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  1. #1

    Default When Does the Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case Start to Run

    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: Massachusetts

    I read online that the statute of limitations on filing a legal malpractice case is three years, but Iím confused about when the date begins. A sibling and I hired a lawyer over ten years ago to set up a Trust, and the sibling started taking legal action against me in 2015 with this same lawyer over an issue involving the same Trust. The legal action began as a threat, and I wasnít sued until last year, although with a new attorney. Iím considering suing over what feels like a blatant conflict of interest violation. Would the clock start ticking as soon as I was first contacted, or when I was first sued, although again, with a new attorney who took over the case.

    Thanks for any information.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    In most cases the clock starts running at the time of the claimed malpractice.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    Quote Quoting jk
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    In most cases the clock starts running at the time of the claimed malpractice.

    Does this mean I’m out of luck, as the lawyer and sibling first contacted me in 2015? I guess I’m having trouble understanding when the “claimed malpractice” starts.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    First, if he wasn’t your lawyer you can’t sue him for malpractice. He has no obligation (duty) to you and no legal relationship with you.

    So, if he was also your lawyer, your claim would stem from some particular incident. If that incident took place more than three years ago, you’re out of luck.

    What do you believe is the basis of a legal malpractice claim? Did that attorney still represent you in 2015?

    if the attorney no longer represented you in 2015, I don’t see a conflict of interest. An attorney isn’t forever tied to every client he has had through the years. If he used your privileged info against you, it may allow for some action either as a defense or most likely as an ethics violation claim against the attorney but the fact it appears the attorney represented both you and your sibling regarding the trust, the info would belong to both you and your sibling. That means you wouldn’t likely have a claim.

    especially given your sibling has hired a different attorney to represent him in his suit, I’m seeing even less chance you have any claim.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    The actual statute MGL 260.4 says "three years next after the cause of action accrues."

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/Gener...er260/Section4

    the sibling started taking legal action against me in 2015 with this same lawyer over an issue involving the same Trust. The legal action began as a threat,
    When, in 2015, did the lawyer start representing your sibling against you?

    When did the lawyer stop representing your sibling against you?

    Be specific with month and year for both questions.

    Beyond that, there are a lot of variables involved in determining whether there was a conflict of interest, let alone malpractice.

    You haven't provided any details about what your sibling and the lawyer were doing to you during that period and what the consequences were to you.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    1. January or February, 2015

    2. My sibling hired a new lawyer in July, 2017, although the first lawyer was still involved for at least a few more months, maybe more (copied on emails, sat in on a meeting).

    3. My brother and I hired an attorney over ten years ago to set up a Trust, and, as sole trustee, I was told I had no fiduciary responsibilities. My brother and I then became estranged, and in 2015, he contacted me through this lawyer (the one who represented us both) to try to get me to resign as trustee and appoint my brother as trustee, so he could have more control. In order to do this, they told me I was in breach of my fiduciary duties, which was a lie and an invented reason, but more importantly, it was the exact opposite of what I was told back when the trust was first set up.

    I refused to resign, and they kept issuing threats, but didn’t file a suit against me until late summer, 2017, claiming breach of fiduciary duties, among other things. All the claims are baseless and false and based on deceit, including the charge of breach of duty, and I’m fighting back, but I’ve spent thousands of dollars and counting on legal fees, and I feel so betrayed by this attorney who I hired back in 2006 and entrusted with my business.

    I hope I’ve better explained the situation.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    Well, sorry to tell you this but you do have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust as trustee.

    If your last business relationship with the attorney was when you set up the trust, I don’t see you having any viable claim for legal malpractice.

    I also see nothing improper with with the current suit if the plaintiff believes their claims to be valid.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    Quote Quoting jk
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    if the attorney no longer represented you in 2015, I don’t see a conflict of interest. An attorney isn’t forever tied to every client he has had through the years. If he used your privileged info against you, it may allow for some action either as a defense or most likely as an ethics violation claim against the attorney but the fact it appears the attorney represented both you and your sibling regarding the trust, the info would belong to both you and your sibling. That means you wouldn’t likely have a claim.
    According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, if a lawyer represents multiple clients on a certain legal matter, they can’t later represent one client against the other on anything involving the same matter, unless they get the client’s written consent.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    Quote Quoting Starr12
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    According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, if a lawyer represents multiple clients on a certain legal matter, they can’t later represent one client against the other on anything involving the same matter, unless they get the client’s written consent.

    So file a complaint with the state bar.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Case

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Well, sorry to tell you this but you do have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust as trustee. .
    Yes, I realize this, but my brother, as a beneficiary, never asked or “directed” me to do anything as trustee, nor did I neglect any responsibilities. He simply wanted to be trustee himself, so his only “order” was to force me to resign and appoint him as sole trustee. They needed a reason to justify this, so they invented a list of things I was supposed to do as trustee, none of which are mentioned in the trust document, and none of which I was instructed to do by my T & E attorney back in 2006.

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