Friday, February 1, 2008
La. Supreme Court Extends Legal Malpractice Suit Statute of Limitations and Discusses Duty to Insured Client
Posted by Alan Childress
Thank you to Ray Ward of the Minor Wisdom blog for letting us know: the Supreme Court of Louisiana today ruled that a legal malpractice claim did not start to run, for purposes of the statute of limitations (called "prescription" in the civil law), just because the client was aware of the negative result (a settlement of which he disapproved). The underlying matter was settlement of the plaintiff's medical malpractice lawsuit (in which the plaintiff here, a doctor, had been the defendant). Here is the majority opinion and a dissent: Download 07C1384.opn.pdf. The dissent notes that the insurance contract did not require the insured's consent to settle, so there should be no malpractice actually committed.
Ray put the larger issue well in email to me (which I hope he does not mind me quoting): The court "expounds on a lawyer's duty to the insured client in an insurance-defense context, and to top it off, lays down some law on peremption of a legal-malpractice claim and what constitutes discovery of the malpractice." Ray can also be read on the blog The New Legal Writer.