Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Supreme Court of New Jersey
October 26, 1992, Argued ; March 22, 1993, Decided
A-39 September Term 1992
[*487] [**461] This appeal requires the Court to decide when the statute of limitations begins to run on a legal-malpractice action. The trial court held that the six-year statute of limitations on plaintiff's malpractice claim had begun to run when the trial court decided [***2] against plaintiff in the underlying lawsuit. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the statute had started to run only after the appellate process had been completed in the underlying lawsuit. Grunwald v. Bronkesh, 254 N.J.Super. 530, 540, 604 A.2d 126 (1992). We granted certification, 130 N.J. 9, 611 A.2d 648 (1992), and now reverse.
Plaintiff, Abraham Grunwald, engaged the services of defendant Noah Bronkesh and his law firm, defendant Sills Cummis [*488] Zuckerman Radin Tischman Epstein and Gross (Sills Cummis), to negotiate an option agreement for the sale of certain real property in Atlantic City to Resorts International Hotel and Casino, Inc. (Resorts). Bronkesh prepared an option agreement and attached a contract of sale for Resorts' approval. Resorts signed the option agreement, but instead of initialing the attached contract to indicate acceptance of its form, Resorts signed the contract as well.
Grunwald alleges that Bronkesh did not ask Resorts why it had signed the sales agreement. Rather, Bronkesh advised Grunwald that by signing the agreement [***3] Resorts had entered into an enforceable contract to buy the property. Grunwald claims that in reliance on Bronkesh's advice, he bypassed another opportunity to develop the property. Resorts never exercised its option to buy the property.
Acting on Bronkesh's advice, Grunwald retained another law firm and in April 1984 sued Resorts for specific performance of the sale contract or, in the alternative, compensatory damages for breach of contract. On July 31, 1984, the Chancery Division held the sale agreement unenforceable because Resorts had not intended to purchase the property. The court also concluded that Grunwald had not acted reasonably in relying on Resorts' signature as evidencing its intent to be bound by the contract of sale.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
131 N.J. 483 *; 621 A.2d 459 **; 1993 N.J. LEXIS 55 ***
ABRAHAM GRUNWALD, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT, v. NOAH BRONKESH, ESQ., INDIVIDUALLY, AND SILLS BECK CUMMIS ZUCKERMAN RADIN & TISCHMAN A/K/A SILLS BECK CUMMIS ZUCKERMAN RADIN TISCHMAN EPSTEIN & GROSS, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, AND JOHN DOES 1 THRU 4, DEFENDANTS
Prior History: [***1] On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 254 N.J. Super. 530 (1992).
Disposition: Judgment reversed. The judgment of the Law Division is reinstated. No costs.
damages, discovery rule, legal-malpractice, statute of limitations, trial court, malpractice, Resorts, fault, advice, underlying action, cause of action, appeals, cases, accrued cause of action, limitations period, malpractice claim, malpractice action, appellate process, legal malpractice, underlying claim, discovers, six-year, accrues, lawsuit, patient, circumstances, diligence, tolled
Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, General Overview, Torts, Malpractice & Professional Liability, Attorneys, Procedural Matters, Civil Procedure, Tolling of Statute of Limitations, Discovery Rule, Time Limitations, Discovery & Disclosure, Healthcare Providers, Fiduciaries, Tolling, Remedies, Damages, Types of Damages, Compensatory Damages, Preclusion of Judgments, Estoppel, Judicial Estoppel, Judgments