An appeals court in Texas has affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice suit. In Bailey v. Schneider, a client, who had been sentenced to thirty years in prison, retained an attorney to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on his behalf. The attorney had allegedly been late in filing the writ and the client then brought a legal malpractice action against the attorney.
The attorney then moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it was frivolous and/or malicious because the claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice claims is two years. The client had not filed his suit until seven years after the attorney allegedly filed the petition late. Therefore, the trial court granted the dismissal. The client then appealed.
When determining whether a claim is frivolous or malicious one of the factors a court may consider is whether the claim has any basis in law or fact. Since the client’s imprisonment did not toll the statute of limitations, the claim was barred, which negated any legal basis for the claim. Thus, the appellate court found that the dismissal of the suit as frivolous was appropriate.
Decision: Bailey v. Schneider