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Argued January 2, 2001

This case raises the question whether the shorter two-year statute of limitations under N.J.S.A. 2A:14-2, instead of the six-year limitations period under N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1 usually applied to legal-malpractice actions, should pertain to a claim of legal malpractice allegedly committed by defense counsel in the context of a criminal prosecution. The Appellate Division raised the question sua sponte. On this record, as the Appellate Division found, it matters not which statute of limitations applies because under either a two-year or six-year period, plaintiff’s action was untimely. McGrogan v. Till, 327 N.J. Super. 595, 603 (App. Div. 2000). The Appellate Division nonetheless addressed the question whether the shorter statute of limitations should apply. The court commented that legal malpractice occurring in the context of a criminal prosecution causes primarily personal injury; economic injuries are “incidental to and flow from the personal injury caused by a criminal prosecution, including disrepute in the community.” Id. at 604-05. Citing to Montells v. Haynes, 133 N.J. 282 (1993), for the proposition that the nature of the injury is determinative of which statute of limitations applies, the Appellate Division held that the two-year limitations period in N.J.S.A. 2A:14-2 for “injury to the person” should govern. McGrogan, supra, 327 N.J. Super. at 603.

We granted certification, 165 N.J. 132 (2000), and now affirm the judgment of the Appellate Division substantially for the reasons expressed in the opinion below except as modified in respect of the applicable statute of limitations. We hold that a single statute of limitations controls the timeliness of all legal-malpractice actions, irrespective of the specific injuries that are asserted. We hold further that the six-year limitations period set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1, which has applied heretofore to claims of legal malpractice, continues to govern those actions.

 
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