Employer Alert: California Supreme Court Gives Employees Two Bites at Wage and Hour Cases

By Nicholas Grether, The Maloney Firm, APC
 
California employers are aware that representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) can result in significant liability. Today, the California Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Kim v. Reins International California, Inc. (March 12, 2020, S246911) __ Cal.5th __. Significantly, the Court held that an employee who had settled his individual wage and hour claims was not barred from pursuing a PAGA claim. In response to this ruling, employers should be mindful when settling claims with their employees.
 
In Kim, an employee brought individual wage and hour claims and sought civil penalties under the PAGA on behalf of other employees. To bring a PAGA action, an employee must be an “aggrieved person,” meaning they can claim at least one Labor Code violation. The employer successfully moved the individual claims to arbitration and the PAGA representative claims were stayed. The employee then settled his individual claims, and returned to the trial court to pursue his PAGA claim.
 
The employer successfully moved for summary adjudication of the PAGA claim, arguing the employee lacked standing because his settlement meant he was no longer an “aggrieved person.” The California Supreme Court disagreed, finding the employee did not lose his standing as a PAGA representative. The Court noted that it was not necessary for an employee to claim an economic injury. As the court noted in Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc. (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1244, 1256, payment of the statutory remedy for missed breaks “does not excuse a section 226.7 violation.” Thus, even an employee who was compensated for his individual wage and hour claims may still qualify as an “aggrieved person.”
 
Nor was the Court persuaded that the settlement had any preclusive effect to bar a PAGA claim. The employee brought his individual claims and PAGA claim at the same time. Due to an arbitration agreement, he was forced to arbitrate his individual claims first, so the employee was not trying to file a second action. The Court also observed that the settlement offer referred specifically to the employee’s “individual claims,” and not the PAGA, and it would be unfair to prevent the employee from pursuing claims that were specifically excluded from the earlier settlement. Additionally, the Court also cast doubt on whether settling individual claims would bar a subsequent lawsuit under the PAGA.
 
Bottom Line: Employers can no longer presume that a release of individual wage and hour claims will bar an employee from pursuing a representative action under the PAGA. Careful attention should be paid to settlement agreements to ensure they are clear about what claims are being released.
 
About the Author:
 
Nicholas Grether is an employment attorney in the Employment Law Department at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this alert, contact Nicholas Grether at ngrether@maloneyfirm.com.

Beware of Equitable Tolling Stretching the Statute of Limitations Even Further

statutes of limitationsBy Nicholas Grether, The Maloney Firm, APC
 
By now, California employers should be aware that AB 9 extended the deadline for employees to file a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) from one year to three years. Employees may now file claims such as harassment, discrimination, and retaliation with the DFEH up to three years after the alleged unlawful acts. Employers should also be aware that in some cases, the statute of limitations can be extended even further through the doctrine of “equitable tolling.” A recent California Court of Appeals case found that the pendency of an employee’s workers’ compensation claim could toll the statute of limitations, extending the time allowed to pursue claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
 
Brome v. California Highway Patrol
 
In the case of Brome v. California Highway Patrol (See note 1), a CHP officer claimed to have been subjected to harassment and retaliation during his nearly 20-year career. In January 2015, the officer went on medical leave and filed a workers’ compensation claim due to stress allegedly caused by the harassment he claimed to have endured. After resolving the workers’ compensation claim in October 2015, he took disability retirement in February 2016. The officer then filed a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH claim”) in September 2016, received an immediate right to sue, and filed a lawsuit the next day claiming discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
 
Prior to 2020, the officer would have only been able to rely on incidents dating back one year (i.e., incidents that occurred after September 2015) to support his claims. In the CHP’s view, since he was off work on a medical leave as of January 2015, he certainly could not prove that he was harassed by any employee of the CHP after September 2015. However, the appeals court ruled that by pursuing one remedy out of a number of options (in this case a claim of workers’ compensation) the officer could claim an extension of the statute of limitations using equitable tolling (See note 2). This allowed the officer to rely on alleged unlawful acts dating back to December 2014, prior to his medical leave. To meet the standard for equitable tolling, a plaintiff must show timely notice, a lack of prejudice to the defendant, and reasonable and good faith conduct by the plaintiff.
 
