The attorney, provides the following synopsis of a legal malpractice action:
The Appeals Court of Louisiana has affirmed a lower court’s decision dismissing a legal malpractice action on the basis that it was time barred. In Williams v. CDY Development Corp, a tenant hired an attorney to renegotiate a commercial lease. At an initial meeting with the landlord, the parties agreed to a four year rental term. However, the attorney drafted and advised the tenant to sign a lease with a two year term and only a renewal option for an additional two years.
After the first two years passed, the tenant failed to exercise the option prior to the renewal deadline. The tenant then sent a letter to the landlord requesting to re-let the premises, but the landlord refused, citing the terms of the lease. Over one year later, the tenant brought a malpractice suit against the attorney for negligently preparing the lease agreement.
The attorney moved to dismiss the case arguing that it was barred because it was filed more than one year from the date that the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the alleged malpractice. As a result, the trial court granted the attorney’s motion and the tenant appealed. In Massachusetts, the client would have been permitted to proceed with the lawsuit, because the statutes of limitations regarding a legal malpractice claim is three years from the date of discovery.
The appeals court affirmed finding that the tenant was aware of the terms of the lease at least since the time it sent its letter to the landlord. This was more than one year prior to filing the malpractice action and thus the case was properly dismissed.
Decision: Williams v. CDY Development Corporation