Lawyers in Louisiana have a sweet deal. If a lawyer is guilty of malpractice he or she cannot be sued once three years goes by from the date of the alleged malpractice.

In most tort cases you have one year from the date of your injury or loss to file suit. In some cases it may be one year not from the date of the loss, but from the date you knew or should of known when the loss happened. For example, suppose you went to a doctor because of a chronic cough, but the doctor failed to diagnose that you had lung cancer that could have been treated. In general terms, and ignoring that there are special procedures in Louisiana you have to go through before suing a doctor, you would have one year from that appointment to sue the doctor. However, if you didn’t know he had missed the diagnosis until 2 years after the appointment when it was too late to operate on the cancer, then you might still be able to sue because you did know the malpractice had occurred.

Lawyers, on the other hand, have a special three year peremptory period in addition to the one-year limit to sue for malpractice. Peremptory in Louisiana means that you no longer have a right to sue regardless of the circumstances. So, if a lawyer examines the title to your new house and says everything is OK, you would have no right to sue 3 years later when you go to sell your house and it turns out there is a big IRS tax lien that was in place from the prior owner. The fact you did not know would be irrelevant.

No action for damages against any attorney at law duly admitted to practice in this state, any partnership of such attorneys at law, or any professional corporation, company, organization, association, enterprise, or other commercial business or professional combination authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the practice of law, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of an engagement to provide legal services shall be brought unless filed in a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue within one year from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect, or within one year from the date that the alleged act, omission, or neglect is discovered or should have been discovered; however, even as to actions filed within one year from the date of such discovery, in all events such actions shall be filed at the latest within three years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect. LSA R.S. 9:5605(A)