The appeals court was persuaded that the officer had established a triable issue of fact as to whether the statute of limitations could be equitably tolled. First, the officer alleged that harassment at work caused his stress in his workers’ compensation claim, and his supervisors understood that he was complaining about discrimination. Thus, he could show that his workers’ compensation claim put the CHP on notice about what was then alleged in the DFEH claim. Second, the court found that since the CHP’s investigation into the workers’ compensation claim put it in a position of investigating similar claims to the DFEH claim, any prejudice to the CHP would be minimal. The CHP had the opportunity to interview witnesses and gather facts related to the DFEH claim. Third, the court found Brome waiting 11 months to file the DFEH claim after the workers’ compensation claim was not irrefutable evidence of bad faith (See note 3). The appeals court denied the CHP’s motion for summary judgment and the officer’s claims are again pending before the trial court.
 
Lessons for Employers
 
The case provides several lessons for employers. First, the legislature’s extension of the statute of limitations and potential for equitable tolling emphasize the need to have an organized data retention policy. Employers do not want to be in the position of having destroyed or being unable to locate evidence if litigation commences 4+ years later.
 
Second, employers must conduct thorough investigations when an employee feels mistreated, discriminated against, or harassed, even in connection with a workers’ compensation claim. A court may find that work-related stress puts an employer on notice about harassment, so interviewing witnesses and gathering the key evidence will put the employer in a better position if the employee later pursues civil claims of harassment or retaliation.
 
Third, employers need to respond to their employee’s complaints and attempt to address them. The facts in Bromemade for a sympathetic plaintiff since he had complained about harassment and discrimination on several occasions to no avail.
 
Fourth, any time there is a workers’ compensation claim, the employer should be on the lookout for potentially helpful information for use in a subsequent lawsuit.
 
Lastly, we note that court might be less likely to apply equitable tolling when an employee or former employee misses the now three-year deadline to file a claim with the DFEH. However, if the plaintiff has pursued other remedies, such as workers’ compensation, it is possible that the statute of limitations will not provide an absolute defense.
 
Notes:
1. Appellate No. A154612, Solano County Super. Ct. Case No. FCS047706.
2. Since the officer’s workers’ compensation claim was pending for 285 days, the court found that the officer could also rely on his allegations for the 285 days before September 2015, stretching his claims into December 2014 when he was still working and allegedly subjected to harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
3. We note the court found that the officer established a triable issue of fact on equitable tolling, not that he was entitled to it as a matter of law. The trial court may find that the officer did not act in good faith or that the CHP did not have notice of the potential DFEH claims. Even so, the court’s ruling is illustrative of potential pratfalls for California employers.
 
About the Author:
 
Nicholas Grether is an employment attorney in the Employment Law Department at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this alert, contact Nicholas Grether at ngrether@maloneyfirm.com.

Employer Alert: Changes to Discovery Laws May Also Increase Costs on California Employers

By Nicholas Grether, The Maloney Firm APC
 
New laws continue to increase the costs of doing business in California. 2020 brought significant changes to California’s employment laws, markedly changing the landscape for California employers. While the impact of these new laws has been the subject of extensive commentary, there are other changes in the law that also impact California employers facing employment suits, which appear outside the Labor Code.
 
More Costly Responses to Requests for Production
 
SB 370 changed parties’ obligations when producing documents in a lawsuit, substantially increasing the burden on parties producing documents. SB 370 modified Code of Civil Procedure § 2031.280 to require a party producing documents in response to discovery indicate the particular documents responsive to each document request. Previously, parties were only required to state that they would provide documents in whole or subject to some limitation, object to producing documents, or respond that the party could not provide responsive documents. Parties were also permitted to produce documents as “kept in the ordinary course of business,” an option SB 370 has eliminated. In employment matters, where the defendant employer typically has the lion’s share of the documents, SB 370 will likely increase costs to prepare discovery responses and produce documents, since employer’s counsel will have to take the extra step of matching up the documents to each request. And because employers generally produce more documents in employment lawsuits than do plaintiff employees, this new requirement will increase the discovery burdens on employers and likely will result in expensive discovery disputes concerning whether documents are responsive to a particular request. Similarly, it would not be surprising for litigants to seek rulings that documents produced may only be offered into evidence with regard to the topics embraced by the requests to which they were assigned.
 
