Shelden v. Grossman (Oct. 3, 2006, B184270) 2006 WL 2808155 [nonpublished opinion]

GMSR appellate lawyers Ted Xanders and Robin Meadow were responsible for the victory in this legal malpractice/fraud action against a law firm. The plaintiff alleged that the firm had helped its client, the plaintiff’s stepfather, to induce the plaintiff’s mother to leave all her property to the stepfather instead of to the plaintiff (either directly or by way of a trust for her benefit after her stepfather’s death). Although the case involved interesting questions of a will-drafter’s duty to third-party beneficiaries and collateral estoppel, the Court of Appeal didn’t reach those questions because it unanimously held that the action was barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff’s mother died in 1985, the plaintiff executed a release in favor of the stepfather and his lawyers in 1993, and the plaintiff didn’t sue until 2000. The plaintiff claimed that she did not suffer injury until the stepfather’s death in 1999, asserting that it might have been possible that he could have remedied the alleged wrong by then conveying her supposed inheritance to her. Robin wrote and argued the defendants’ successful demurrer in the trial court, and Ted wrote the successful respondent’s brief in the Court of Appeal.