The Other Side of the Bitcoin: Doxxing, Ransomware, and Implications for D&O Policies

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For those of you who were not able to attend the PLUS-sponsored webinar back in October featuring Special Agent Eric Shiffman of the FBI, Shannon Clark from Chubb, and WWM’s own Jeremy Kerman, please check out the recording of the webinar here: https://vimeo.com/237924010.  If you are interested in learning a bit more about Bitcoin, doxxing, ransomware, and implications for D&O policies, then there is something to learn from the webinar!

Please Join Jeremy Kerman at 2017 PLUS Conference in Atlanta, GA November 1-3

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If you are attending the 2017 PLUS Conference in Atlanta, Georgia next week, please plan to join Jeremy Kerman of Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP November 2nd, at 3:45pm for the panel “Ransomware Attacks! A Survival Guide.”

Moderator: Matt Prevost, RPLU, Senior Vice President, Chubb

Panelists:
Jeremy Batterman, Associate Director Incident Response, Navigant
Dan Burke, Vice President, Technology Product Head, Hiscox
Shannon Groeber, Senior Vice President, JLT Specialty USA
Jeremy Kerman, Attorney, Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP

Please click here to register: http://plus.sensov.com/s/jeremy-kerman

Giving Back at the YMCA’s Produce Day

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01471757On Friday October 13, staff and attorneys from WWM volunteered to work the YMCA’s Produce Day at Arthur A. Libby Elementary School.  The monthly event is a collaboration between the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, created to bring fresh produce to this area of the city known to be a “food desert”.  WWM joined with YMCA workers and other volunteers in unloading, sorting, packaging and distributing donated produce and other perishable items to the area’s low-income seniors and families.  It was hard but rewarding work and WWM was privileged once again to be assisting the YMCA and GCFD in this worthy cause.

Webinar on Mandatory NYS Cybersecurity Regulations

Is Your Strategy in Place to Meet the NYS DFS Regulation?

Understanding New York State’s required cybersecurity policies and procedures, how these new regulations apply to you, and what you need to do to become compliant can all be confusing and overwhelming. To help you through this process, Citrin Cooperman and Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP hosted an informational webinar to walk you through the complexities of this new regulation.

Key questions answered, include:

  • What’s required under the new regulation?
  • Does this new regulation apply to you?
  • How will you comply with this new regulation?
  • What are the consequences of not complying?

If you are a financial services company or individual regulated, licensed, or supervised by the New York State Department of Financial Services and have questions or concerns about complying with this new regulation, don’t miss this webinar.

To download a copy of the presentation, please click here.

To listen the recording of the webinar, please click here.

To download the NYS DFS summary document, please click here.

PRESENTED BY:
DAVID ROSENBAUM, Principal, Citrin Cooperman
JEREMY KERMAN, Attorney, Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP
CELESTE KING, Founding Partner, Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP

TEXAS LEGISLATURE PASSES HB 1774 (UPDATE)

By: Kristine M. Sorenson & David E. Walker

House Bill 1774 was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on May 26, 2017 and becomes effective on September 1, 2017.  The new law has three sections.  The first section pertains to pre-suit notice requirements and settlement negotiations.  The second section pertains to the amount of interest owed on weather-related property claims that are not promptly paid. The third section creates a new subchapter of the Texas Insurance Code, § 542A, which applies to weather-related property claims.

FOR HURRICANE HARVEY:

This law does not apply to flood insurance policies administered by FEMA under the National Flood Insurance Program.  The Fifth Circuit has held that federal law preempts state claims arising from the handling of flood insurance claims, including claims brought under the Texas Insurance Code.  Wright v. Allstate Ins. Co., 415 F.3d 384, 390 (5th Cir. 2005).

Highlights of the new law can be found in our client alert.

Click here for client alert.

WWM Hosts Career Exploration Lunch With YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Parents Program

On March 21, 2017, WWM employees in a wide range of positions and with diverse backgrounds shared their stories and advice with a group of young women participating in YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Parents Program. The Program, available to pregnant or parenting teens on Chicago’s South Side, promotes healthy parenting and one-on-one support including home visitation, peer mentoring, and education and career advice. Over a lively lunch discussion, the group talked about the different roles that make up a law firm ranging from legal and paralegal positions to human resource management and accounting. WWM employees provided beneficial insight into their individual pathways through not only education but also mentorship, networking and prior jobs.

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Related Claims First Made Prior to D&O Policy Period Precludes Coverage, Florida District Court Holds

WWM recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of RSUI Indemnity Company when a Florida federal judge held it had no duty to cover an underlying $40 million consent judgment arising from claims of real estate fraud because every underlying claim asserted against the insured shares the same factual basis as a 2008 counterclaim that was “first made” before the policy’s inception.  RSUI Indemnity Co. v. Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund Inc., No. 13-670, M.D. Fla.

Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund Inc. and Florida Title Co. (collectively, ATIF) sued Section 10 Joint Venture LLP, Sky Property Venture LLC and CAS Group Inc., seeking to recover $3 million that they paid for an allegedly fraudulently sold property. The underlying lawsuit alleged claims for equitable lien/constructive trust, injunctive relief and unjust enrichment.  Section 10 counterclaimed for slander of title, wrongful lis pendens, declaratory judgment, tortious interference and wrongful injunction.

ATIF sought coverage for the counterclaims from its commercial general liability insurers and RSUI, its directors and officers liability insurer.  Eventually ATIF’s unjust enrichment count was the only remaining claim, and Section 10 filed a claim for malicious prosecution against ATIF. The parties in the underlying dispute reached a settlement that resulted in a $40 million judgment against ATIF. Section 10 agreed to enforce the judgment only against ATIF’s insurers pursuant to Coblentz v. Am. Sur. Co. of New York, 416 F.2d 1059 (5th Cir. 1969).

