Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations in a Legal Malpractice Action
Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations in a Legal Malpractice Action

Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations in a Legal Malpractice Action

When a former client sues his attorney for legal malpractice, the defendant-attorney/law firm will almost invariably put forward, as part of its defense of the law suit, the Affirmative Defense of Statute of Limitations. In New York State, the period in which an attorney may be sued (whether for a tort [civil wrong] or breach of contract) is generally three (3) years from the date of malpractice. If the client does not sue the attorney/law firm within the applicable Statute of Limitations period, then the case is “time barred” and may be dismissed as having been filed too late. Utah medical malpractice attorneys
When the defendant attorney alleges in his Answer to the law suit that the action is barred by the Statute of Limitations, it is essential to deal with the issue as soon as practicably possible. One effective way is to make a motion to the trial judge to “strike” (or dismiss) the Affirmative Defense from the Answer. Civil Practice Law and Rules [CPLR] Section 3211(b) provides that a party may move to strike an affirmative defense.
Affirmative Defense – Statute of Limitations:
In a recent case, the defendant law firm asserted the Affirmative Defense that the legal malpractice action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. In response, Richard A. Klass, Your Court Street Lawyer, brought a motion to dismiss the Affirmative Defense. The motion requested that this affirmative defense be stricken, since it was alleged that the plaintiff-injured person brought the action within the applicable three-year statute of limitations period, as specified in CPLR 214(6).
CPLR 214(6) provides that “an action to recover damages for malpractice, other than medical, dental or podiatric malpractice, regardless of whether the underlying theory is based in contract or tort” must be commenced within 3 years.
The cause of action for malpractice accrues at the time of the act, error or omission. See, Julian v. Carrol, 270 AD2d 457 [2d Dept. 2000]; Goicoechea v. Law Offices of Stephen Kihl, 234 AD2d 507 [2d Dept. 1996]; Shumsky v. Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164 [2001].
In the recent case, the allegation of legal malpractice against the defendant law firm was that there was a ‘blown’ statute of limitations because the law firm did not timely sue the potentially liable party. In that situation, the New York State Court of Appeals 

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