Statute of Limitations

  • hoffman, june 2017 2
  • NAIC - Suitability Paper - Legal Case - Hawaii?

The purpose of a statute of limitations is to prevent a defendant from “defending stale claims, where factual obscurity through the loss of time, memory or supporting documentation may present unfair handicaps,” as well as to incentivize a plaintiff to diligently pursue their claim. Fox v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., 35 Cal. 4th 797, 806 (2005) (citations omitted).

Plaintiff asserts seven causes of actions: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) violations of the Unfair Settlement Practice Act; (4) bad faith; (5) unfair competition under Business and Professional Code §§ 17200 et seq.; (6) constructive fraud; and (7) fraud. The Court will establish the dates in which all of Plaintiff’s causes of actions accrued based on his receipt of the check and letter in February 1998. However, Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to tolling of his claims on the basis of the delayed discovery rule, which the Court will discuss in further detail below.

Breach of contract is a state claim governed by California Code of Civil Procedure §337(1). Under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 337(1), the statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim is four years from the date of accrual. Thus, Plaintiff’s last day to bring a cause of action for breach of contract was in February 2002. Breach of fiduciary duty has a statute of limitations of three years. City of Vista v. Robert Thomas Sec., Inc., 84 Cal. App. 4th 882, 889 (2000). Accordingly, the last day for Plaintiff to bring this claim was February 2001.

The statute of limitations that governs Plaintiff’s fourth cause of action, bad faith, is California Code of Civil Procedure § 339(1). Under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 339(1), the statute of limitations expires two years after the cause of action accrues. Thus, Plaintiff’s
last day to bring a cause of action for bad faith was in February 2000.

The statute of limitations that governs Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action, unfair competition, is California Business and Professional Code § 17208. Under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17208, the statute of limitations for unfair competition expires four years from
the time the cause of action accrues. Thus, Plaintiff’s last day to bring a cause of action for unfair competition was in February 2002.

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