Firm News

Cal. – The Continuous Representation Doctrine and Unilateral Withdrawal

By Will Jordan

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed a recent decision out of New York in which the court held that the tolling of the statute of limitations pursuant to the continuous representation doctrine ends when the client signs a consent substitution of counsel. What about when the attorney unilaterally withdraws from the representation or even abandons the client? The California Court of Appeals addressed that issue in a recent unpublished opinion. It wrote: “Where the attorney unilaterally withdraws or abandons the client, the representation ends [and the statute of limitations begins to run] when the client actually has or reasonably should have no expectation that the attorney will provide further legal services.” In the court’s view, “After a client has no reasonable expectation that the attorney will provide further legal services the client is no longer hindered by a potential disruption of the attorney-client relationship and no longer relies on the attorney’s continuing representation, so the tolling should end.”

Chargin v. Maynard, Ho39499 (Cal. Ct. App., May 5, 2015).

Read the full opinion here.