ATIF’s liability insurer filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, seeking a declaration as to coverage and RSUI intervened.  RSUI moved for summary judgment, arguing that there is no coverage because Section 10’s claim is a single claim that predates any RSUI policy.  The District Court agreed stating:

Contrary to Section 10’s position, the policies’ language is clear and unambiguous. For a claim to qualify for coverage, it must be first made during the respective policy period and it must not be factually or otherwise related to a previous claim. If it is factually or otherwise related to a previous claim, and that claim was first made before the respective policy periods, there is no coverage available. That is what occurred here. Every claim asserted against ATIF in the underlying state court litigation shares the same factual basis as the 2008 Counterclaim, which was ‘first made’ before the respective policy periods began. As such, there is no coverage afforded under the policies for these claims.

The judge added that the “Prior and Pending Litigation Exclusion, even in its modified form, is in harmony with this construction” rejecting Section 10’s argument that there was conflict between the Related Claims Condition and the Prior and Pending Litigation Exclusion.

RSUI was represented by the WWM team of Bill Bila, Robert P. Conlon and Cassandra L. Jones.

WWM Secures Summary Judgment Ruling Significantly Reducing Damages in Illinois Consumer Fraud Act Claim

Neil Holmen and Jeremy Kerman recently obtained a favorable partial summary judgment ruling in the Circuit Court of Cook County that will reduce our clients’ potential damages from nearly $1,000,000 to the low-five figures.

The April 1, 2016 summary judgment victory, and the Court’s August 3, 2016 denial of plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider came in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of the tenants of an apartment complex in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. The plaintiff, on behalf of a proposed class of building tenants, sought the recovery of all sums paid by all tenants to the building owner and authorized management agent for gas, water and sewer utility services. The basis of the claim was that from mid-2011 to the time of the filing of the lawsuits, the owner and/or the authorized management agent allegedly failed to provide the tenants with the formula used to allocate utility charges amongst the tenants as required by the Illinois Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act (“TUPDA”). Specifically, plaintiff claimed that that the defendants’ failure to comply with the TUPDA was a violation of public policy, which in turn was a violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (“ICFA”), and that the purported class was therefore entitled to damages in the full amount of all utility payments ever made to defendants.

On behalf of the defendants, our firm prepared a partial summary judgment motion asking the court to find that plaintiff’s damages were limited to only those actually suffered (i.e. the overbilling for utilities, if any such overbilling even existed). The court agreed that plaintiff’s damages should be limited, noting that plaintiff’s complaint sought a refund of all amounts tenants paid for utilities during the purported class period, not just overcharges. Significantly, the court also recognized that one of the requirements to succeed on a cause of action under the ICFA is that a plaintiff must suffer actual damages, which the court defined as “actual pecuniary loss.” The court held then that the damages sought by the plaintiff were not “actual pecuniary loss,” but amounted to a penalty against the landlord, and that the terms of the TUPDA does not allow for any such penalty. The effect of the court’s ruling was to limit the plaintiffs’ damages to amounts paid by tenants in excess of the correct prorata share for each tenant, if any.

Walsh v. McCaffery Interests, Inc. and CJUF III McCaffery Roosevelt Residential I, LLC, No.2014 CH 16257, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois

 

WWM Hires Five New Attorneys

Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP (WWM) is pleased to announce the hiring of five new attorneys: Christopher J. Shannon; Mike J. Prather; Gauri Chopra, Kaitlin M. Calov and Nick Hamblen.

Christopher J. Shannon comes to the firm from Colorado where he represented clients in claim investigation, coverage analysis, examinations under oath, arbitration and litigation.  He has experience in various matters including professional liability, insurance coverage, bad faith, construction defect, personal injury and employment.  In addition, Chris routinely writes and speaks to insurers regarding developments in insurance law and bad faith claims.

Mike J. Prather regularly represents and advises clients from individuals to multi-national companies, on a wide range of matters including product liability, construction defects, professional negligence, oil and gas, insurance bad faith and catastrophic injury and death.  He has investigated, defended and prosecuted claims through the United States as well as Latin America and Europe.  In addition to his extensive experience Mike has an AV Preeminent® rating.

Gauri Chopra represents domestic and international insurers in complex insurance coverage disputes involving environmental, asbestos, product liability and professional liability claims.  In addition to practicing in Chicago, she has worked in house for Insurers in Bermuda and New Jersey.  Gauri is admitted in Illinois, New York, and Solicitor, England and Wales.

Kaitlin M. Calov graduated cum laude from Notre Dame Law School graduate (2013).  During law school she externed for the Illinois Appellate Court.  She focuses her practice in the areas of complex insurance coverage litigation and claims analysis.  Kaitlin has experience representing clients in matters involving environmental contamination, construction defects and third-party claims arising out of mass tort litigation.

Nick Hamblen is a recent JD/MIEBL graduate of DePaul University Law School (2016).  In addition to clerking for WWM before graduation, Nick interned in the Franklin County Circuit Court in Kentucky. While in law school, Nick completed a semester oversees studying at Universidad Pontificia Comillas and also received Honorable Mention for the Best Claimant Brief in the Vis East Moot Arbitration Competition in Hong Kong.

The addition of Christopher, Mike, Gauri, Kaitlin and Nick are vital in WWM’s efforts to continue providing exceptional, client-centric services to both our domestic and international clients.