A judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday ruled in favor of an insurance company in a dispute with Sanford Wittels & Heisler.
U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle found that Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation was justified when it refused to provide the Washington-based firm with legal malpractice coverage after the firm failed to disclose past actions that resulted in a malpractice suit.
Capitol alleged in a summary judgment motion that Sanford did not notify the insurance company of its failure to meet a 2006 class certification deadline when the firm bought malpractice protection in December 2007.
The malpractice case stemmed from a discrimination suit against the U.S. Department of Commerce in which Sanford missed a filing deadline by 10 weeks. The case was subsequently thrown out and the clients sued Sanford for malpractice in January 2010.
"Missing a filing deadline that results in the dismissal of the class action claim could easily qualify as a breach of a professional duty," Huvelle wrote in her ruling.
Attorneys for Capitol and Sanford did not immediately respond to requests for comment.