Additionally, the requirement of identifying the requests to which documents were produced applies equally both to physical documents and to Electronically Stored Information (ESI). Unfortunately, the Legislature provided no guidelines on how to label or identify ESI to satisfy this new requirement. In a case with substantial ESI, counsel should meet and confer to seek agreement on how to exchange that information in order to avoid disputes and unnecessary expense. For example, a single file containing emails could contain hundreds of emails responsive to a number of typical document requests. Matching individual emails to specific requests would be a costly and time-consuming practice. Given the lack of clarity, employers should utilize efficient means of storing and reviewing ESI in order to save time and money during litigation.
 
Optional Use of Initial Disclosures
 
A new, if familiar, option in litigation is to agree to exchange initial disclosures (as is done in federal court). SB 17 added California Code of Civil Procedure § 2016.090 allow the parties to create, by agreement, reciprocal obligations to exchange information without the requirement of formal discovery requests. Both parties must agree in writing and a Judge must give the order to use initial disclosures. Within 45 days of the Judge’s order, each party would exchange the names and contact information of witnesses, documents supporting claims or defenses, and insurance information. As with federal court practice, parties would be required to supplement their initial disclosures as they obtain more information. If a party fails to make proper initial disclosures, an order compelling the disclosure may be sought from the court.
 
Opinions on the efficacy of initial disclosures are mixed, but they allow for an exchange of key information and documents relevant to the claims and defenses at an early stage. Use of initial disclosures might also provide some peace of mind should the parties agree to an early mediation and hold off on other discovery in an attempt to keep costs low. Attorneys can be wary of agreeing to stay discovery if they lack the documents and information necessary to conduct a meaningful mediation. By agreeing to exchange initial disclosures in advance of mediation, the parties may save the time and expense of traditional discovery while still providing the exchange of sufficient information to allow a productive and perhaps successful mediation. On the flip side, some attorneys worry that if initial disclosures become mandatory in state court, that may be another increased cost on employers in litigation, as they would be compelled to produce a broad array of documents they wish to use to fashion their defense at the outset of the case before the issues are clarified.
 
With these changes to the discovery rules, it is more important than ever that California employers ensure their documents are organized and ESI is readily accessible. Complying with the new requirements and finding ways to increase efficiency will allow all parties to save time and money in employment litigation.
 
About the Author:
 
Nicholas Grether is an employment attorney in the Employment Law Department at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this alert, contact Nicholas Grether at ngrether@maloneyfirm.com.

The Maloney Firm’s Patrick Maloney Elected President of the South Bay Bar Association

The Maloney Firm is pleased to announce that Patrick Maloney, has been elected to serve as the President of the South Bay Bar Association.
 
Patrick has been a member of the Board of Directors of South Bay Bar Association (“SBBA”) board since 2013, has served on its executive committee for several years, and is the Chair of the Employment Law Section.
 
Founded in 1953, The South Bay Bar Association has served the South Bay area of Los Angeles for over 50 years. The SBBA has over 300 active members who are dedicated to serving and supporting its members though ongoing education, programs and events, and the general public in education and referral.
 
Patrick is the Managing Shareholder of The Maloney Firm and represents clients in disputes involving contracts, fraud, and anticompetitive conduct, employment litigation, and shareholder and partnership disputes. He also represents both clients and lawyers in legal malpractice and fiduciary duty cases and in fee disputes. Patrick has served as lead trial counsel in numerous matters in state and federal court, as well as in arbitration.
 
Patrick frequently speaks on business litigation and legal malpractice topics and volunteers with the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a member of the Hon. Benjamin Aranda III Inn of Court. He earned is J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and his B. B.A. from San Diego State University.
 

