Key Topics:  Essential Terms | Oral Versus Written Agreements  | Statute of Limitations  | Breach

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Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations to bring an action for breach of contract is four years for most kinds of contracts, but there  are some exceptions.

Exceptions

The statute of limitations for an action on the part of a  minor child will be tolled until he is 18 years old,  meaning, the statute does not start to run until he is  18. Likewise, an argument can be made that the  statute should not start running until the aggrieved  party discovers the breach (the discovery rule),  however you should talk to counsel about the current  posture of appellate law on this issue at the time you  seek to make your claim.

Further, the breach of contract may also involve a  violation of Pennsylvania’s unfair trade practices and  consumer protection law, which has a six year statute  of limitations, but when in doubt, you should always  err on the side of filing suit sooner rather than later.

But note that the time limitation for filing a claim may be shorter than four years, if for example, the plaintiff’s claim is one for defamation (one year), or fraud (2 years), or theft (2 years).  Hence, by waiting 3.5 years to file suit, you may come to learn that the statute of limitations has run as to most of your claims.  But also note that the statute of limitations may be extended, by virtue of the “discovery rule” or by active efforts on the part of the opposing party to conceal his or her conduct.  You should definitely speak to a lawyer as early as possible and not try to guess which limitation period may apply without getting advice from a licensed attorney who regularly practices contract law.

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