A law firm hired by an insurance company to defend an injury claim could face liability for malpractice if it fails to investigate whether a defendant has excess insurance coverage, a divided appeals court in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ruled.

The Appellate Division, 2nd Department’s first-impression ruling in Pacific v. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, 2005-00280, came more than one year after it heard an appeal in a malpractice claim against Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker.