D.C. Dist. Ct. – Judgmental Immunity Rule Protects Attorney Who Makes Tactical Decision on Forum
By Will Jordan
In the underlying case, the attorney filed suits on behalf of the client in both D.C. and Virginia. The suits were dismissed on statute of limitations grounds and the client brought a legal malpractice claim, alleging the attorney breached the standard of care by failing to file suit in Maryland where, at least in the client’s mind, the applicable statute of limitations would have been more favorable. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the attorney, noting that the applicability of the various statutes of limitations was an unsettled question of law and holding that the judgmental immunity rule “prohibits hindsight attacks that are based on unsettled legal questions about which reasonable attorneys could disagree.” Importantly, the court noted that the plaintiff did not create a genuine issue of fact that the attorney “failed to engage in a reasonable process” when exercising his professional judgment.
Rocha v. Brown & Gould, LLP, No. 14-1136 (RC) (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2015).
Read the full opinion here.