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Running a business is a matter of managing the ups and downs.  Hopefully more ups than downs.  Whether part of the board or one of the top executives in a corporation, you realize you’ve got to handle the pitch and roll in order to keep the business afloat.  Particularly in these difficult economic times. During financially difficult times people are more prone to seek out and take legal action against any perceived corporate misstep.  Top-level decisions can be challenged by investors, regulators, and even criminal prosecutors.   And, so it is more important than ever that directors understand their obligations and potential liabilities.

"Home is where the heart is," right? Well, when something terrible happens at your home, where does that leave you? With a broken heart and most likely a broken budget. The preventative heart care you need as a homeowner lies with comprehensive property liability insurance. Sure, you probably have a standard homeowner insurance policy; it might even have a small amount of liability protection built in. But is it enough to protect you against the weirdness of everyday life?

I’ve always been a dog person.  I love all kinds of dogs, but I’ve always had a big soft spot for English Bulldogs.  Maybe it’s their round faces and giant tongues that get me, or maybe it’s their short, stocky little bodies covered in skin rolls.  Whatever it may be about these dogs, I love them, especially my own little guy.  And when I think of my English Bulldog, Duncan, the last adjective that comes to mind is dangerous. Yet, the CDC sites some of my favorite breeds as the most dangerous.  At the very top of the list are Pit Bulls, a distant relative of the English Bulldog.

I used to get made fun of as a kid.  I was the one who came to school with a backpack as big as I was, filled to its capacity with school supplies.  From pencils to gauze pads (just in case my pencil slipped when writing notes and I cut my hand, of course), I had it all tucked nicely into my scoliosis maker. I blamed it on my mom.  I told my snickering peers that she was overprotective and I had to lug around my “just in case” bag to keep her off my back.  But really, it was all me.  I was the epitome of a boy scout – always prepared no matter what situation I was in.  It was in my blood, and still is.

In medicine, we hear a lot about preventative care.   In matters of asset protection, doctors would do well to follow their own advice.  Physicians should prevent their assets from becoming vulnerable to a frivolous lawsuit.  Being sued leaves much more at risk than a medical practice. Injured parties are seeking compensation for injuries received and in many cases a civil action against the physician to prevent further malpractice by the medical professional. Personal assets of the physicians are always looked at as a possible means of receiving compensation. Personal assets come into play in one of two ways:
  • If a judgment exceeds your medical policy limit
  • If the action in question falls under one of the policy exclusions

In a prior job, I used to share a cubicle with a guy who hated everything. I wish that this were an exaggeration. This guy, who we’ll call Steve (because his name was Steve) was quicker to express a negative sentiment than the Grinch (and he was also slightly hairier). Steve was very unpleasant to be around, and was always pushing the limits of the company rules. And then, one day, he pushed too hard, and he was fired. He stormed out of the office, threatening to sue everyone he saw, and then he was gone. We’ve all got that co-worker. You know whom I’m talking about.

For even the most controlled persons, times may come when self-defense, or the defense of someone unable to protect themselves, may arise.  In these cases, the assumption is often that litigation for any violence would naturally not apply. However, you would be surprised how often assault and battery litigation could still stick.  Assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes: assault, or the threat of violence; and battery, or the actual physical violence. The intention behind the actions is important.  Generally, it is only necessary for the defendant to have intent to do the harmful act (as opposed to an intention to actually do harm). Essentially, the act must be done voluntarily.  Even in cases of self-defense, an intention to do harm or to do a harmful act can result in assault and battery charges.

In a recent Washington Post article, it was cited that winning the $640M jackpot was so remote (1 in 176 million chance), that you had a better chance at the following:
  • You have a 1 in 1 million chance of getting hit by lightning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • There's a 1-in-a-few-million chance of the Earth getting wiped out by a large asteroid, a NASA spokesperson said.
  • You have a greater chance of having identical quadruplets than winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Odds are 1 in 13 million, according to an NBC report.
  • Scared of dying from a bee sting? Well, you have a 1 in 6.1 million chance of dying from one, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

Most people recognize that Pit Bulls or Rottweilers are dangerous dog breeds. In fact there are many breeds considered dangerous. According to the CDC, the ten breeds that seem to bite the most frequently are: 1 Pit Bull 2 Rottweiler 3 German Shepherd 4 Husky 5 Alaskan Malamute 6 Doberman Pinscher 7...

In this day and age some people are what I like to call “sue-happy.”  Meaning that they will sue for just about anything.  Last year was no exception and 2011 brought 10 of the most ridiculous lawsuits to date.  These suits included a convict suing the couple he kidnapped for not helping him evade police, a woman sued because the “Drive” movie trailer did not contain enough actual driving, and another woman sued a store for $5 million because of a disagreement about an 80-cent refund. Yes, these are all for real, and you can check them out more at the link above.  These lawsuits conjure up all kinds of feelings of ridiculousness and absurdity, yet frivolous lawsuits occur all the time, and the worst part is that some of them actually come out victorious in court.