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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

APL SOL: Contract or Tort?

Thursday, March 15, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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In 2011 client felt accountant performed poorly in evaluating the couple's business causing the judge to reject it and adopt the other spouse's valuation. Accountant sought SJ in the 2015 lawsuit on SOL grounds, given the state's three-year limit. Client defended by arguing the contract - not malpractice - SOL applied. The appeals court ruled to apply the contract statute client would have to show something in the engagement agreement that imposed a higher SOC than the malpractice (tort) SOC. It did not do so; in fact it was "replete with disclaimers and conditions." Claimants cannot avoid tort SOLs by labeling the claim contractual. As for client's claim the accountant SOL did not apply because he worked as a business valuation expert (which does not necessarily require an accountant) - not an accountant - the court refused to consider the argument as it had not been raised in the trial court.  See Stotsky-Hilman v. Dietrich, 2018 WL 1220761 (Mass. App. Mar. 9, 2018).    

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