Hayward, CA asked in Family Law and Personal Injury for Washington

Q: Statute of limitations

Hello, If there's a statue of limitations, and it's expired, but there's a lawsuit which was filed in a timely manner BUT dismissed without a prejustice due to client's communication issues (couldn't reach the client), can it be reopened?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Dashiak
Steve Dashiak
  • Tukwila, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: Yikes. You should fight like hell to have the Court reconsider the dismissal. And get a hold of the dang client! Whatever it takes. Pretend discipline from the bar is on the line.

You can re-file after the statute of limitations, but the case would likely be dismissed upon a motion by the defense.

This is precisely why older lawyers tell younger lawyers to file WELL BEFORE the statute of limitations. On one hand, if the client has truly fallen off the radar, there's a chance they didn't care enough about the lawsuit to continue. In this case, you might never face repercussions. On the other hand, if they pop up out of nowhere and demand a status update, you could very well have a bad time.

You should consult ethics counsel on this, and read your malpractice policy cover to cover. You may be obligated to report this potential malpractice claim to your carrier.

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