A New York appellate court has affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice action. In Aseel v. Jonathan E. Kroll & Assoc., PLLC, a client hired an attorney to represent him in his divorce proceedings. The client subsequently brought a legal malpractice suit against the attorney for negligently representing him in the divorce.
The attorney moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that it was barred by a three year statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion. The client appealed arguing that the statute of limitations was tolled by the continuous representation doctrine, which applies when there is a mutual understanding between the lawyer and client to continue the representation for the matter underlying the malpractice claim.
The appellate court affirmed. The client had removed his case file from the attorney’s office without his knowledge, which the court held constituted termination of the attorney-client relationship. Therefore, the case was properly dismissed as time barred because it was commenced more than three years from that date.