Maloney Firm Attorneys Selected to the 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers List

The Maloney Firm is proud to announce that Patrick M. Maloney and Lisa Von Eschen have been selected to the 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers® list in their practice areas. Each year, no more than five percent of attorneys are recognized by Super Lawyers as the top attorneys in their fields.
 
Patrick M. Maloney – Business Litigation and Professional Liability;
 
Lisa Von Eschen – Employment.
 
 
About Super Lawyers
 
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

California Court of Appeal Clarifies Deadline for Seeking a Trial De Novo in Mandatory Fee Arbitration

By Patrick Maloney and Sam Fogas, The Maloney Firm, APC
 
Mandatory Fee Arbitration under Business & Professions Code § 6200 et seq. often provides an efficient means for attorneys and clients to resolve disputes concerning unpaid legal fees. Where either party is unhappy with the arbitration results, the dissatisfied party is entitled to seek review of the award through a trial de novo.
 
The deadline for seeking a trial de novo has been subject to some uncertainty, which was recently clarified by the California Court of Appeal in Soni v. Simplelayers, Inc., a case published by the Second Appellate District on December 3, 2019. Confusion concerning the deadline for seeking a trial de novo arose from a lack of clarity about whether the deadline for seeking such relief was to be extended when the award was service by mail. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 1013, in certain instances service by mail provides an automatic five-day extension of any resulting deadlines. The vast majority of awards issued in Mandatory Fee Arbitration are served on the participants by mail.
 
In Soni, the Court of Appeal held that the deadline for seeking a trial de novo is 30 days after the date on which the arbitration award is served, irrespective of the manner of service. As the Court explained, mail service occurs when an item is deposited in the mail for service, not upon its arrival. The Court held the deadline for requesting a trial de novo is 30 days after the award is deposited in mail. The 30-day deadline is not extended by the fact of mail service.
 
Following Soni, parties to a non-binding Mandatory Fee Arbitration should carefully review the date on which the agency administering the fee arbitration served the award and calendar the deadline for seeking a trial de novo 30 days from the actual date of service of the award, irrespective of the manner of service of the award or the date on which the award arrives.
 
About the Authors: Patrick Maloney and Sam Fogas
 
The founding shareholder of The Maloney Firm, APC, Mr. Maloney represents attorneys and clients in disputes over legal fees and legal malpractice. Mr. Fogas is a civil litigation attorney at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this article, contact Patrick Maloney at pmaloney@maloneyfirm.com and sfogas@maloneyfirm.com.
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California MCLE Reporting Due: February 1st

Join our South Bay MCLE Series & Complete your Credits in
Ethics – Competence – Elimination of Bias

 
Presented by The Maloney Firm, APC
 
Lawyers Behaving Badly: How Attorneys Lost Their Licenses in 2019
Presented by Patrick M. Maloney, Esq.
 
Wednesday, January 15th
Registration: Noon -12:15 pm
Program: 12:15 -1:15 pm
 
Ethical violations can result in State Bar discipline. This is an opportunity to learn from other’s mistakes.
 
This presentation has been approved by the State Bar of California for 1.0 hour of Legal Ethics.
 
Don’t be Incompetent (and Other Secrets of Success)
Presented by Gregory M. Smith, Esq.
 
The personal challenges of the modern practice of law, including substance abuse, mental health, and staying up to date on technology.
 
Wednesday, January 22nd
Registration: Noon -12:15 pm
Program: 12:15 -1:15 pm
 
This presentation has been approved by the State Bar of California for 1.0 hour of Competency.
 
New Year: What California Lawyers & Employers Need to Know
Presented by Lisa Von Eschen, Esq.
 
Wednesday, January 29th
Registration: Noon -12:15 pm
Program: 12:15 -1:15 pm
 
To protect from costly disputes, California businesses must stay abreast of changing employment laws and keep handbooks current, but there are surprises ahead for employers in 2020.
 
This presentation has been approved by the State Bar of California for 1.0 hour of Elimination of Bias.
 
Register Today
 
Email: jjarosz@maloneyfirm.com to reserve your spot. Space is limited.
This program is free to attend and lunch and parking will be provided.

