Collins Einhorn attorneys Theresa M. Asoklis and Michael J. Cook successfully defended a complex, large damage, legal-malpractice case. After the trial court denied two motions for summary disposition, Asoklis and Cook obtained a rare grant of leave to appeal from the Court of Appeals. The appellate court then reversed, finding that the trial court should have granted summary disposition to the defendants based on the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The attorney represented the plaintiff in negotiating and drafting an employment contract. The agreement was fully executed by April 2010. But the plaintiff didn’t sue the attorney and his law firm until July 2014, after his employer terminated him without cause. The plaintiff demanded millions of dollars in damages.
Malpractice claims are subject to a two-year period of limitation. Since the defendants completed their work negotiating and drafting the employment agreement over four years before the plaintiff filed the lawsuit, they argued that the two-year accrual period had expired before suit was filed. The plaintiff argued that the defendants’ representation continued after the agreement was executed and also relied on the six-month discovery exception.
Though the trial court denied summary disposition, the Court of Appeals granted the defendants’ application for leave to appeal. And, after full briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion that reversed and ordered summary disposition for the defendants. The panel explained that, based on the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, the attorney was hired to negotiate the employment agreement and completed that representation when the agreement was executed. Services rendered by the attorney after the execution of the employment agreement did not extend the accrual date. And the discovery exception didn’t apply because the plaintiff admitted that he was aware of alleged errors in the agreement more than six months before he filed his complaint.
The Supreme Court denied plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal.