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Lawyer-Versus-Lawyer Malpractice Case Tossed Due to Filing Delay

July 19, 2022, 7:32 PM

An attorney who represented a fellow lawyer in selling a portion of his firm will avoid a malpractice action stemming from the dissolution, according to a Minnesota appeals court.

Mark Rodgers hired Ronald Carpenter and Carpenter & Wangberg PA to provide assistance on a variety of legal matters, including the sale of part of Rodgers’ firm. When that partnership didn’t work out and the firm dissolved, Rodgers sued Carpenter for legal malpractice in 2019.

The Beltrami County District Court dismissed the suit, finding that the six-year statute of limitations started to run in 2012 when Rodgers signed the sale contract.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed that decision Monday, rejecting Rodgers’ argument that the state’s supreme court precedent had it wrong.

“As this court must follow supreme court precedent, this argument is unpersuasive,” Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks wrote in the opinion.

The appeals court further found that the district court correctly applied the state’s “some damage” rule governing when the claim begins to accrue. “Some damage” occurred when Rodgers formed the contract with his former business partner, according to the ruling.

Judges Michelle A. Larkin and Francis J. Connolly joined in the decision.

Rodgers is represented by Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC. Carpenter is represented by Camrud, Maddock, Olson & Larson Ltd.

The case is Rodgers v. Carpenter, Minn. Ct. App., No. A22-0008, 7/18/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com