Deadline To File Suit Under Attorney Deceit Statute-Judiciary Law 487-Can Be Shortened From 6 To 3 Years
On August 9, 2023, a New York State appeals court covering lawsuits in Brooklyn described how the statute of limitations (deadline) for filing claims against attorney's for fraud or deceit can be shortened to 3 years. In an action against an attorney for deceitful conduct under Judiciary Law Section 487, a successful plaintiff may recover treble damages (Yes-3x your actual losses). Claims under this statute are subject to a 6 year statute of limitations. Violation of Judiciary Law 487 requires an intent to deceive, whereas a legal malpractice is based on negligent conduct. Legal malpractice claims are subject to a 3 year statute of limitations. However, if you combine a Judiciary Law 487 claim with a legal malpractice cause of action that is "premised on the same facts as the legal malpractice cause of action and does not allege distinct damages-both causes of action will be governed by a 3 year statute of limitations.
The plaintiff sued his attorney claiming that he mishandled a motor vehicle accident personal injury claim by waiving his right to a jury trial, concealing that failure, and neglecting to submit medical evidence at the bench trial which resulted in a defense verdict. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, his lawsuit was filed six weeks after the 3 year legal malpractice statute of limitations had expired and both causes of action (attorney deceit-attorney negligence) were based on the same facts. Accordingly, both causes of action were found to be properly dismissed by the lower court. Catsiapis v Pardalis & Nohavicka,LLP, 2023 NY Slip Op 04185