Friday, May 28, 2010

Client Communication

Returning your phone call is one of the most important things your attorney can do. There is nothing more frustrating than placing several unanswered calls to your attorney. A happy client is a client that has access to his lawyer.

Even if there is nothing to report, a simple call to a client, telling him that there are no new developments, goes a long way in developing a relationship with the client. Clients want to be informed. Information builds trust, which builds ongoing relationships.

I am attorney Robert A. von Esch IV. I handle business, real estate, personal injury, and construction defect matters. If you wish to contact me, please visit

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Subcontractor Fails To Supply Additional Insured Coverage

In today's world, subcontractors often times name their general contractor's as additional insureds (AI). In many other trades, parties can name others as AI's. However, if you have been promised to be named as an AI or have promised to name someone else as an AI, you must make sure that the AI endorsement is provided. A mere promise of insurance is not enough. The AI endorsement should be issued by the insurance agent or broker as well. Without the AI endorsement, the AI carrier is likely to deny the claim on behalf of the AI. If this happens, the person that was promised AI coverage is likely to sue you for breach of contract, negligence, or even fraud (depending on the circumstances). Likewise, if someone has failed to properly name you as an AI and the carrier denies your AI claim, you may have a case for breach of contract, negligence, and fraud.

If you are not sure that you have properly complied with your AI obligations, contact your insurance broker or attorney. Better safe than sorry.

I am attorney Robert A. Von Esch IV. I practice business litigation, construction defect, and real estate law. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via

Monday, May 10, 2010

Evidence Preservation

It is all to common for evidence to disappear when litigation becomes apparent. Emails disappear, surveillance tapes are recorded over, and physical items are misplaced. I recommend sending opposing counsel or party a letter requesting them to preserve any important items early on in the case. This sets up a spoliation motion in the event this important evidence is lost or destroyed.

A court can sanction your opponent if evidence I'd destroyed or lost after being advised to retain it. Sanctions may include a presumption of fault, exclusion of your opponent's witnesses or evidence, or an entry of default in your favor. If evidence goes missing, I like to take the deposition of the persons that had custody or control over the missing evidence. This may lead to information that proves that your opponent intentionally or negligently destroyed evidence, which may warrant sanctions. Preservation of evidence is critical. For techniques on evidence preservation and sanctions, please contact me via

Business and Bankruptcy

It seems as if litigation is booming on collection matters. I have several collection matters pending and each of them has one thing in common: one party doesn't have money. This probably doesn't come as a surprise in this economic climate. The question I am constantly faced with is whether bankruptcy is the best way out. There is no simple answer. Ultimately it depends on whether you are willing to lose control over your assets, as the bankruptcy court will assert control over them. Also, it depends on whether you plan on continuing to operate your business, which is important for people that have developed a business brand name.

I try to discuss the bankruptcy option with my client as early as possible in the case, once I am advised by the client that the amount sought is substantial considering their financial position. I have relationships with bankruptcy attorneys and involve them in the case once it becomes clear that it may be a better alternative for my client than litigation. Each case differs. Bankruptcy is not for everyone.

If you are being sued, discuss the bankruptcy option with your attorney. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via I practice business
and real estate law.