The First Appellate District, in Connelly v. Bornstein, adds to the line of cases holding that a malicious prosecution action against an attorney is governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6(a). That section imposes a one-year statute of limitations for actions “against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services.”
The result is contrary to the statute of limitation applicable to other litigants of a malicious prosecution claim. Other litigants are subject to the more general two-year statute of limitation set forth at Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, applicable to injury to a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.
The California Supreme Court holds that where a plaintiff’s injury results from alleged negligence in the use and maintenance of equipment needed to implement a physician’s order concerning plaintiff’s medical treatment, the claim sounds in professional, rather than ordinary, negligence. The special statute of limitations period “for injury or death against a health care provider based upon such person’s alleged professional negligence” is applicable.
Generally, a personal injury action generally must be filed within two years of the date on which the challenged act or omission occurred. [Code Civ. Proc., § 335.1.] However, unlike most personal injury actions, professional negligence actions against health care providers must be brought within “three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.” [Code Civ. Proc., § 340.5.]
The facts of any particular case for personal injury against a health care provider will determine whether the statute of limitations is lengthened, or shortened, by this holding. The case is Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.