FKB successfully obtained CPLR § 3211 pre-answer dismissal in the Supreme Court, New York County of a legal malpractice claim as barred by the statute of limitations. In the underlying case, FKB’s client represented a utilities company in a high exposure premises liability claim in which the client’s answer was stricken for failing to produce discovery. The utilities company subsequently terminated the law firm, and then filed a lawsuit seeking to recover its entire uninsured loss.
In its pre-answer motion to dismiss, FKB successfully argued that the action was time-barred, as the statute of limitations began to accrue when the Plaintiff directed FKB’s client to transfer its legal file to successor counsel. The Court (Justice W. Franc Perry) was also persuaded by FKB’s arguments concerning the Plaintiff’s culpable conduct (the utilities company failed to provide FKB’s client documents it needed to produce in discovery) and the Plaintiff’s failure to plead the proximate causation element of its legal malpractice claim because it lacked a meritorious defense to the underlying action.