Flake v. Neumiller & Beardslee

One-year statute of limitations on legal malpractice claim started running when defendant law firm filed a motion to withdraw from representing plaintiff—not when the court later granted that motion.  The statute of limitations for attorney malpractice is tolled so long as the client continues to be represented in the same matter by the defendant attorney.  Here, the attorney filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for the malpractice plaintiff in the underlying action, stating that a different attorney had already undertaken representing the plaintiff in post-judgment and appellate matters in the case.  The malpractice lawsuit was filed more than a year after the withdrawal motion was filed, but less than a year after the motion was granted.  Held, the malpractice action is time-barred.  Once the withdrawal motion was filed, indicating another attorney had taken over the malpractice plaintiff’s representation, the plaintiff was on notice that the malpractice defendant was no longer representing him and thus the tolling of the statute of limitations stopped then, rather than later when the motion to withdraw was granted.

California Court of Appeal, Third District (Duarte, J.); January 31, 2017; 2017 WL 839822

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