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Reduced Statute of Limitations

The problem:  Minnesota’s general Statute of Limitations is six years, the longest time period in the country in which to bring a claim for damages.  Having such a long statute of limitations discourages businesses from coming to or growing in Minnesota.

 

All civil claims are subject to statutes of limitations, basically a legal “countdown” beginning when someone is injured.  When the time expires, a claim can no longer be brought.  As time passes from an alleged harm to the filing of a claim, defending the claim becomes more difficult.  Witnesses become difficult to locate or pass away, records are lost or discarded, and memories fade.  The ordinary “he said/she said” of litigation can turn into a one-sided allegation by a plaintiff that an event happened because the person says it happened.  The defendant often lacks the ability to appear or disprove the allegation.  Statutes of limitations provide predictability by allowing businesses to accurately gauge their potential liability and make financial and insurance coverage decisions accordingly.

 

Minnesota’s statute of limitations is excessive and out of the mainstream as it allows plaintiffs’ lawyers to sit-on claims for years longer than would be permitted in other state courts.  This places businesses at a disadvantage in defending against the allegations.  Thirty-two states have a statute of limitations for consumer fraud actions of three years or less:  1 year: AL, AZ, LA, OR, TN, WY.  2 years: AK, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, MT, NJ, OH, OK, SD, TX, UT, VA, WV.  3 years: CO, CT, DE, DC, IL, MD, MS, NV, NH, SC, WI.

Only seven states apply a statute of limitations to consumer fraud actions as long as Minnesota.

 

The solution:  We support legislation to lower Minnesota’s general statute of limitations to four years.

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