Louisiana Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Legal Malpractice Case

A Louisiana appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice suit. In Guy v. Brown, two half-sisters brought a legal malpractice claim against their former attorney who represented them in their deceased father’s succession proceedings. The father had received negligent medical care, which resulted in paraplegia and allegedly contributed to his death eight years later. The sisters believed they were hiring the attorney to represent them in the succession proceedings, and also to bring a medical malpractice and wrongful death action against the hospital where he was treated.

However, the attorney claimed to be unaware of the medical malpractice claim, and therefore did not file any action. Upon learning of the sisters’ allegation that he had been hired to file a malpractice claim, the attorney withdrew as counsel due to a potential conflict of interest. The sisters then filed a legal malpractice suit against him. The attorney filed an exception to the complaint, alleging no cause of action, which the trial court granted, dismissing the case. The sisters appealed.

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal. It relied on a Louisiana statute, which prescribes that all claims for injury or death against a medical care provider must be brought within one year from the date of the act or discovery of the claim, and in no event later than three years from the date of the act. Since the sisters had not hired the attorney until their father’s death, which was eight years after he had received the alleged improper medical care, the attorney could not be held liable for failing to timely file an action.

Decision: Guy v. Brown


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