Wishing You Continued Prosperity in 2017

February 2017

February 2017  

We hope your year is off to a great start and wish you continued prosperity in 2017.

This year marks Gray·Duffy’s 31st year in practice. We could not have experienced this longevity and success without you — our clients and colleagues. Too, we have been fortunate to retain a group of highly experienced attorneys and staff dedicated to being accessible and responsive to clients, while achieving outstanding results. This coming year will be no different — we will ensure our team remains at the forefront of changes in the law so we can continue to offer the most creative, cost-effective approaches to legal resolutions.

We’d like to acknowledge two attorneys who have been instrumental in Gray·Duffy’s growth and success. Effective January 1, 2017, 
Michael Eisenbaum and Timothy Thornton, Jr. were promoted to equity partners in recognition of their accomplishments and leadership within the firm. Mike and Tim have worked tirelessly to drive Gray·Duffy forward and deliver positive outcomes for our clients. We look forward to their continued contributions in this role. Click here to read the announcement.
In addition to Mike and Tim’s accomplishments, our entire team made 2016 a year we’re proud to look back on. The following are key representative results we obtained for clients:
Education and professional development are extremely important to our firm, and we aim to share this knowledge with our clients. Below are helpful articles we authored last year to keep abreast of important legal issues:

Is There Insurance Coverage for Defective Construction? By Timothy Thornton, Jr., published in California Lawyer
Supervisor Liability in Employment Litigation By Michelle MacDonald, published in 
California Lawyer

Premises Liability: Understanding The Trivial Defect Doctrine and Determining When to Repair a Walkway By Michael Eisenbaum, published in Landlord Property Management Magazine and Apartment Management Magazine
From all of us at Gray·Duffy, we are grateful for your business and appreciate the opportunity to work with you. We look forward to continuing our relationship in 2017.
Gary Gray
Managing Partner, Gray·Duffy, LLP 

Fraud Alert: Bank Fraud on the Rise
Published in California Auto Dealer ®

Fraud is on the rise. A newer version involves fake wire transfers. Hackers look for people who are requesting wire transfers by email. If you use email to give instructions to wire funds, be sure the person receiving your email instructions knows to verify that you sent the request.

Hackers who find a wire transfer email will often duplicate the message later, specifying a different amount and providing their own account information as the “send to” account. If the person receiving the email thinks it was sent by you and authorizes a wire transfer from your account, you may have no recourse.
A banker told me he received such a wire request from a customer and attempted to process it. One number was missing so the bank called the customer to verify the account number. The assistant who normally authorizes the wire transfers called her boss, who would typically send her such requests. When she did, she found out he had not sent an email making the request. His email account had been hacked and used to request an unauthorized transfer. He almost lost $85,000. He was saved because the hacker made a typo. The bank would not have been responsible for the error because the assistant had authorized transfers for him in the past. 

Habitability Torts and Housing Discrimination Claims: Primary and Umbrella Insurance Disputes


Published in
The Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Newsletter

Landlord tenant law and housing discrimination were featured in a number of prominent news stories last year. The Supreme Court upheld application of the “disparate impact” theory to the Fair Housing Act.

The personal injury coverage of the commercial general liability (CGL) policy cover injury arising out of “the wrongful eviction from, wrongful entry into, or invasion of the right of private occupancy of a room dwelling or premises that a person occupies, committed by or on behalf of its owner, landlord or lessor.”

So You Think You Know The Law?

True or False?
The standard commercial general liability (CGL) policy does not cover discrimination, unless a broadening 
endorsement has been added.

True or False? 
Housing discrimination actions brought by individual tenants may be covered under a standard commercial general liability (CGL) policy if there are allegations of wrongful entry, wrongful eviction or other invasion of the right of private occupancy.
True or False? 
Under the Fair Housing Act, the courts do not recognize disparate impact as a theory to prove discrimination; only disparate treatment is actionable.

Attorney Spotlight

Michelle MacDonald GD
Michelle MacDonald

With more than 20 years of experience, Attorney Michelle MacDonald specializes in personal injury and construction defect litigation, federal statutory claims, employment, and general tort liability matters representing both plaintiffs and defendants. She has tried cases to verdict in both Federal and California state courts.
Most recently, Michelle secured a $2 million settlement in a use of force case for an injured victim in Los Angeles who was a bystander shot by the responding officers and permanently injured.
Moreover, Michelle strives to assist small business owners by providing expert advice on managing employees in accordance with all relevant and current laws. Her efforts to educate employers are evidenced via numerous articles including “Computing Hours for On-Call Workers,” published by the California Labor and Employment Bulletin, and “Supervisor Liability in Employment Litigation,” published by California Lawyer. 
Born in Boston, Michelle was the first in her family to attend graduate school and earn a law degree, much to her late father’s delight. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School in 1988, in addition to graduating cum laude from Suffolk University in 1986. Michelle was admitted to the California State Bar in 1989 and to the Federal Central District Court in 1990. She is currently a member of both the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley Bar Associations.
Michelle spends her coveted free time with her horses.
Click here to read Michelle’s discussion of hot topics in employment law.

Firm Announcements

Gray·Duffy Ranked on the 2017 “Best Law Firms” List by  U.S. News – Best Lawyers ® 

U.S. News – Best Lawyers

ranked Gray·Duffy on the 2017 “Best Law Firms” list in the Metropolitan Tier 2 Ranking in Los Angeles for their work in insurance law.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that involves the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms.

Timothy Thornton Appointed to American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Book Publishing Editorial Board 2016-2017

Partner Timothy Thornton has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s (TIPS) Book Publishing Editorial Board for fiscal year 2016-17. The ABA TIPS library provides practical, how-to advice for attorneys to guide them through their practice and career. 

ABA TIPS is an esteemed source of knowledge on trial practice and issues involving tort and insurance law. It is committed to improving the tort, trial and insurance fields through wide-ranging programs.

Timothy Thornton to Serve as Program Chair for the 25th Annual ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Mid-Year Meeting

Timothy Thornton is serving as Program Chair for the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee’s Mid-Year Meeting being held February 23-25, 2017 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Thornton will provide welcome and opening remarks on Friday, February 24 to open Day Two of the program. Gray·Duffy is a Silver Sponsor for the event.

Hear From Our


“As a business owner, I’ve learned that if an employment issue arises, discretion is vital. John Duffy exercised the discretion we needed, while being extremely professional, very thorough and easy to talk to. Most importantly, I was exceptionally pleased with the results he obtained for me. I would highly recommend Gray·Duffy to other businesses.”

-David Darrow, President of Darrow Heating and Air
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Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.