8 Week Late Legal Malpractice Claim Dismissed Finding No Continuous Representation Toll
On July 2, 2018 an appellate court covering Queens County upheld the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim that was filed 8 weeks after the 3 year statute of limitations expired. The client had retained an attorney in connection with a loan from a funding company that was secured with a mortgage. When the client defaulted on the loan the same attorney represented the client in executing a deed and contract of sale in lieu of foreclosure transferring the title to the funding company. Three years and 8 weeks later the client sued claiming the attorney misled him and "improperly advised (him) to execute the deed on the basis that it would be held in escrow" and that he would have a right of redemption.
There was no evidence that the attorney provided any further legal services regarding ownership or financing of the property after the date the deed was executed. The Court reviewed some basic settled principles of law regarding the statute of limitations. Legal malpractice claims: 1) "must be commenced within 3 years of the accrual" of the claim; 2) "accrue when all the facts necessary to the claim have occurred and an injured party can obtain relief in Court"; 3) "In most cases, this accrual time is measured from the day an actionable injury occurs, even if the aggrieved party is then ignorant of the wrong or injury."; 4) "accrue when the malpractice is committed, not when it is discovered".
The Court also noted: "The continuous representation doctrine serves to toll the statute of limitations...only where there is a mutual understanding of the need for further representation on the specific subject matter underlying the malpractice claim". King Tower Realty Corp v G & G Funding Corp, 2018 WL 3297202
For more information on the statute of limitations read the links below.
Legal Malpractice Suit Dismissed As Untimely Despite Client's Ignorance of Malpractice
Lawyer Loses Bid to Dismiss Late Malpractice Claim Seeking $25M
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