Germantown, MD asked in Consumer Law for Maryland

Q: Hello, I have an unsecured loan note from my brother wich is notorized back in 1998 with payoff date 2005.

Last page indicated"Witness our hands and seals "above signature line. Note was signed in WVA. My brother lender lived in NH back in 1998. Now he lives in MA and I live in MD. After 23 years he wants the loan 50k plus interest total 120k due to family feud.

Note: During last 23 years never asked for repay the loan. Neither I pay a penny of it. Because it meant to be gift loan with no repay.

Q1. He threaten to file lawsuit suit with a demand letter now. Is the statute of limitation is past long due?

Q2. If he file lawsuit which state he is allowed to do?

Appreciate your advice in this matter.

Thank you.

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

A: I am aware of no statute of limitations that would be as long as 23 years. In Maryland the SOL is three years. For a contract “under seal” like your promissory note, the SOL is extended to 12 years. However, Maryland law on this issue will not apply if the lender was in NH and the borrower signed it in WVA at the time it was made. You will have to check the SOLs in those states; however, I highly doubt the limitation periods would be as long as 23 years. You have a strong defense. Further, if he sues in Maryland you may still raise MDs SOL as a defense and argue the SOL is a procedural question that must be answered under the law in Maryland. If he sues you in MA where he lives, then there is the question of personal jurisdiction; if there is none, then Maryland courts will refuse to honor and enforce the judgment here were he to obtain one. Of course, if the SOL is a defense in MA (which it probably is) you could move to dismiss the case there.

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