Knopick v. Connelly, No. 10-1589 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The defendants (Connelly firm) represented plaintiff in his divorce until July 2005. In July 2006 plaintiff consulted attorney, Downey, who notified the Connelly firm of a malpractice claim in October. In March 2007 plaintiff signed an agreement to file suit, but Downey did not file. In February 2008 Downey notified the plaintiff that he was terminating representation and stated that the limitations period on the malpractice claim ran out before Downey began representation. In 2009 plaintiff filed a malpractice suit against the Connelly firm, under a contract theory, and against Downey. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of all defendants. The Third Circuit reversed and remanded claims against Downey, applying the "discovery rule" rather than the occurrence rule to negligence by the Connelly firm. Although plaintiff knew that certain witnesses were not called during a 2004 hearing, he claims that he relied on the firm's assurances and did not have constructive notice of negligence until a July 2005 hearing. The question of when the limitations period began to run was for a jury.