New Jersey Statutes of Limitations for Business Disputes
September 6, 2017
What You Need To Know About New Jersey’s Statutes of Limitations for Common Business Disputes
To preserve your legal rights and claims, it is imperative to commence a business litigation within the applicable statute of limitations. Each state has enacted statutes prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain types of legal action, with the goal of putting adversaries on notice and encouraging the resolution of legal claims within a reasonable amount of time. Absent legal authority, courts are unable to extend the time for filing suit, often leaving tardy plaintiffs with limited legal remedies.
Below are a few examples of statutes of limitations that New Jersey businesses (and their owners) commonly encounter in commercial litigation:
- Breach of Contract: Six years for non-sales contracts and four years for contracts for the sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code.
- Tortious Interference with a Contract: Six years.
- Unjust Enrichment: Six years.
- Fraud: Six years. Claims under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act are also subject to a six-year statute of limitations.
- Negligence: Two years for personal injury claims and six years for property claims.
- Trade Secret Misappropriation: Six years.
The statute of limitations begins to run from the time when the plaintiff’s cause of action accrues, typically when the act or omission giving rise to the claim occurred. However, New Jersey has adopted the discovery rule, an equitable rule that delays the accrual of certain actions until the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, facts that form the basis of a cause of action or provide a basis for an actionable claim.
The legal doctrine known as “tolling” allows for the pausing or delaying of the running of the statute of limitations period until a specified legal event occurs. For example, when the claimant is a minor, certain statutes of limitations may be tolled until he or she reaches the age of majority. Parties can also agree to enter into a tolling agreement to delay the running of the statute of limitations.
Determining statutes of limitations that apply can be a complex task. Because time is of the essence when pursuing legal claims, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you suspect you may have a claim. Further, an experienced attorney should be consulted before entering into a tolling agreement relating to relevant claims.