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8 Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Lawyers Named to 2020 Best Lawyers® List

MRR is pleased to announce that eight (8) lawyers have been included in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America© list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

MRR would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© list:

Elisabeth “Lisa” Gentile (Columbus), Medical Malpractice – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; and Transportation Law

Doug Holthus (Columbus), Commercial Litigation; and Insurance Law

Thomas S. Mazanec (Cleveland), Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

John T. McLandrich (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. (Cleveland), Transportation Law

George V. Pilat (Cleveland), Insurance Law

Stacy V. Pollock (Columbus), Education Law

Todd M. Raskin (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law – Lawyer of the Year

MRR Article: Has the Supreme Court of Ohio Done Away with the Delayed Damages Rule?

By: Mike Byrne & Joe Nicholas

The Supreme Court of Ohio dealt a win for insurance agents and agencies with its January 31, 2018 decision in LGR Realty, Inc. v. Frank & London Ins. Agency, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-334.  In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that the delayed-damage rule does not apply to a cause of action alleging negligent procurement of a professional-liability insurance policy or negligent misrepresentation of the terms of the policy when the policy at issue contains provisions specifically excluding the type of claim that the insured alleges it believed was covered by the policy.  Instead, the cause of action accrues on the date the policy is issued.

By way of background, Frank & London Insurance Agency (“F&L”) procured a real estate agents’ errors and omissions liability policy for LGR Realty, Inc. (“LGR”) with effective dates of May 12, 2010 through May 12, 2011.  The policy included a specific endorsement excluding any claim against LGR by Plaza Properties.  During the policy period, a liability claim was made against LGR with regard to a lawsuit captioned Milligan Communications LLC v. Plaza Properties, Inc.  LGR’s carrier denied coverage on April 26, 2011, citing the Plaza Properties exclusion.

On April 17, 2015, LGR filed a Complaint against F&L, alleging negligent procurement and misrepresentation.  F&L moved to dismiss, arguing that the cause of action was barred by the statute of limitations as it had accrued on May 12, 2010 when the policy went into effect.  In opposition, LGR relied on the delayed damages rule previously articulated in Kunz v. Buckeye Union Insurance Co., 1 Ohio St.3d 79 (1982), to argue that the claim did not accrue until it had suffered an injury when coverage for the claim was denied on April 26, 2011, and as such, the complaint was not time-barred.  The trial court found for F&L, and LGR appealed.  On appeal, the Tenth District Court of Appeals reverse, finding that Kunz had not been overruled.  F&L appealed.

It is undisputed that the four year statute of limitations set forth in R.C. 2305.09(D) is applicable in insurance agent negligence cases.  However, the dispute over when that statute of limitation begins to run has been ongoing since the Supreme Court of Ohio’s decisions in Investors REIT One v. Jacobs, 46 Ohio St.3d 176 (1989) (holding that the legislature’s express inclusion og a discovery rule for certain torts arising under 2305.09 implies the exclusion of other torts arising under the statute, including professional negligence), and Flagstar Bank, F.S.B. v. Airline Union’s Mtge. Co., 2011-Ohio-1961 (holding that a cause of action for negligence exists from the time the wrongful act is committed).  While Justice DeWine’s concurring opinion in LGR Realty, Inc. makes it clear that he believes Kunz has now been eroded to the point of being overruled, the Court’s majority decision still does not go quite that far.

The majority provides an in-depth analysis of Kunz in an effort to distinguish it from the case at bar.  In Kunz, the insured previously owned several insurance policies that provided all-risk coverage.  These policies were then consolidated into a single policy, with the insured mistakenly continuing to believe that the all-risk coverage remained in place.  Therefore, the insured’s right to recovery would be barred before they are even aware that they have been injured.  In contrast, when LGR purchased its policy, it already contained the entity exclusion relied upon to deny the claim, and as such, the harm to LGR was complete and the claim accrued the day the policy was issued.  Given this minute, in not non-existent, distinction, it is not hard to understand Justice DeWine’s reasoning in concluding that “[t]he majority’s opinion today and the decision in Kunz cannot both be the law.”

However, the majority insisted that they need not reach the issue of Kunz in order to decide the case.  Moreover, the opinion uses very specific language to narrow the applicability of the holding; referring only to professional-liability insurance policies, and provisions creating specific exclusions.  Despite those efforts, it is not difficult to see how these could easily be expanded to apply in situations involving other types of policies, or instances where there is merely a lack of coverage, as opposed to excluded coverage.  While the confusion regarding the delayed-damages rule has not been officially put to rest, its applicability to insurance agent negligence matters is now hanging by a thread.


For more information on this decision and related topics, contact Mike Byrne at mbyrne@mrrlaw.com or Joe Nicholas at jfn@mrrlaw.com.

Mike Byrne

Joe Nicholas

 

 

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Appoints Doug Holthus as Columbus Administrative Partner

Doug Holthus(Cleveland, OH – Friday, April 1, 2016) — Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Holthus as administrative partner of the law firm’s Columbus office, effective April 1, 2016.

“We are fortunate to have a lawyer with Doug’s skills and capabilities take on this role and we are confident that he will maximize our firm’s opportunities for continued growth and success in Central Ohio,” said Joe Nicholas, the firm’s President and Managing Partner.

Doug focuses his practice on civil rights and government liability, corporate law, employment and general liability matters. He counsels small and large companies, public and private entities on legislative and administrative matters in a diverse range of industries including health care, information technology, telecommunications, real estate, retail, and education. He has tried, advocated and or arbitrated nearly one hundred cases before civil juries, administrative licensing (and other) boards and arbitration panels throughout Ohio (and California), in both state and federal court.

Prior to joining MRR, Doug was in private practice and had also served as General Counsel for Kokosing Construction Company and its affiliated entities.

A graduate of Wittenberg University, Mr. Holthus went on to earn his J.D. from Capital University Law School. He serves as Chair of the Columbus Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee (by appointment), is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Liability Defense Federation (“PLDF”) and the Ohio State Bar Association, and Doug is AV-Preeminent rated by the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory.