Brief Fact Summary. Defendant, an attorney retained to represent one of Plaintiff’s policyholders in a medical malpractice action, failed to advise Plaintiff that it was not the doctor’s primary insurer. Although Defendant was later replaced as counsel for unrelated reasons, Plaintiff now alleges that this negligence was in breach of Defendant’s duty of care to them.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Attorneys have a duty of care-and may be liable to-both an insurer and the insured party that the insurer has retained them to represent.
Issue. May an attorney be liable to an insurer who has retained him to represent an insured when his negligence damages only the insurer?
Held. Yes. An attorney may be liable to both an insurer and the insured when, as here, “their interests coincide.” There was not enough evidence on the record here to determine if Defendant actually breached his duty, however, and the case is remanded to the lower court for this determination.
An attorney-client relationship exists when a person has manifested to a lawyer his intent that the lawyer provide him with legal services and the lawyer has manifested consent to do so.View Full Point of Law