News Brief

Catalanotti and Tam Prevail on Appeal in Legal Malpractice Action with Statute of Limitations Defense

March 3, 2023

Peter Catalanotti (Partner-San Francisco, CA) and Audrey Tam (Of Counsel-San Francisco, CA) prevailed in the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District.  The Court of Appeal affirmed a Marin County Superior Court judgment following a successful demurrer based on a statute of limitations defense that was sustained without leave to amend. The Court of Appeal found that the legal malpractice claims by the plaintiff, a beneficiary, were filed beyond the one-year statute of limitations codified in CCP Section 340.6. The most recent demand was for $1.74 million. The plaintiff alleged that the attorney/ defendant committed malpractice when he amended estate planning documents for the decedent in 2011. The decedent passed in late 2016. In 2017, several family members (and decedent’s former hairdresser) challenged plaintiff’s right to any distribution. In 2018, the plaintiff filed a petition to reform the estate planning documents. The Court of Appeal found that the one-year statute of limitations began to accrue, at the latest, in 2018 when the plaintiff filed her petition. The legal malpractice case was filed more than a year thereafter and was found to be untimely.

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