Fans Must Manage Expectations After 9th Circ. Pacquiao Case

By Gregory M. Smith and Sam Fogas, The Maloney Firm, APC

Originally published by Law360
 
The rules of competition dictate that approximately half of sports fans leaving an arena will be disappointed at the outcome — after all, there can only be one winner. But sometimes when all the fans feel let down, the action will shift into the courtroom.
 
It will now be harder for fans to become litigants because, recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that sports fans who suffer through a disappointing match or game can’t sue the athletes involved for a lackluster performance even if one of them publicly lies about an injury that might limit his or her performance.
 
In re Pacquiao-Mayweather Boxing Litigation was the result of a multitude of lawsuits brought against boxers Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Home Box Office Inc. and others. The plaintiffs claimed that they were defrauded into buying tickets and pay-per-view packages for the much-hyped Pacquiao/Mayweather boxing match in May 2015 because the defendants misrepresented Pacquiao’s health by failing to reveal that he had a shoulder injury.
 
Immediately before the bout, Pacquiao, his team and the fight promoters publicly described Pacquiao as being in “pristine condition,” “better than [they had] ever seen him,” and had told the media that “[y]ou’re going to see the best Manny.” These statements were all made despite their knowledge that Pacquiao had torn his rotator cuff about a month before.
 
The day before the bout, Pacquiao completed a prefight medical questionnaire required by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in which Pacquiao represented — under penalty of perjury — that he had not suffered a serious injury of any kind. Then a mere three hours before the fight, Pacquiao told NSAC about the shoulder injury and asked permission for an injection to manage the pain.
 
NSAC denied the request, but its physicians cleared Pacquiao to fight. Pacquiao then went on to lose to Mayweather in a 12-round unanimous decision that the plaintiffs described as a “yawner.” After the loss, Pacquiao publicly disclosed his injury for the first time and admitted it hampered his performance.
 
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the lawsuits because the plaintiffs got what they paid for: a boxing match between Pacquiao and Mayweather. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, describing the statements regarding Pacquiao’s health as puffery and holding that the plaintiffs “suffered no cognizable injury to a legally protected interest because ‘the alleged misrepresentations and omissions implicate the core of athletic competition’ as opposed to ‘business outcomes and financial performance.’” The court wrote, “although boxing fans — like all sports fans — can reasonably expect a regulation match, they can also reasonably anticipate a measure of unpredictability that makes spectator sports exciting.”
 
In reaching its conclusions, the court adopted the license approach that has been previously used by other circuits to interpret the rights of sporting-event ticket buyers. It looked to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s holding in Bowers v. Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. [1]
 
The Bowers Court had affirmed that the attendees of an F1 auto race could not state a cause of action for breach of contract when only 14 of the expected 20 cars participated in the race. It remarked, that “most states agree that the seller contracts only to admit the plaintiff to its property at a given time” not “to provide the spectacle” and that the seller agrees “only to license the plaintiff to enter and view whatever event transpires.”
 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reached a similar conclusion in an action brought by New York Jets season ticket holders in a case against the New England Patriots, Mayer v. Belichick . Mayer sued for breach of contract, fraud and other counts, in which he alleged that the Patriots had secretly videotaped their opponents sideline signals, thus depriving ticket holders of “an honest match played in compliance with all laws, regulations and NFL rules.”
 
The Mayer court held that fans had “at best, a contractual right to enter Giants Stadium and to have a seat from which to watch a professional football game” but that no cause of action could be stated because the plaintiff “undeniably saw football games played by two NFL teams.”
 
The court also differentiated the claims asserted in In re Pacquiao from cases that had been allowed to go forward by season ticket holders of teams that had later relocated or gone out of business. In those circumstances, the fan had purchased tickets for games that were not played.
 
While In re Pacquiao involved boxing specifically, the implications go far beyond the ring. The Ninth Circuit legally confirmed what every fan knows implicitly: there are no guarantees in sports as to the quality of the competition — the fact that the competitions could result in blowouts or nail biters is what keeps fans watching.
 
A ticket or subscription is not a promise of a stellar performance or of the desired outcome, but rather a chance to witness something that might be amazing. By analogy, no cause of action is created when the referees blow a call or when National Basketball Association stars skip regular season games for “load management.”
 
