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A law firm in New Jersey has temporarily halted plans to launch a blog because its insurance company would not cover the blog under an existing malpractice insurance policy.
James Paone, a partner at Lomurro, Davison, Eastman and Munoz in Freehold, N.J., said that the firm’s insurer — The Chubb Corp. — said several weeks ago that it would not add the blog to the existing policy. “We were in the process of beginning to set up a blog, having internal discussions about what areas of law would be the subjects,” he said. “We wanted to cover the first base, which is [Chubb’s] coverage. Our insurance carrier said [a blog] is not a risk they were interested in insuring. The entire discussion stopped.”
Paone said his firm contacted Chubb to ask about insurance coverage in case someone tried to sue it over content in the blog. Now, the law firm is in the process of setting up a meeting with Chubb “so we can understand what their rationale is for saying they weren’t interested in covering that kind of risk,” Paone said.
Chubb did not respond to a request for comment before press time.
Legal issues associated with Web 2.0 tools are coming up more often as companies grapple with making sure that content posted to blogs, wikis and social networks do not run afoul of existing libel law, copyright infringement or trademark violations.
Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer in St. Louis who specializes in IT issues, said that this instance of a company being denied insurance coverage for content posted in a blog “struck me as something that came completely out of the blue that I haven’t heard of before.”
However, he said these types of attempts to impose new types of restrictions on blogs likely occur “when people aren’t that familiar with the technology and think it is somehow completely new and different. Really blogs are just a form of Web pages. What you’re doing is not different than if you are speaking in public or writing an op-ed piece.”