Our California Offices
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Solving legal
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since 1950




One of the largest practice groups at the firm, the Professional Liability group includes attorneys throughout our California offices. We defend a wide variety of professionals in both litigation and non-litigation matters.  

Our representation includes:

Legal Malpractice for attorneys and judges.
Real Estate Professionals, including commercial and residential real estate agents and brokers, mortgage brokers, real estate appraisers.
Real Estate Inspectors, including both home inspectors and pest control inspectors.
Title and Escrow for title companies and foreclosure trustees.
Insurance Professionals, including insurance agents and brokers.

Representative Matters

  • Secured a non suit for our bankruptcy attorney client who was sued for malpractice after he allowed a debtor's bankruptcy proceeding to be dismissed. The debtor asserted that the dismissal allowed a secured creditor to foreclose on the debtor's real property. After the plaintiff rested in a trial before a Northern District of California Bankruptcy Judge, we secured judgment in our client's favor by establishing that the creditor would have gotten relief from stay and been able to foreclose even if the bankruptcy proceeding had not been dismissed.
  • Settled claims against real estate agents and brokers for "nuisance" amounts before engaging in costly discovery or taking any depositions.
  • Succeeded in having cases dismissed against three separate appraiser clients, without incurring any discovery costs.
  • Secured a dismissal for a real estate broker before discovery was initiated.
  • Were awarded a defense verdict on a claim against a licensed pesticide applicator for inadvertently spraying Round-Up on an orchard of nectarines, destroying the trees. The plaintiff claimed $500,000 in damages. The jury found no fault on the part of our client.
  • Obtained dismissal of malicious prosecution case against a law firm via demurrer sustained on all causes of action without leave to amend, affirmed at court of Appeal, and affirmed by the California Supreme Court resulting in a published opinion, Wilson v. Parker, Covert & Chidester (2002) 28 Cal. 4th 811, a case that is frequently cited in this area of the law.
  • Successfully represented legal professionals whose practice areas include bankruptcy, tax, trust and estates, litigation, real estate transactions, intellectual property, personal injury and family law. We have resolved cases through anti-SLAPP motions, demurrer, motion for summary judgment, settlement and trial.


Expedited Jury Trials: The Why, When and How of the New California Law

Effective January 1, 2011, California has enacted statutes for Expedited Jury Trials (EJT). Sharon Hightower, assistant managing partner of Ericksen Arbuthnot's San Jose office, has prepared a seminar to explain this new statute to attorneys, clients and insurance carriers. She will explain what types of cases are best suited for EJT and how cases are selected for this alternative trial option. Her presentation includes the following topics:
  • Background of the new law
  • Pre-trial procedures
  • Rules
  • Selection process for cases
  • Trial procedures:
    • Admissibility of evidence
    • Voir dire
    • Challenges
    • Required deadlines

For more information about EJT, see "California Offers a New Trial Option."