Lopez v Lozner & Mastropietro, P.C. 2018 NY Slip Op 08017 Decided on November 21, 2018 Appellate Division, Second Department is a text-book lesson in how to calculate the legal malpractice statute of limitations in a motor-vehicle case where no case was started. It is three years from the date of the motor-vehicle accident plus three years.
“In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for legal malpractice, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Loren Baily-Schiffman, J.), dated May 4, 2017. The order, insofar as appealed from, granted that branch of the defendants’ motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the cause of action alleging legal malpractice.
ORDERED that the order is reversed insofar as appealed from, on the law, with costs, and that branch of the defendants’ motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the cause of action alleging legal malpractice is denied.
On November 4, 2011, the plaintiff, a pedestrian, allegedly was injured when he was struck by a motor vehicle. Thereafter, the plaintiff retained the defendant law firm, Lozner & Mastropietro, P.C. (hereinafter the law firm), to represent him in connection with the accident, and the law firm commenced an action on behalf of the plaintiff against the operator of the vehicle. In January 2017, the plaintiff commenced this action against the law firm and two of its principals, inter alia, to recover damages for legal malpractice. The plaintiff alleged that the driver of the offending vehicle was working for Domino’s Pizza, LLC (hereinafter Domino’s), making a pizza delivery at the time of the subject accident, and that the defendants were negligent in failing to timely commence an action against Dominos. The defendants moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a) to dismiss the complaint. In the order appealed from, the Supreme Court, inter alia, granted that branch of the defendants’ motion which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the first cause of action to recover damages for legal malpractice.”
“Here, accepting the facts alleged in the complaint as true, and according the plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference, the plaintiff stated a cause of action to recover damages for legal malpractice (see Tooma v Grossbarth, 121 AD3d at 1095-1096; Endless Ocean, LLC v Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, 113 AD3d 587, 589; Reynolds v Picciano, 29 AD2d 1012, 1012). The evidentiary submissions did not establish that a material fact alleged in the complaint is not a fact at all and that no significant dispute exists regarding it (see Bodden v Kean, 86 AD3d at 526). Contrary to the defendants’ contention, the plaintiff was entitled to commence this legal malpractice action even though the underlying personal injury action was still pending, as the legal malpractice action accrued, at the latest, in November 2014 (see Johnston v Raskin, 193 AD2d 786, 787).”