Legal Malpractice Suit Dismissed As Untimely Despite Client's Ignorance of Malpractice
Last month a Supreme Court Judge in Manhattan dismissed a legal malpractice claim against a lawyer who failed to show up at a conference which led to dismissal of the client's case. The attorney's no-show resulted in the dismissal of an Article 78 proceeding against the NYC Department of Education in which the plaintiff-client sought reinstatement of her eligibility to teach. The plaintiff-client had retained the attorney to file an Article 78 proceeding in June 2010. This proceeding survived the DOE's motion to dismiss in December 2010, but when the defendant-attorney failed to appear for a conference in January 2013 the Article 78 was dismissed. The plaintiff claimed the defendant -attorney failed to provide status reports on her Article 78 and that she last heard from the defendant-attorney regarding in November 2011.
The plaintiff was unaware of the dismissal of her Article 78 proceeding or the malpractice of her attorney until September 2015. The legal malpractice suit was filed in September 2016. When does the three year deadline (statute of limitations) begin to run: when the client learned of the malpractice or dismissal, the last date she reasonably believed she was represented by the defendant attorney; or, the date of the malpractice? Justice Lynn Kotler, ruled in favor of the defendant-attorney and held that the statute of limitations began to run on the date of the alleged malpractice. In other words, this Court held that the deadline started when the Article 78 proceeding was dismissed in January 2013 despite the absence of a claim the client was so informed. LeMonda v Glass, 2017 WL 5957138
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