Motion to Dismiss Legal Malpractice Claim on Statute of Limitations Denied

The Northern District of Illinois denied Mudd Law Offices P.C.’s (“Mudd Law”) motion to dismiss Michael Koumjian’s complaint for legal malpractice. Koumjian v. Mudd Law Offices P.C., et al., 21-cv-3455 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 4, 2022). In the underlying case, Koumjian hired Mudd Law to sue his former employer for wrongful termination. Mudd Law took little action in pursuit of Koumjian’s rights. Ultimately, the attorney never filed a complaint, and the statute of limitations for Koumjian’s claims lapsed. Mudd Law then dropped Koumjian as a client, and Koumjian sued the firm for legal malpractice. Mudd Law moved to dismiss on the basis that the statute of limitations for legal malpractice had expired. In denying the motion, the court explained that the discovery rule applies to Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice. Thus, the limitations period begins to run “once an injured party has a reasonable belief that the injury was caused by wrongful conduct thereby creating an obligation to inquire further on that issue” and not at the time of “the attorney’s misapplication of his legal expertise.” Moreover, the court held that “there is nothing inherently obvious about the lapse of a statute of limitations, especially for a layperson.” The court determined that in the case at hand, the plaintiff did not allege any facts showing that he knew or should have known of the injury more than two years before he filed suit. Thus, the statute of limitations could not have lapsed.

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