A problem for attorneys, a problem for victims

/ 14.Feb, 2012

We have written here and here about the case of attorney Michael Kwasnik, who is facing charges of having stolen over $1 million from mostly elderly clients.  Last week, Mr. Kwasnik’s insurance carrier filed a declaratory judgment action in the District of New Jersey, seeking to avoid having to provide coverage for the theft.  Most professional liability insurance policies include some type of exclusion for intentional acts, although the scope of that exclusion can vary widely.  The upshot of such provisions is that when an attorney commits an intentional act, especially a criminal act, as Mr. Kwasnik is accused of doing, there may be no coverage for the attorney, and a severely limited chance of recovery for the victims.  If Mr. Kwasnik’s insurance carrier is successful, the victims will have to seek recovery out of whatever assets Mr. Kwasnik may have left.

-Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire