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LEGAL MALPRACTICE / FRAUD - TOLLING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS - JETT V. WOOTEN

Jett v. Wooten, [Ms. 1110731, Sept. 14, 2012] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2012). Ms. Jett hired attorney James Wooten to file two personal injury actions. He sent demand letters to both defendants, but they denied liability. According to Wooten, he informed Jett that he had decided not to file the claims because of the weakness of the liability evidence. Jett, however, stated that Wooten had assured her: "Oh, I filed things; don't worry about it; everything is going to be fine; you know me, you know me; I filed." Approximately a year after the statute of limitations had run on both claims, Jett was in the courthouse on another matter and discovered that neither case had been filed. She filed her action nineteen months later. Wooten argued that, because her injury accrued when the statute of limitations expired on the underlying claims, she had two years from that date to file a legal services liability claim, and that any assurances he might have made to her did not trigger the tolling provision of ¤ 6-2-3, because she still had a year left to file the legal services liability claim when she allegedly discovered his fraud. The Court disagreed, holding that she had two years from the date of discovery pursuant to ¤ 6-2-3, even though at that time there was still a year left on the LSLA statute of limitations.
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