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DECISIONS DECISIONS LEGAL PROFESSION although an appellate court reversed the dismissal of a suit on statute-of-limitations grounds, a trial court erred in dismissing a legal malpractice action against the lawyer involved, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held on May 30. McBarron v. Lenahan, No. 01-P-949. Bridget and Charles McBarron retained William Lenahan to represent them in a dispute over toxic damage to their property. After a trial court dismissed their suit on statute-of-limitations grounds, the McBarrons sued Lenahan for legal malpractice. After an appellate court reversed the dismissal of the McBarrons’ original suit, the parties settled. Lenahan moved for dismissal of the legal malpractice action, which a trial court granted. The McBarrons appealed, arguing that, regardless of the reinstatement of their suit, they were still damaged by Lenahan’s alleged malpractice. Reversing, the appeals court rejected Lenahan’s argument that, since the suit was reinstated, there was no cause of action. The court said, “The defendant’s argument also ignores the plaintiffs’ central contention in their malpractice action: that, regardless of the ultimate determination of the statute of limitations question [in] the tort action, uncertainty over the timeliness of their complaint caused them to accept a lower settlement than they could have achieved had there been no statute of limitations issue.”

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