Although an injured boxer’s or star’s skipping a team game is undoubtably disappointing for fans, the court’s holding is rooted in both legal precedent and common sense. If athletes were legally required to be in perfect health to compete, then combat sports and football might cease to exist.
 
In the event that a bout or a game were able to be played, it would likely have to be repeatedly rescheduled before the participants’ health aligned; constantly shifting schedules would likely cause even more lawsuits from anyone who purchased flights, hotels, etc. in anticipation of the postponed event. Moreover, mandatory disclosure of every muscle strain or sniffle could alter the competitive landscape and deprive fans of the thrilling moments when athletes overcome injuries to achieve victory.
 
As In re Pacquiao illustrates, sports fans have no right to a certain quality of performance, and those who set expectations for the outcome of sports do so at their own peril. Buying a ticket gives you the legal right to get into the arena, but the law can’t guarantee a game or match that leaves all fans satisfied.
 
About the Authors: Gregory M. Smith and Sam Fogas
 
Gregory M. Smith is a business trial attorney and Sam G. Fogas is a civil litigation attorney at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this article, contact Gregory Smith at gsmith@maloneyfirm.com and sfogas@maloneyfirm.com.
 
[1] Bowers v. Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, 489 F.3d 316 (7th Cir. 2007). [2] Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2010).

Legal Malpractice Deadlines and Dilemmas

By Patrick Maloney and Sam Fogas, The Maloney Firm, APC
Legal Malpractice
 
Absent extenuating circumstances, the one-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice actions begins to run at the time the client suffers harm and either discovers or through reasonable diligence should have discovered facts concerning the attorney’s neglect. But in a recently published decision, the California Court of Appeal seems to hold that the statute of limitations may in some circumstances run even before the client has suffered any appreciable out of pocket loss.
 
The Statute of Limitations Clock Starts Before the Harm
 
In October 2019, the California Court of Appeal muddied when the statute of limitations begins to run when the Court published Sharon v. Porter (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 1. Elise Sharon (“Sharon”) had been awarded a default judgment in the amount of $17,846.55—despite her attorney Peter Porter’s (“Porter”) failure to plead monetary damages in the Complaint. Compounding the problem, the judgment debtor never paid the default judgment amount.
 
Sharon eventually hired a new attorney to recover the $17,846.55. Sharon’s new attorney spoke with Porter, and both agreed that the default judgment was likely void for failure to seek specific monetary damages in the initial Complaint. When the new attorney attempted to recover the default judgment from the judgment debtor more than a year after that discussion, the judgment debtor moved to vacate the judgment. The court ultimately granted the motion, holding the default judgment was void because the complaint did not plead damages. Having now suffered the loss of her judgment, Sharon sued Porter for legal malpractice for failing to plead monetary damages in the original case.
 
Porter immediately moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the period to bring a legal malpractice claim had lapsed. The trial court disagreed, and Porter appealed. In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeal held that the client had suffered actual harm sufficient to start the statute of limitations when the void judgment was entered, not when it was vacated. Thus, because over one year had passed since Sharon became aware that the judgment was likely void (i.e., through her attorney’s communications with Porter), and because Sharon failed to file a legal malpractice claim within a year of those communications, Sharon’s suit was time-barred by the statute of limitations.
 
Viability of Legal Malpractice Claims Will Require Greater Initial Investigation Going Forward
 
Going forward, attorneys will have to conduct greater due diligence with respect to potential clients with legal malpractice claims, investigating what the potential client knew and when. If the client suspects legal malpractice more than a year prior to filing his or her legal malpractice suit, the statute of limitations may have passed and the client may no longer has a viable claim, regardless of when the client suffered appreciable harm.
 
About the Authors: Patrick Maloney and Sam Fogas
 
The founding shareholder of The Maloney Firm, APC, Mr. Maloney represents attorneys and clients in disputes over legal fees and legal malpractice. Mr. Fogas is a civil litigation attorney at The Maloney Firm, APC. If you have questions regarding this article, contact Patrick Maloney at pmaloney@maloneyfirm.com and sfogas@maloneyfirm.com.
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