A Louisiana appellate court has affirmed a summary judgment in favor of an attorney in a legal malpractice action. In Lewis v. Album, a client retained an attorney in order to bring a claim against the Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance. Several months later, the client terminated the attorney’s representation.
Nearly three years later, the Commissioner’s office served the attorney with an ex parte motion to dismiss the case for abandonment and a court order granting the motion. The attorney forwarded the filings to the client, and filed a motion to withdraw as counsel of record. The following month, the client moved to set aside the Order of Abandonment, which the trial court denied because the case had already been dismissed.
Over one year later, the client filed a legal malpractice claim against the attorney, alleging that he had negligently allowed the previous suit to be dismissed for lack of prosecution. The attorney moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted on the basis that the suit was barred by a one-year statute of limitations on legal malpractice claims.
The appellate court affirmed, finding that the statutory period began to run when the attorney informed the client that his case had been dismissed, or, at the latest, the following month when the client moved to set aside the judgment. Under either scenario, the client failed to commence his action within one year of either event. Summary judgment was therefore proper.
Decision: Lewis v. Album