Articles Tagged with Statute of Limitations

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stop-this-watch-487816-mIn October of 2011, a pregnant Maureen Ogiemwonyi was taken to North Shore Medical Center for delivery of her baby.  During the ceasarean section that was performed, Ms. Ogiemwonyi was caused to sustain serious and severe personal injuries.  She brought suit against two doctors and the health care facility alleging medical malpractice.  Because one of the doctors was a federal employee, acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the alleged misconduct, the case was transferred to federal district court.  Additionally, because the doctor was a federal employee, the United States was added to the case as an additional defendant in the matter.  Thereafter, the Defendant moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Plaintiff, through her attorney, failed to comply with strict notice requirements in federal court.

Similar to the requirements in Massachusetts, in order to bring a tort action against the United States, a party seeking redress must timely provide notice of his or her claims in writing to the administrative body (agency) in which he or she is claiming is ultimately responsible for the alleged wrongful conduct.  Once this notice is sent to the appropriate agency, a party must wait six months prior to filing suit in federal district court.  This allows for the federal agency to make an attempt to resolve a potentially costly claim, and to do a thorough investigation of the matter in which there are allegations of liability.  Under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2401:

A tort claim against the United States shall be forever barred unless it is presented in writing to the appropriate Federal agency within two years after such claim accrues or unless action is begun within six months after the date of mailing, by certified or registered mail, of notice of final denial of the claim by the agency to which it was presented.

If the administrative body fails to make a denial in writing, the absence of a denial can be taken as a “constructive” denial for purposes of a party bringing forward his or her case.  While a party must wait six months for the denial of a claim, another clock starts to the tick:  the time in which a party has to file suit. Continue reading →

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stop-this-watch-487816-mAccording to Black’s Law Dictionary, a Statute of Limitations is defined as a time frame set by legislation where affected parties need to take action to enforce rights or seek redress after injury of damage. Put another way, a claimant does not have until the end of time to pursue a cause of action for injury or damages sustained by that person. The result would be catastrophic as evidence erodes over time, memories fade, and the ability to effectively pursue a claim diminishes with each passing day. As a result, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has set standards by which a claimant can pursue certain causes of action. These standards limit the time in which a person may file his or her claim in the proper court.

While various areas of the law have different statutes of limitations attached to them, under Massachusetts General Laws C. 260, § 2A:

“Except as otherwise provided, actions of tort, actions of contract to recover for personal injuries, and actions of replevin, shall be commenced only within three years next after the cause of action accrues.” Continue reading →

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under-construction-1268302-mOn May 31 2005, Tom Filepp was riding his bicycle on Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts when he had an unfortunate accident due to the condition of the pavement. Specifically, he was pedaling his bicycle and encountered a “rut” in the pavement that caused his bicycle, and him, to turn over. Mr. Filepp suffered serious and severe personal injuries as a result. He promptly provided notice to the City of Brookline of the injuries he sustained. Subsequently, it was discovered that the Boston Gas Company was the responsible party as the corporation created the defect in pavement that caused Mr. Filepp’s accident.

Mr. Filepp was forced to file suit against the Boston Gas Company for claims predicated on negligence. The Defendant corporation asked the court to dismiss the case arguing that there were no material facts in dispute that rise to a triable level, and as a result, the Defendant should be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Defendant argued that Mr. Filepp, the Plaintiff, failed to give notice to the Defendant within 30 days of his accident. Under Massachusetts General Laws c. 84, § 18, a person injured due to a defect on a public way must send notice within thirty days after the injury to the, “county, city, town or person by law obliged to keep said way in repair.” As a result, because the Plaintiff failed to notify the Boston Gas Company, the organization obliged by law to maintain the parcel of land, the court dismissed Plaintiff’s case. Plaintiff appealed.  Continue reading →