Did Buckley Sandler co-founder leave voluntarily? Question is at center of insurance dispute
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A lawsuit filed last week maintains an insurer has no obligation to pay Buckley Sandler’s claim in connection with the departure of one of its founders because he did not leave voluntarily.
Oxford Insurance Co. claims in the Oct. 9 lawsuit that firm co-founder Andrew Sandler was forced out of the firm last year amid allegations of past misconduct, report Law.com and Law360. Because Sandler did not leave of his own accord, the insurer says, it doesn’t have to pay a $6 million claim under a policy for loss of key employees.
The insurer also said it has no obligation to pay because Buckley Sandler—now known as Buckley—knew of allegations against Sandler when applying for insurance.
Sandler negotiated his departure from the firm for about three weeks in February 2018. The agreement governing his departure was at first titled “Separation Agreement,” and later retitled “Retirement Agreement,” the suit says.
In a statement sent to Law.com, the firm says Sandler did face misconduct allegations before he left, but he did not leave involuntarily. Neither the firm nor the lawsuit revealed the nature of the misconduct allegations.
The statement said the firm was informed of an initial allegation against Sandler in 2017, but Sandler decided to retire rather than cooperate in the firm’s investigation of the allegation.
“The firm is confident that the full factual and legal record will demonstrate that it handled the matter appropriately and that it is entitled to payment under its ‘key person’ insurance claim,” said the statement by Buckley managing partner Ben Klubes.
The suit was filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sandler formed a new firm this year, Mitchell Sandler, with two other former Buckley partners, according to Law.com.
He declined to comment when contacted by the ABA Journal.