When Jean and Walter Immesberger were sued by their neighbor in 1991 over their dock’s location on the Intracoastal Waterway in Tequesta, Fla., their insurance company, the Hartford, hired an attorney to represent them.

But, unbeknownst to the Immesbergers, the attorney, Frank G. Cibula Jr. of West Palm Beach, told the opposing lawyer which of the five claims filed had prompted the insurer to get involved in the case. Taking the hint, the neighbors filed an amended complaint without those claims, and Hartford and Cibula pulled out of the defense.