financial statements, tax return preparation and all other areas of accounting practice. We also defend accounting and benefits professionals against claims involving employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and employee benefit plans covered by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA).
Health Care Professionals
Thompson Coe lawyers have defended health care providers in many specialty areas with competent, efficient representation. Our defense is aggressive and informed, and we have broad experience countering emotional plaintiff arguments with the factual requirements of the law and science. Many individual healthcare professional liability insurance policies have 'consent to settle' provisions, and we often counsel our client - the insured health care provider - on the important ramifications of either giving or withholding consent to settle when faced with a settlement demand by a claimant. See our Health Care practice page for more information.