In this article, we will first review the development of the "actual injury" tolling provision in California, from its judicial adoption in 1971 to its legislative adoption in 1977. Second, we will explore the policies underlying the legal malpractice statute of limitation and the countervailing policies that may make delayed accrual or tolling desirable in situations involving simultaneous litigation. Third, we will examine case law applying the "actual injury" tolling provision to various fact situations and analyze potential legal solutions to the problem of defining "actual injury," including the doctrine of equitable tolling. Finally, we will demonstrate how the doctrine of equitable tolling could be applied to the facts in ITT Small Business Finance Corp. v. Niles and recommend adoption of the equitable tolling doctrine as a standard for resolving future cases concerning the "actual injury" tolling provision in legal malpractice actions.
Tyler T. Ochoa and Andrew Wilstrich,
Limitation of Legal Malpractice Actions: Defining Actual Injury and the Problem of Simultaneous Litigation
, 24 Sw. U. L. Rev. 1
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/facpubs/85