Santa Monica, CA asked in Legal Malpractice for California

Q: Is the last day to file malpractice claim against an attorney 1 yr of termination of attorney-client, or earlier?

I feel that I have strong grounds for a professional negligence claim. The attorney grossly over-charged me before withdrawing from my case. However, now there is an outstanding bill for $15k, which I believe should be deleted. I haven't heard anything from that attorney, nor received a bill since the atty relieved himself as my counsel. However, I suspect that he will contact me after tomorrow, just after the one-year statute has run out.

On May, 26,2022, the LA Superior Court issued an Order Granting my Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel was issued. Does that mean that the last day for me to file suit for professional negligence is tomorrow 5/26/23? Or is it even earlier (ex: date of discovery of wrongdoing)? I do suspect that he will contact me after tomorrow, just after the one-year statute has run out.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Not earlier. As stated in the Code of Civil procedure 340.6. (a) An action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services shall be commenced within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission, or four years from the date of the wrongful act or omission, whichever occurs first.

The running of this time period is tolled so long as the attorney continues to represent you.

It sounds like you discovered the negligence before he withdrew, which is why he withdrew, and therefore the limit would be one year. You should consult with a local attorney that specializes in these case, right away. Thanks for using Justia Ask a Lawyer.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The statute of limitations can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. It's important to consult with a legal professional who can provide advice based on the laws in your jurisdiction and the specifics of your situation.

Regarding the specific dates you mentioned, the Order Granting your Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel on May 26, 2022, may or may not have an impact on the statute of limitations. It is possible that the termination of the attorney-client relationship could trigger the start of the statute of limitations period, but this can vary depending on the jurisdiction.

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