Randallstown, MD asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for Maryland

Q: What are the exceptions to the 3 year requirement for filing a law suit for breech of contract?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: (1) the word, "seal" appears on, near or under th signature of the person signing the contract, which extends th SOL to 12 years in Maryland.

(2) the contract specifies a different SOL.

(3) the party suing is or was under a disability during the time the SOL was running, which tolls (stops the running) of the SOL during the period of the disability. Disability generally refers to mental or legal incompetency. Mental incompetency is a matter of medical/psychiatric expert proof. An example of legal incompetency is a person under the age of 18, for whom the SOL does not begin to run until they reach their 18th birthday.

(4) the SOL has been tolled by legislative or judicial decree during the relevant time period. This happened in Maryland in 2020, when Maryland's highest court closed the courts for 126 days, and issued an Administrative Order (available on the court's web page) tolling all SOL's then running for that period. As a consequence, if you had a viable claim and the 126 day toll period fell within the normal 3 year SOL period for your claim, then your claim is extended for filing by the same 126 days. The Court of Appeals added another 15 days to that period for SOL's falling due within the 126 days the courts were closed, but it is a matter of dispute whether that additional 15 days is added to the 126 day period for SOLs that otherwise would have expired after the date courts re-opened in 2020.

(5) Payment on the contract debt: if the contrct calls for payment of money, and the person charged with the obligation to make payment pays any amont of the amount due, then the SOL begins to run from that date even if the date of the last payment made is more than 3 years afer the contract was originally breached. So, for example, if someone defaults on their credit card bill, and 3-1/2 years passes since the date of default, but the debtor makes a payment toward the balance, the 3 year SOL is revived from the date that payment is made.

(6) Non-contractual remedies that exist outside the contract itself, or which arise under separate commercial code transactions having to do with goods and services. A non-contractual remedy, for instance, is fraud, for which the SOL begins to run from the date the fraud is discovered (or the date by which a reasonably diligent person should have discovered it, if sooner) by the suing party. Two common Commercial Code remedies that apply to contracts for the provision of goods or servies are: (a) breach of warranty, for which the code provides a 4 year SOL, which applies to breach of an implied warranty the goods are fit for the particular purpose for which they were sold; an (b) a contract secured by a promissory note, for which the SOL is 6 years to sue on the promissory note.

Other possibilities may arise based on the specific facts and circumstances of the contract itself and the nature of the breach. A lawyer would have to review the contract to provide a definitive answer.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.