Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations Begins to Run When Right to Add Defendants to Personal Injury Action is Lost, Not When Underlying Case is Settled


The legal malpractice statute of limitations begins to run when the right to bring suit against persons not named in a personal injury action is lost, not when the underlying action is settled with the parties who were named. Elgharbawi v. Hall, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, B216087 (unpublished). Elgharbawi retained Hall to prosecute a personal injury action against the driver of an automobile. The driver pulled out from a blind corner of a driveway and injured Elgharbawi, who was walking his bicycle. Hall moved to withdraw one week before trial. The court continued the trial date; Elgharbawi retained new counsel, who eventually settled the case.

Elgharbawi, with his counsel from the personal injury matter

acting as his lawyer in the legal malpractice action, claimed that Hall erred by not naming the City and landowner as defendants. The statute ran on claims against the City and landowner while Hall represented Elgharbawi. The trial court sustained Hall’s demurrer to the complaint based on the one year legal malpractice statute of limitation set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.6.

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