The Appellate Division was shockingly clear in its enunciation of this standard, with which we were not familiar. Plaintiffs created a unique investment strategy, and marketed it. The IRS found fault, and assessed promoter penalty fines in excess of $7 Million. Defendant law firm filed a bankruptcy petition, and the litigation started. Unfortunately for Plaintiffs, Supreme Court and now the Appellate Division found it untimely. In Hahn v Dewey & LeBoeuf Liquidation Trust
2016 NY Slip Op 06782 Decided on October 18, 2016 Appellate Division, First Department the AD used a term new to us.
“Supreme Court properly dismissed the complaint as time-barred under the three year statute of limitations applicable to professional malpractice claims (CPL 214). “A legal malpractice claim accrues when all the facts necessary to the cause of action have occurred and an injured party can obtain relief in court'” (McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d 295, 301 , quoting Ackerman v Price Waterhouse, 84 NY2d 535, 541 ). Here, defendants established that the causes of action alleging legal malpractice accrued in 2000-01, when they issued opinion letters and rendered advice that plaintiffs were not required to register a tax shelter (see Ackerman at 541-543; Landow v Snow Becker Krauss, P.C., 111 AD3d 795, 796 [2d Dept 2013]). Although plaintiffs claim not to have discovered that this advice was incorrect until years later, ” [w]hat is important is when the malpractice was committed, not when the client discovered it'” (McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d at 301, quoting Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164, 166 ). Therefore, since the plaintiffs did not commence this action until March 2014, more than three years after their claims for legal malpractice accrued, the complaint was properly dismissed as time-barred.
Contrary to plaintiffs’ argument, the special facts doctrine is inapplicable. The doctrine generally applies to claims of fraud in sales transactions (Jana L. v West 129th St. Realty Corp., 22 AD3d 274, 277 n2 [1st Dept 2005]). Further, at the time defendants rendered erroneous tax advice, neither the applicable statute of limitations nor precedent establishing the accrual date of [*2]malpractice claims (see Ackerman, supra) were peculiarly within defendants’ knowledge (Jana L. at 278), and that same information could have been discovered by plaintiffs through the exercise of ordinary intelligence (id.).”