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Please be advised: Last week, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 13, and the bill was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. For those unfamiliar with the legislation, S.B.13 would establish “a statute of repose” for malpractice action against attorneys in the state, similar to the time limit protections already afforded to physicians, nurses and most licensed professionals who practice in Ohio.
When fully in place, S.B. 13 would require legal malpractice actions to be brought within four years of the legal act.
The statue of repose is in addition to the statute of limitations which requires a suit be filed within one year of the date of discovery of the alleged malpractice. In other words, it would be a four-year limit regardless of when the alleged malpractice is discovered.
OSBA backs passage
The Ohio State Bar Association is urging passage of the bill, and its representatives testified before the Senate in support of it – both in the previous 133rd Session of the General Assembly, when it was proposed as an amendment to House Bill 251, and in its current form in the 134th Session.
The OSBA said, “Senate Bill 13 would generally require that an action for legal malpractice be brought within four years of the legal act. Current law allows for a claim of legal malpractice to be made against a lawyer any time after he or she retires for the rest of his or her life, and up to one year after he or she dies. A statute of repose puts an absolute end to a lawyer’s exposure to a legal malpractice claim.
“Other Ohio professionals have a statute of repose – architects, engineers, doctors, podiatrists, registered nurses, dentists, orthodontists, optometrists, chiropractors, among others. Lawyers in other states have a statute of repose, especially other states with the discovery rule, where statute of limitations for malpractice are based on discovery of a problem.”
See the full text of the OSBA’s prepared testimony in support of S.B. 13, and the statute of repose details, at this link. Read more about the OSBA’s take on the bill at the OSBA Legislative Priorities page. See full details of the bill on the Ohio Legislature site at this link.
Statute of Repose – Vested and Non-vested claims
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a statute of repose applies to both vested and non-vested alleged malpractice claims. For a full discussion of a statute of repose, see Antoon et. Al. v. Cleveland Clinic Foundation 148 Ohio St. 3rd 483, 2016-Ohio-7432, at http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2016/2016-ohio-7432.pdf
Ohio NAELA members in support of the legislation are urged to consider calling their State Representative to also urge passage of S.B. 13.
Use this form to Contact Ohio NAELA