Insurer must pay defense costs for attorney charged with embezzlement

An legal professional charged with embezzling cash from lottery winners is entitled to protection costs below his qualified legal responsibility plan, a U.S. District Court ruled last 7 days.

Jason M. Kurland was an equity lover at Rivkin Radler LLP, in accordance to last Wednesday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in Central Islip, New York, in Jason M. Kurland vs. Fireman’s Fund Insurance plan Co.

Allianz unit Fireman’s Fund issued a “lawyer’s professional liability claims-built insurance plan policy” for the interval from Jan. 25, 2020, to Jan. 25, 2021, in accordance to the ruling.

The coverage constrained legal responsibility to $10 million for each individual assert and $20 million in the mixture, subject matter to a $500,000 self-insured retention, according to the coverage.

In August 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Kurland on charges of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, wire fraud, genuine providers wire fraud, conspiracy to dedicate income laundering, and revenue laundering. The indictment alleged, in element, that he and co-defendants conspired to defraud 3 lottery winners of their property and their correct to his “honest service” as their lawyer, the decision said

According to a statement issued in August 2020 by the U.S. Attorney’s Place of work in Brooklyn, the lottery winners, who shed $107 million, delivered him with resources to safely spend.

Some funds was funneled again to the lottery victims as “interest payments,” although other cash went to support the defendants’ lavish existence, the statement stated.

Mr. Kurland sought protection for lawful expenses and expenditures, and Fireman’s Fund denied coverage. He submitted go well with from the insurance provider, which filed a cross movement for summary judgment.

The court ruled in Mr. Kurland’s favor.

The summary judgment motions turned “solely” on whether or not the underlying action was a claim seeking damages, the ruling stated. The courtroom concluded it was, citing ambiguity in the policy language.

The policy’s ambiguous provisions “would demand Fireman’s Fund to defend a civil fit looking for both monetary damages and injunctive reduction,” the ruling claimed. “The Plan is in the same way ambiguous as used to any felony indictment that seeks both of those ‘damages’ and imprisonment — a variety of non-pecuniary relief,” it said. 

The court docket purchased Fireman’s Fund “to instantly spend, on a recent and ongoing basis and up to the Policy’s Restrict of Liability” Mr. Kurland’s protection charges in the underlying motion.

Mr. Kurland’s attorney, Andrew N. Bourne, a husband or wife with Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna LLP in New York reported in a assertion, “We are grateful that the court study the plan as we did. Skilled legal responsibility guidelines such as the a single at problem can give protection for legal defendants.”

The insurer’s attorneys did not answer to requests for comment.


Christopher Lewis

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