Careful Breakdown of Statute of Limitations

Introduction: Today’s article is very easy. It relates to the amount of time that a person has to sue. In English it is called “SOL” or “Statute of Limitations.” A person that runs past the Statute of Limitations will generally not be able to sue absent the judge’s approval. As such, careful understanding of the typical deadlines are crucial to your lawsuit.

Question: Dear Mr. Cheng, recently I was involved in a breach of written contract. The person signed a contract with me and then refused to pay me. 1 year and $100,000.00 later I was told by the judge thatsince the contract was five years ago I lost my case. I am totally confused. If I could not sue in the first place why would the attorney even take it? Do you have any advice? Sandy – Sacramento

Answer: Dear Sandy, this case is a typical statute of limitations problem. Breach of written contracts only allow one to sue for up to four years. If you file the lawsuit after four years, the judge can deny your case at anytime. Unfortunately, I do not know why the attorney previously took the case. However, the judge is right.

The following is quick synopsis of the most typical causes of action and the statute of limitations that apply to them. Note that statute of limitations usually begins to run from the date of the incident unless otherwise specified below. For instance, for child abuse it is not 8 years from the incident but 8 years from the date of discovery of psychological illness.

Assault and Battery: 2 years; Child Abuse: 8 years after discovery psychological illness or after the age of 18; Breach of Oral Contract: 2 years; Discrimination in wages: 2 years; Willful discrimination in wages: 3 years; Domestic violence: 3 years; False Imprisonment: 1 year; Payment of forged or false checks: 1 year; Relief for fraud: 3 years; Breach of oral lease of property: 2 years; Breach of written lease of real property: 4 years; Libel and Slander: 1 years; Nullification of marriage: 4 years; Mechanic’s lien: 90 days; Medical malpractice: 1 year; Personal injury: 2 years; Personal injury from a defect in patent: 4 years; Taking of personal property: 3 years; Trespass or injury to real property: 3 years; Tax refund: 90 days; Errors on title by a title insurance policy: 2 years; Will contest: 120 days after admission into probate; Worker’s compensation for medical disability or death benefits: 1 year; wrongful death: 1 year; Wrongful death from patent deficiency in construction: 4 years; Sexual battery: 2 years; Stalking: 2 years; Malicious Prosecution: 2 years; Interference with another’s business enterprise: 2 years; FalseAdvertising: 3 years; Real estate agent liability to broker for intentional nondisclosure of material facts related to the property: 3 years from the date of discovery of the intentional act; Broker liability to prospective purchaser for failure to inspect and disclose facts that would affect the value of the property: 2 years; Trademark infringement: 2 years; Injuries received by most animals (including pets): 1 year; Actions against the government: 6 months after they governmental formally denies your administrative claim; Parental liability for children’s torts: 1 year; Premises liability: 2 years; Intentional infliction of Emotional distress: 2 years; Negligent infliction of Emotional distress: 2 years from the time severe emotional distress results; Dental malpractice: 1 year after discovery of the injury or three after the date of injury, whichever occurs earlier; Latent deficiency in construction defect: 10 years

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