What is the statute of limitations on a written contract (fee agreement) with an attorney?
Murrieta, CA |
Is the statue four years? And when does it end ... does it end when the attorney stops representing you? In this instance, the attorney messed up and is now claiming that I have no recourse against him because the statute has run.
The statute of limitation for breach of written contract is four years from the date of the breach in California. If the attorney continued to represent you after the actual date of breach, you could argue that the four year statute did not begin to run until he quit representing you.
If you want to sue for legal malpractice, your deadline is one year from the date the attorney quit representing you.
If you have a dispute about attorney fees, you are entitled to have fee arbitration at a low cost through your local bar association. If your attorney sent you a notice of this right, your deadline to seek fee arbitration was 30 days after the date of the notice. Still, even if you are late, you might ask the attorney for fee arbitration, and he might agree.
Take a look at the relevant dates, and if they are on your side, you might be able to call your attorney up and work something out without having to go to arbitration or litigation.
Did he/she breach a contract, or do something negligently? If it is a malpractice (professional negligence), then you have to prove that the negigence caused some damages to you. Also, when did you discover your damages? This would set the starting time of your "statute of limiations." However, if you have not gone to trial yet, you may still have no damages theoretically, becuase the errors could be cleaned up before your trial, and may not affect your chances of winning.