Vol. 2NS (New Series), Issue 1 January, 1999


By definition, statutes of limitations are specific landmark dates, or "deadlines", by which an act or 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 limitation, like aircraft landings, are mandatory. Some of the most common limitations include:
Notice of Construction Claim – Contract Terms

Demand for Arbitration – Contract Terms

Constr.Defects (After Damage Ensues) 4yrs.

Constr.Defects (After Completion) - Claims Against Archts, Engrs., Contractors 15 yrs.

Notice of Furnishing, Miller Act Liens 21days

Mechanic’s Liens, Ohio statutes 75 days

Mech. Liens, Residential 60 days

Answer to Complaint: Federal Court 20 days

State Court 28 days

Appeal from Judgment or Order 30 days

Zoning 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 mo.

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 come within 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."

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Author:  J. NORMAN STARK is an Attorney-at-Law, a Registered Architect, (AIA, NCARB) Registered Landscape Architect, Interior Designer, Planner and Senior Appraiser (ASA), admitted to practice law before the Bar of Ohio, the US District Courts, Ohio and Illinois (Central Dist.), the US Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has had experience in business, Construction, Real Property, Litigation and Construction-Legal Project and Crisis Management.


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