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Superior Court Holds Date-of-Discovery Rule Does Not Toll Statute of Limitations in Legal Malpractice Action When Evidence Indicates Knowledge of Facts Relevant to Claim

Boerger v. Heiman, 2007 WL 3378667 (Del. Super. Oct. 31, 2007)

The three-year statute of limitations under 10 Del. C. § 8106, which begins to run at the time of the alleged breach in the case of a contract claim and at the time the injury occurs for a tort claim, may be tolled by, among other circumstances, the absence of observable factors that would place a layman on notice. This exception is called the date of discovery rule. When it applies, the statute of limitations begins to run when the defect is or should have been discovered.

In this legal malpractice action, the Superior Court held that the statute of limitations expired prior to the filing of the complaint and that it was not tolled because “multiple factors and plaintiff’s own statements indicate knowledge of the relevant facts which establish a potential claim . . . .” The plaintiff argued that the defendant attorneys fraudulently concealed his potential tax liability, but based on the evidence, the court concluded that the plaintiff should have discovered this fact, at the very least, by the time he hired an independent consultant who brought the matter to his attention. 

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