Client’s Fraud Claim Against Attorneys Barred By Three Year Statute of Limitation

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In an unpublished opinion, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has held that a client’s fraud claim against its former attorneys was barred by the three year limitation period set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure 338(d). Landmark Screens, LLC v. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, Case No. 5:08-cv-02581-JF, decided Feb. 7, 2011. While legal malpractice claims in California are subject to a one year limitation period, that statute exempts fraud claims, which are subject to the three year statute of limitation for such claims.

Landmark claimed that its attorneys failed to timely file a patent application, then delayed six months before disclosing both the untimely filing and the lawyers’ unsuccessful efforts to remediate the problem. Landmark claimed that the lawyers’ statements that they were trying to fix the problem and that they would report back to Landmark served to toll the limitations period.

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