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Attorneys-Limitations Cases Summarized

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Attorneys-Limitations and the related topic of legal malpractice. For more information on legal malpractice issues see the page on Wikipedia..  

Attorneys-Limitations: Cases

2010 Van Dam v. Gay, 280 Va. 457, 699 S.E.2d 480.

Wife sued former attorney for legal malpractice in terms of drafting of property settlement agreement. Legal injury occurred when the Court entered the final decree of divorce and at that time the legal representation terminated. Right of action accrued on that date of divorce and not when it was subsequently determined that the wife had been injured as a result of the PSA and, as such, claim is time barred.

2004 Shipman v. Kruck, 267 Va. 495, 593 S.E.2d 319.

Legal malpractice claim involving attorneys-limitations. Court determined that contract between attorney and client was oral, therefore, three-year statute controlled. Statute began to run when attorney ceased representation of the client. Claim filed more than three years after that date is time-barred. In this case, attorney advised client to put property into trust. The trust was revocable. Attorney thereafter filed bankruptcy petition. Upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition by the attorney for the client, the client was damaged because at that point, they lost control over the trust property since it was transferred to the bankruptcy trustee. At that point, the client suffered some damage and therefore, the cause of action arose on that date. The continuous representation rule also applies in Virginia and it applies only when a continuous or recurring course of professional services relating to a particular undertaking is shown to have taken place over a period of time. So the inquiry is when the attorney’s work on a particular undertaking ended. Payment as contemplated in the Duesterdick case is not what triggers the statute of limitations. Instead, it is the accrual of some damage.

1988 MacLellan v. Throckmorton, 235 Va. 341, 367 S.E.2d 720.

Attorneys-limitations.Three-year statute of limitation applies to legal malpractice. Statute of limitations begins to run when particular undertaking or transaction which attorney had handled was completed.

1987 Keller v. Denny, 232 Va. 512, 352 S.E.2d 327.

Attorneys-limitations.In legal malpractice claim, statute of limitations did not begin to run until attorney’s duties with respect to particular transaction had terminated not withstanding continuation of general attorney-client relationship and irrespective of attorney’s work on other matters for same client. Where there is undertaking or agency which requires continuation of services, statute of limitations does not begin to run until termination of undertaking or agency. This rule has been applied to varying circumstances in which a principal has entrusted an agent with continuing series of transactions or single but long protracted transaction.

1978 Goodstein v. Weinberg, 219 Va. 105, 245 S.E.2d 140.

Suit for attorney malpractice, based solely on tort liability (originally misjoined in contract and tort; tort chosen); alleged fraudulent and willfully negligent conduct of attorneys. One-year limitation prescribed by Va. Code § 8.24 [now § 8.01-243] applied.<

1976 Oleyar v. Kerr, 217 Va. 88, 225 S.E.2d 398.

Action for negligence of attorney in performance of professional services, while sounding in tort, is action for breach of contract and thus governed by statute of limitations applicable to contracts.

1973 McCormick v. Romans & Gunn, 214 Va. 144, 198 S.E.2d 651.

Statute of limitations begins to run when undertaking is terminated, i.e., services completed.

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Attorneys-Limitations Cases Summarized

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