The Washington State Supreme Court addressed in Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S., --- P.3d --- 2017 WL 4052300 in a decision issued on September 14, 2017, the potential conflict where the same firm is hired by the same insurance company to defend insureds in litigation and handle coverage dispute matters. The Court ruled that a firm who previously represented an insurer on a coverage matter and currently defends its insured is not disqualified per se from representation under RPC 1.7(b), that a claim by the insured that prior consent should have been obtained does not give rise to damages regardless of whether the insured is being defended under a reservation of rights but cautions that where coverage is disputed, an attorney with an established relationship with the insurer could be “materially limited” in his or her ability to represent solely the interests of the insured.
On May 11th the PLUS Southwest Chapter hosted a workshop on “FIDUCIARY DUTIES & FINANCIAL LINES.” About 40 professionals attended this lunch workshop at the Nationwide Offices in Scottsdale. Presentation slides from the event can be downloaded here.
“You can’t always get what you want…” — and, in Some Cases, You Can’t Get a Court to Declare that the Defendant is an ERISA Fiduciary
To avail themselves of the protections of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), plaintiffs must prove, as a threshold matter, that the defendant was a fiduciary. If plaintiffs are successful in meeting their burden, the fiduciary is subject to the mandates of ERISA, which requires it to perform certain duties (the highest duties known to law) vis-à-vis a pension plan’s participants and beneficiaries. Simultaneously, ERISA’s prohibited transaction provisions (describing what a fiduciary cannot do) are triggered. Pursuant to ERISA, a fiduciary can be a named fiduciary by an employer sponsoring the plan. Alternatively, one can become a fiduciary simply [...]