Under Code of Civil Procedure section 411.35, the plaintiff in a malpractice suit against an architect, engineer or surveyor must file and serve a certificate of merit on the defendant on or before the date of service of the complaint on that defendant. The certificate of merit must state that the plaintiff’s attorney consulted with a person licensed in the same profession as the defendant and the consulted professional thought there was reasonable merit in the suit. This decision holds that if the plaintiff fails to file and serve the certificate of merit with the complaint or within the statute of limitations (plus 60 days allowed if, to avoid a limitations bar, suit must be filed before the consultation can occur), the suit is barred. The doctrine allowing later amendments of the complaint to relate back to the filing date of the original complaint cannot save the suit if the certificate is not served until after the limitations period has expired.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division One (Nares, J.); October 23, 2017; 2017 WL 4769086.