Construction / Commercial Litigation / Business & Employment Law

Woolford Kanfer Obtains Reversal of Trial Court on Statute of Limitations Issue

A panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently issued a unanimous decision in favor of a developer represented by Woolford Kanfer in a lawsuit alleging malpractice by an attorney. The developer had filed suit against an attorney it hired to protect its interests in a complex refinancing of debt that was used to pay for construction of a college building. The developer alleges that the lawyer made several mistakes in connection with the refinance causing the developer to incur greater costs.

On behalf of the developer, Woolford Kanfer filed a professional negligence lawsuit against the lawyer. Before trial was even scheduled, a county judge of the Court of Common Pleas granted the lawyer’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the developer’s lawsuit ruling that the lawsuit was barred by the two-year statute of limitations applicable to professional negligence actions. The county judge’s ruling was appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. That court reversed the trial court’s ruling and found that the trial court should have allowed the jury to determine when the developer knew or should have known it had a claim for negligence against the attorney. The Superior Court issued a 15-page opinion in which the judges explained that the trial judge overstepped his bounds by deciding for itself when the cause of action accrued rather than allowing the jury to make that determination. The case was remanded back to the Court of Common Pleas with instructions to the judge that he allow the jury to decide whether the lawsuit was brought within the statute of limitations.

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