For a well written discussion of the elements of continuous representation, we suggest that RJR Mech. Inc. v Ruvoldt 2017 NY Slip Op 31232(U) June 8, 2017 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 158764/2015 Judge: Jeffrey K. Oing serves as a prime example.
” As in the first action, the. complaint in the second action alleges that the Norwest Bank action resulted in a private auction iri which the Maspeth Property was sold, with the proceeds distributed· pursuant to a co~rt order: $424,790.42 to plaintiff and $1,450,992.89 to EMV, the prior owner of the Maspeth Property (Verified Complaint.”
“Plaintiff’s new allegations are as follows. Plaintiff alleges that not only did Ruvoldt represent it in the Norwest Bank action,.but he also represented it in another action commenced in 2004 against it and related to the Maspeth Property: EMV Realty Corp. v RJR MechanicaL- Inc., ‘Index No. 14778/2004 (Sup Ct, Queens County) (the “EMV Realty actionn). Plaintiff alleges it retained Ruvoldt to represent it and one of its principalsj Roy Leibo~itz (“Leibowitzn) in the EMV Realty a6tion (Verified Complaint, !! 14-15). The EMV Realty action has laid dormant since 2005, save for a single 2011 substitution of counsel ”
“Notwithstanding the motion to withdraw, plaintiff further alleges that defendants continued representing it and that on March 8, 2011 Espinosa informed Karpman of his continuing discussion with counsel concerning an extension of the time to appeal and settle the Nortwest Bank action (Verified Complaint, ‘1I 28) .· Plaintiff contends that this allegation is also supported by a March 7, .2011 letter sent from Espinosa to Karpman and Leibowitz stating that defendants would take steps to “protect” plaintiff’s rights (Pl. Memo of Law in Opp., p. 6; Espinosa Affirm., Ex. E). ”
“Pursuant to CPLR 214(6), an action for legal malpractice must be commenced within three years from the date of accrual (Shumsky v Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164, 166 ). A legal malpractice claim accrues when relief can be obtained in court (McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d 295, 301 ) and from the time the actual injury stemming from the malpractice occurs, not when it is discovered (Id.). Here, defendants argue that any alleged failure to prepare for trial would have had to occur befor~ July 30, 2010, which is when the Supreme Court, Queens County, issued its distribution decision. Defendants argue that because more than three years elapsed between July _2010 and the filing of RJR’s first action on March 14, 2014, the failure to prepare allegation is time-barred by the statute of limitations. ”
“The continuous representation doctrine, which is the offspring of the continuous treatment doctrine, recognizes that a layperson seeking legal assistance “[h]as a right to repose confidence ~n the professional’s ability and good faith, and realistically cannot be expected to question and assess the techniques employed or the manner in which the services· are rendered” (Greene v Greene, 56 NY2d 86, 94 ; Matter of Lawrence, 24 N~3d 320, 342-343 ). “The continuousrepresentation doctrine tolls a statute of limitations where there is a mutual understa~ding of the need for further representation on the specific subject matter underlying the malpractice claim” (Zorn v Gilbert, 8 NY3d 933, 934  [internal quotations and citations omitted]). The two prerequisites needed to invoke a continuous representation toll are 1) a claim of misconduct regarding the mann~r in which the profession~l services were performed,· and 2) the ongoing provision bf professional services.with respect to the contested matter or transaction (Matter of Lawrence, 24 NY3d at 342). The ongoing representation must be specifically related to the matter in which the attorney committed the alleged malpractice (Id.; Johnson v Proskauer Rose LLP, 129 AD3d 59, 68 [1st Dept 2015]). The continuous representation doctrine is inapplicable where “plaintiff’s allegations establish defendant[s’] failures within a continuing professional relationship, not a course of representation as to the particular problems (conditions) that gave rise to plaintiff’s malpractice claims” (Id. at 341-342 [internal quotations and citations·omitted]). ”
“To the extent plaintiff relies on the EMV Realty action to toll the statute of limitations, plaintiff’s arguments are unavailing. Since 2011, when Loanzan Sheikh was substituted as · counsel, ther~ has been no activity in the EMV Realty action and, prior to that, since 2005, there had been no activity before the substitution. Contrary to plaintiff’s assertion, it would not have been under the reasonable belief that defendants were / actively representing it in the EMV Realty action. Further, and more import~ntly, in order for a legal malpractice claim to be subject to the continuous representation toll, the ongoing representation must be directly linked to the alleged malpractice. Given that plaintiff has failed to plead with sufficiency that the EMV Realty action is related to the underlying allegations of legal malpractice, the continuous representation doctrine cannot be transferred to the second action based on the EMV Realty action. Based on the foregoing, plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim is time-barred. ”