Kelly v. Orr - Appeals Court Holds that One-Year Statute of Limitations for Professional Negligence is Tolled and does not run until the date Counsel for the Predecessor Trustee ceased Representation.

Plaintiff, James C. Kelly, as trustee of the Beverly Snodgrass Clark Inter Vivos 1999 Separate Property Trust (Trust), sued Barbara J. Orr, Joseph Holland, Gretchen Shaffer, and DLA Piper LLP (US) (Defendants) for professional negligence in relation to legal advice they provided to his predecessor trustee of the Trust.  The Defendants demurred on statute of limitations grounds under Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6, arguing that the action was pursued more than one-year after the date the alleged act occurred during the legal representation of the former trustee and thus the action is time-barred.  The demur was granted at the trial court level without leave to amend.  Kelly then filed a timely appeal.  On appeal, the lower court’s ruling was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The Court of Appels held that because Kelly filed suit less than one-year after the Defendants ceased representation of the predecessor trustee, his action is not time-barred.  The Appellate Court found Defendants represented the predecessor trustee in her capacity as trustee and not as an individual and therefore the successor trustee could sue counsel for the former trustee.