Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court overruled prior precedent and held that the statute of limitations in a legal malpractice claim starts to run after the underlying case that gives rise to the malpractice action is resolved on appeal.
In this case, everyone agreed that the statute starts to run when the affected party knew or should have known that it had a legal malpractice claim against its trial counsel. The question was whether the party 'knows or should have known' at the time they lose the case at the trial level, or at the time the higher court affirmed the decision of the trial level.
Overruling prior precedent on the issue, the court held as follows: "We overrule Epstein and now hold that the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice action may be tolled until resolution on appeal of the underlying case if the client has not become aware of the injury prior to the decision on appeal. We find this rule comports with the discovery rule and effectuates the purpose of the statute of limitations."
The case is called Stokes-Craven Holding Corp., v. Scott L. Robinson and Johns on McKenzie & Robinson, LLC, and it is available here. The Legal Profession Blog has more information here. Professional Liability Matters has a comment here.