Flake v. Neumiller & BeardsleeAnnotate this Case
Former counsel moved to withdraw from representing a client, alleging another attorney had agreed to handle (and was already handling) postjudgment motions, and that the other attorney would also handle the appeal of an adverse judgment. The client sued former counsel for malpractice more than one year after the motion to withdraw was made, but less than one year after the motion was granted. The question this case presented for the Court of Appeal's review was whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment to former counsel based on the one-year statute of limitation provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 340.61 on the ground that the client could not have had an objectively reasonable expectation that former counsel was continuing to represent him after the motion to withdraw had been served. The Court concluded the trial court was correct in granting summary judgment. "Once the former counsel told the client, via the motion to withdraw, that the case had already been handed off to another attorney, the client was on notice that former counsel was no longer working for him. . . . because this lawsuit was filed more than one year after that time, no triable issue of fact remains as to the statute of limitation defense."