Belous and Gurman Obtain Dismissal of Untimely Legal Malpractice Claim

August 1, 2019 | Professional Liability

Todd Belous and Amanda Gurman obtained pre-answer dismissal of an action alleging legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation against our attorney client based on their representation of the plaintiff in a litigation which resolved over 10 years ago.

The plaintiff commenced the action against his prior attorneys based on their purported coercion of the plaintiff to settle his claims before trial for substantially less than the claims were worth. The underlying case was settled in 2005, but plaintiff did not commence his malpractice action until 2018 based on his alleged ignorance of his malpractice claims until that time.

In dismissing plaintiff’s complaint, the Court held that plaintiff’s claims were time-barred as a matter of law. The Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that equitable estoppel applied to toll the statute of limitations, finding that the plaintiff was on inquiry notice of his claims against our client at the time he settled the underlying case in 2005. This holding was based on plaintiff’s conceded knowledge that the settlement was “woefully inadequate” and his allegation that our client refused to continue settlement negotiations on plaintiff’s behalf if he did not accept the amount offered.

The Court further noted that plaintiff had failed to allege any facts indicating he was unable to discover the basis of his claims before he commenced the action in 2018 or that our client engaged in any conduct which concealed the claims from plaintiff, such that equitable estoppel could not apply to toll the statute of limitations.

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