Lawyers are expected to serve their customers' interests. When they do the opposite, steal from their customers, they are not worthy to act as a licensed lawyer, and if they are convicted of a moral crime, they must lose their license. The victims of a curvy lawyer can sue him and try to recover from their insurer. However, most such policies contain a crime / fraud.
In Oklahoma Law Firm's Mutual Insurance Company Against David A. Cox, Christopher Mansfield; Gayle Boyle; Sharon C. Hart; Kathryn R. Stewart; Jim Mcgough; Catherine Welsh, 2019 OK CIV APP 25, Case No: 117480, Oklahoma State, Civil Department, Division I (Mandate issued: May 1, 2019), the court was asked to decide whether
Owner / Appellé Oklahoma Advokatbyrån's mutual insurance company ( The insurer sought exemption relief with respect to a former lawyer, Defendant Christopher Mansfield (Mansfield) and some of his former clients (jointly "Defendant"), including Defendant / Appellant David A. Cox (Cox). Found no actual dispute, the trial granting the insurer's movement.
Mansfield was previously licensed as a lawyer in the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Bar Association filed a complaint against Mansfield, claiming that Mansfield had failed in his handling of, among others, Cox Estate. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma adopted the recommendation of the Professional Court and noted that Mansfield violated the Oklahoma Code of Practice by diverting funds from the Cox Estate without permission. Mansfield entered into agreed judgments on at least five disputes over other property he cheated, a total of over $ 1
The United States brought criminal charges against Mansfield for his behavior in managing one of the properties that claimed bank fraud and illegal monetary transaction. In response to the accusations, Mansfield committed guilty and was sentenced to forty-two months in prison. A criminal judgment was filed against Mansfield on March 16, 2017.
Cox filed a judgment in Mansfield on September 12, 2014, alleged negligence, gross negligence, personal liability, fraud / fraud, unfair enrichment, and criminal liability. The Cox suit is in progress.
Prior to the allegations of maladministration, Mansfield had purchased a "Liability Insurance Requirement" from the Insurer for the period 13 July 2013 to 13 July 2014 (Policy 1). Policy 1 was canceled when Mansfield's team license was canceled. Mansfield then purchased a "Three Year Extended Reporting Endorsement" from June 1, 2015 (Policy 2). The insurer was informed of the Cox suit under policy 1 and of the McGough suit under policy 2 (collectively referred to below as the "policy").
The insurer sued Mansfield and requested a declaratory judgment that it has no obligation to defend or cover Mansfield in Cox or McGough costumes. The insurer moved for summary judgment that there was no dispute over material matter and it had the right to judge by law.
The insurer claimed "offense / fraud" in the policies defeated coverage. The Court of First Instance granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Cox appealed.
The only issue of appeal is whether the trial has been the subject of a summary judgment and that the proprietor was entitled to legal judgment, as Cox's claims were excluded from coverage during the crime / Fraud assessment in the policy.
In Oklahoma, the guide in an insurance issue is that insurance is an agreement. Consequently, the parties to the agreement may agree on such terms as they consider appropriate and the court may not rewrite those terms. The terms of an insurance should be interpreted in their simple sense, as long as the language is not ambiguous and construction does not produce an absurd result. An insurer can limit his own risk through the terms of the policy. An "exclusion" is a political term that eliminates coverage where it would otherwise have existed during the general declaration.
The "insurance contract" stated a broad agreement to protect Mansfield with terms and exceptions. The insurer claimed that Mansfield's conduct giving rise to claims falls under the crime / fraud. This exclusion states that the policy does not apply to "any claim arising out of dishonest, fraudulent, criminal, harmful or deliberately invalid act or omission …"
The Court noted that the language of the offense / fraud is not ambiguous on its face . In order to withstand summary judgment, Cox needed to provide evidence that he had been harmed by Mansfield's negligent behavior which differs from those arising from Mansfel's fraudulent and / or criminal behavior.
The evidence presented at summary judgment could not show that Cox suffered an injury from Mansfield's conduct that differed from that deemed fraudulent or criminal by the repeal of Mansfield's law license and his criminal conviction. In his application in the Cox suit, Cox claims that Mansfield neglected suspected Cox Estate, breaking his duty as a personal representative by not acting in the best interests of the estate and being unfairly enriched in his role as a personal representative.
The court declared that the court decided that Mansfield would pay repayment to the other victims, including US $ 5255.53 to Cox Estate.
These results of professional crime and criminal guilt of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and federal court are very evidence of whether Mansfield's behavior that gives rise to the Cox suit falls within the scope of the crime / fraud prevention policy.
To resist summary assessment, Cox needed to provide evidence that he suffered an injury separate from that arising out of the behavior Mansfield was undamaged and convicted, ie that Cox was harmed by some negligent behavior. part of his conversion of property assets. Cox made no such demonstration and relied solely on his own claims and the results of the above-mentioned proceedings against Mansfield. Cox therefore did not follow his burden.
As the record does not show that the requirements of the Cox costume arise when different from what is already considered deliberately incorrect or criminal, Cox's claims are excluded from coverage during the offense / Fraud assessment in the policy.
There is no way that an insurer should, if fair, be obliged to pay for the insured's lawyer's offense and fraudulent acts. The injured parties are not without a cure, they can sue and take all the assets the lawyer has received from their criminal case or be replaced by repayment orders from the criminal court. The insurer, who did not agree to insure against the insured's offense, had to protect himself with a declaration action that should have been – and was obvious to the trial and the court of appeal.
© 2019 – Barry Zalma
This article and all the blog posts on this site, melt and summarize issues published by the courts of the various states and the United States. The court decisions have been modified from the actual language of the court decisions, condensed to facilitate reading and convey the author's views in each individual case.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance management, bad faith assurance, and insurance fraud nearly equal for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance cover and law firm and more than 50 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual liability magazine / ACE Legend Award.
Over the past 51 years, Barry Zalma has put his life on insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurers and their claims to become insurance managers.
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A true crime novel based on the perception of the author, Barry Zalma, who for over 51 years has acted for insurers facing the fire brigade, one of the most dangerous insurance fraud. The book explains how an insurance manager, who works with a fire protection and origin expert, a forensic accountant and insurance consultant, could defeat a system of urgent gain and get a judgment that requires the offender not to take anything and repay the insurer all his expenses to defeat claim.
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