Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

A claim for legal malpractice accrues when an attorney's breach of professional duty proximately causes a plaintiff's damages.

January 19, 2018
Happy Days Adult Healthcare, LLC v. Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP, 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1562.

The plaintiffs appealed from an order dismissing their complaint against the defendant for legal malpractice based on the entire controversy doctrine. The Appellate Division held that the trial judge was correct that the plaintiffs had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the claim in the fee action, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP v. Brian Kleiman, et al., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1229 (App. Div. May 19, 2017), but failed to do so. The trial judge concluded that the plaintiffs' legal malpractice claim should have been litigated in the fee action because the claim for fees and the claim for malpractice "could be most soundly and appropriately litigated and disposed of in a single comprehensive adjudication." The Appellate Division held that the plaintiffs were aware of their malpractice claim against the defendant following the suppression of their Answer in a prior fee suit and knew that the prior ruling had caused them to suffer damages. The Appellate Division held that the plaintiffs' malpractice suit was barred because of their awareness of their claim and their ability to have taken the steps to assert their malpractice claim before the trial date.

This opinion notes the general rule that a claim for malpractice accrues when an attorney's breach of professional duty proximately causes damages. If a litigant was aware of the alleged malpractice committed and had a full and fair opportunity to assert a claim for malpractice in a prior lawsuit, but failed to do so, that claim is barred by the Entire Controversy Doctrine.

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Affiliated Attorney

(856) 779-6103
jjzacharias@mdwcg.com

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."