Continuous representation of a client by an attorney allows a law suit within [in NY – 3 years] a statutory period of time. That is, the statute of limitations does not kick in until the reprsentation has ended. When this happens is the subject of many cases. Here is a Texas case which holds that in a divorce legal malpractice, transactional work on collecting or enforcing the decree does not count as continuous representation.
"’Legal work incident to enforcement of divorce decree does not trigger Hughes tolling rule
This entry was posted on 4/28/2007 9:48 PM and is filed under Limitations and Tolling.
Limitations on a client’s claim that she received erroneous legal advice from an attorney that caused her to receive an inadequate share of the marital estate in her divorce decree was not tolled by the Hughes rule, which tolls limitations on a legal malpractice action in some instances of continuous representation. In Brennan v. Manning, No. 07-06-0041-CV, (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 12, 2007), the court found that the lawyer’s post-decree work on enforcement issues was not enough to trigger the Hughes tolling rule.
The court first determined when the malpractice claim accrued, applying the legal injury rule to find that the claim accrued when the divorce decree was entered:
Legal malpractice claims are governed by a two year statute of limitations. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. § 16.003(a); Apex Towing Co. v. Tolin, 41 S.W.3d 118, 120 (Tex. 2001). A legal malpractice claim accrues when the legal injury occurs, unless there is a legal basis for tolling limitations. Hughes v. Mahaney & Higgins, 821 S.W.2d 154, 156 (Tex. 1991). Appellant’s legal malpractice claim centers upon her allegation that she received an inadequate division of community property when Manning incorrectly advised her that she was not entitled to a share of referral or contingency fees from lawsuits pending at the time of her divorce. Therefore, Appellant’s legal malpractice claim accrued when she sustained a legal injury, which would have been at the time the community property was divided by the entry of a decree of divorce. Smith v. McKinney, 792 S.W.2d 740, 742 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1990, writ denied). "