By definition, statutes of limitations are specific landmark dates, or “deadlines”, by which an act or legal action must be initiated, or it will be forever barred at law. Other deadlines missed may merely impose fines or penalties for lateness. Ominous though it may sound, such cutoffs, including response dates, are essential to an orderly business society and economy, and necessary to provide finality and closure to certain events and claims. Such limitations must not be confused with specific, mandatory filing deadlines for income tax returns, and auto and driver’s license renewals, each of which may carry only monetary penalties for lateness.
Statutes of limitations, like aircraft landings, are mandatory. Some of the most common limitations include:
Notice of Construction Claim Contract Terms
Demand for Arbitration Contract Terms
Construction Defects (After Damage Ensues) 4 yrs
Construction Defects (After completion) – Claims Against Archts, Engrs., Contractors 15 yrs
Notice of Furnishing, Miller Act Liens 21 days
Mechanic’s Liens, Ohio statutes 75 days
Mechanic’s Liens, Residential 60 days
Answer Complaint: Federal Court 20 days
Answer Complaint: State Court 28 days
Appeal from Judgment or Order 30 days
Zoning Board Appeals 30 days
Complaint for Injunctive Relief 7 days
Summary Judgment Motions 30 days
Probate Claims Against Estate 1 year
Malpractice/Professional Negligence 1 year
Wrongful Death Claims 1 year
Motions for Relief from Judgment 1 year
Personal Injury, Property Damage 2 yrs
Worker’s Compensation Claims 2 yrs
Occupational Disease Claims 6 mos
Negligence 4 yrs
Tort Claims 4 yrs
Oral Contract Claims 6 yrs
Written Contract Claims 15 yrs
Importantly, many limitations, stated in a number of days, include weekend days and holidays in such calculations, necessitating early action or filing, to comply with certain deadlines imposed. This may be significant, especially where the controlling date occurs on a holiday, when the Court or agency is closed and will not receive, file, or consider such matters. In many other instances, the time limitations, not unlike a timer, begin to run on the date a judgment or determination is made, filed, or published.
In some limited instances, there may be an express statutory savings clause, providing that where the filing deadline occurs on a weekend or holiday, such filing will be permitted on the next regular business day.
There is insufficient space here to point out or explain important considerations, or even specific qualifications that may apply to each deadline imposed by law. However, it is essential to obtain competent professional assistance, legal counsel and advice, early, without delay, and to assert all claims timely or, in the significant words of statutory construction : “.be forever barred.”
Laws, like houses, lean on one another.
Edmund Burke (1729-97) Irish philosopher, statesman.