Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Need a little legal ammo? Search for caselaw on legal theories and defenses here:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Statute of limitations and attorney malpractice: special tolling rule


LEGAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS ARE GOVERNED BY A TWO YEAR LIMITATIONS PERIOD, BUT WHEN DOES THAT START TO RUN? 

A two-year statute of limitations governs legal malpractice claims. TEX.CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 16.003 (West Supp. 2014); Willis v. Maverick,760 S.W.2d 642, 644 (Tex. 1988). The statute of limitations begins to run when the claim accrues. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 16.003. A legal malpractice claim accrues when the client sustains a legal injury or, in cases
governed by the discovery rule, when the client discovers or should have discovered through the exercise of reasonable care and diligence the facts establishing the elements of the claim. Hughes v. Mahaney & Higgins, 821 S.W.2d 154, 156 (Tex. 1991); Nowak v. Pellis, 248 S.W.3d 736, 739 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, no pet.).

EQUITABLE TOLLING EXTENSION

However, in Hughes, the Texas Supreme Court established an equitable tolling rule for the statute of limitations in legal malpractice cases: “[W]hen an attorney commits malpractice in the prosecution or defense of a claim that results in litigation, the statute of limitations on the malpractice claim against the attorney is tolled until all appeals on the underlying claim are exhausted.” 821 S.W.2d at 157.

SOURCE: FIRST COURT OF APPEALS - 01-13-00962-CV - 12/23/2014