Diversity lawsuits are a potential megatrend, Goldberg Segalla’s Eric A. Fitzgerald and Albert K. Alikin told A.M. Best’s BestWire, calling the lawsuits a top concern for directors and officers (D&O) insurers in 2021. Diversity may not have been a D&O issue five years ago, but insurers need to prepare themselves now for lawsuits, they said.
Eric, a partner in the Global Insurance Services practice based in Philadelphia, told BestWire that the lawsuits might target corporate inaction, but businesses who pledged commitment to diversity are also vulnerable if they don’t follow through.
Al, a partner in Los Angeles, added that courts will define diversity in different ways. “As in many regular civil cases, it is specific to the location where you’re at,” he said. “The jury is your community, your peers. Those are the folks determining liability.”
Al also noted that the greatest loss risks reside with companies that try to conceal a diversity-, equity-, or inclusion-related problem (e.g., handling #MeToo liabilities). “It’s one thing to have something bad happen,” Al said. “People hate you for what you’re trying to cover up.”
“Observers: D&O Writers Should Brace for Wave of Costly Diversity Lawsuits,” BestWire, January 29, 2021
Eric A. Fitzgerald, a leader of Goldberg Segalla’s Global Insurance Services team in Pennsylvania, acts as coverage counsel for insurance companies in state and federal courts throughout Pennsylvania and New York. He has extensive experience in a wide variety of professional, casualty, property, and specialty lines including errors and omissions (E&O); cyber; directors and officers (D&O); employment practices liability; law enforcement liability; commercial property; boiler and machinery; inland marine; builder’s risk; owner controlled insurance programs (OCIPs); commercial auto; and worker’s compensation. He has also served as both a mediator and an arbitrator in insurance coverage disputes.
Albert K. Alikin, a leader of the firm’s Global Insurance Services team in California, is a highly experienced litigator who focuses his practice on counseling clients in complex insurance coverage and bad faith disputes involving E&O, D&O, fidelity, EPLI, automobile/UIM, property, cyber, and CGL policies. Al has prevailed in trial and appellate courts throughout California and across the nation. He has also represented a wide variety of insurance industry clients such as insurance brokers, agents, and third-party administrators in professional liability actions. His extensive coverage experience spans many industries including banking and financial services, commercial and residential real estate, construction, home and auto, education, energy, entertainment and film, government, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, and special events.