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COA utilizes visual aid in legal malpractice case

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It is not very often that a COA opinion incorporates a visual aid. We see it few and far between, usually with an attached plat or map in a real estate case. The COA issued an opinion yesterday, however, in Nagle v Hertz Schram (Docket 320137), which inserts an image of the actual attorney invoices directly into the body of the COA opinion. So while normally the Court would spend a lot of time describing what the invoice looks like, here they were able to using fewer words because the reader of the opinion received the full impact of the documentary evidence in the opinion. And for those of you who are interested, the issue on appeal was whether plaintiffs filed their suit within the two statute of limitation, which turned on whether the law firm continued to represent the case by doing work for them (and billing it) after the date that the representation allegedly ended. The Court of Appeals held, based in part on these invoices, that the law firm's representation continued. The Court of Appeals cited Supreme Court authority for the proposition that a legal malpractice case begins to accrue "on the last day of professional service.” Gebhardt v O’Rourke, 444 Mich 535, 543; 510 NW2d 900 (1994). If the tasks performed were merely ministerial, then they don't count against defendant for accrual. But here the Court of Appeals concluded that the law firm's argument that the tasks were ministerial were directly counter to the exhibits (the invoices) the firm provided in the lawsuit.

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