29
Mar2017

Statute of Limitations Misunderstanding Leads to Legal Malpractice

A Louisiana man is suing a Texas law firm and two of its partners for failing to timely pursue workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims related to injuries sustained by the man while working on an oil rig.

On April 16, 2014, Glenn Price suffered injuries while working on an offshore oil rig in Louisiana and has been unable to return to work. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Price hired Gordon, Elias & Seely and its partners Jeff Seely and R. Todd Elias to pursue claims related to Mr. Price’s injury.

On April 15, 2015, Seely advised Mr. Price that a three-year, and not a one-year, statute of limitations applied to his claim because of where Mr. Price’s injury occurred. The firm then waited until September 9, 2016 to initiate an action on behalf of Mr. Price in a Louisiana District Court. On November 8, 2016, the court dismissed the case.

On January 17, 2017, Seely wrote to Mr. Price and advised that the firm’s “misunderstanding about the facts of the case” led Seely to the wrong conclusion about the applicable statute of limitations on Mr. Price’s claim. Seely encouraged Mr. Price to seek legal advice as to the firm’s mistake and a potential legal malpractice case against Seely’s firm.

It is unlikely that an attorney will admit his or her mistake to a client and then invite the client to explore the possibility of a legal malpractice claim. Failing to identify a proper statute of limitations and taking timely action may constitute legal malpractice.  If you believe that you have a legal malpractice claim against your former attorney, you can contact the Patterson Law Firm to discuss how we can help you.