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What is the statute of limitations for legal malpractice involving fraud?

Spring Valley, CA |

CCP 340.6. states; "(a) An action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services shall be commenced within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission, or four years from the date of the wrongful act or omission, whichever occurs first."

My understanding of this would be that the one year malpractice time limit applies in all cases except for "actual fraud". Is this understanding correct? If fraud was involved would the four year statute of limitations for fraud trump the one year statute for malpractice?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. CCP 340.6 is a negligence statute of limitations addressed specifically to attorney conduct. It is not a fraud statute of limitations. It specifically states that it addresses any action "other than for actual fraud." The statute of limitations for fraud is actually 3 years under CCP 338.
    CCP 340.6 basically says you have one year from the date you knew or should have known of the attorney's misconduct; but under no circumstances may you commence an action more than 4 years after the attorney's misconduct.
    To flavor the issue even more, CCP 340.6 carves out certain exceptions to the general rule, known as "tolling provisions," which "toll" or suspend the running of the statute of limitations based on the attorney's conduct or the given circumstances.
    I highly recommend you consult with a qualified attorney on these subtle procedural issues.


  2. The statutes are somewhat overlapping and confusing for a non lawyer. Retain counsel ASAP. Look here on AVVO or local bar association.


  3. I agree with my colleagues. More facts are needed. The issue of legal malpractice with implication of fraud must be addressed by an attorney that is also a fraud examiner.

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  4. Legal Malpractice is complicated. You should consult with an attorney.

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