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Statute of Limitations
General Practice
    
Contract Claims: _ Contract Claims Which Do Not Involve the Sale of Goods: The statute governing contract claims allows a claimant to file a claim up to (6) six-years after the contract has been signed. N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1. _ Contracts for the Sale of Goods: Under the Uniform Commercial Code ,the statute of limitations for contract claims pertaining to the sale of goods is four (4) years. The parties may reduce this time period for not less than one (1) year, but they can not contract to extend the limitation period. N.J.S.A. 12A:2-725(1). A cause of action for the sale of goods accrues when the breach occurs. The breach is deemed to occur at the time of delivery regardless of the aggrieved party’s lack of knowledge of the breach. N.J.S.A. 12A:2-725(2). _ Breach of an Express Warranty of Future Performance: For these types of claims the four (4) year statute of limitations period does not begin until the actual breach was or should have been discovered. N.J.S.A. 12A:2-725(2). In order for the court to find a warranty of future performance, there must be a specific reference to a future time in the contract. For example, there is a warranty of future performance when the seller of the goods warrants to repair and maintain the goods for a period of time in the future. Products Liability Claims: _ Cases Involving Damage to an Individual and Real and Personal Property: New Jersey law allows for an individual or a subrogating carrier to bring a case against a manufacturer for a defective product under theories of strict liability and tort. The statute of limitations for such actions is six (6) years, commencing on the date of loss. _ Cases Involving Damage Only to the Product: The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that when a party is seeking only economic damages for the loss or damage to a product and not for damage to other persons or property, the party will be limited to the statute of limitations inherent in the terms of the contract. Alloway v. General Marine Industries, 149 N.J. 620, 641, 642 (1997). The court in Alloway held that contract principles are better suited for claims of damage to the product itself and tort claims are only proper when the damage is to individuals and/or other property. See Alloway at 641-642. The implication of this ruling is that the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of purchase and the injured party is not entitled to bring a strict liability or punitive damage claims against the manufacturer of the product. However, the Alloway decision did outline certain factual situations where the four (4) year statute of limitations may not apply, such as cases where the product itself is considered dangerous, where there is a disparity in the bargaining power of the parties and in cases involving fraud or unconscionability. Alloway at 639, 641. Therefore, claims involving solely damage to the product itself are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The ramifications of these claims being governed by the UCC are: 1. The legal remedies are generally limited to the actual warranty given and any other express or implied warranties, such as fitness and for a particular purpose and of merchantability; and 2. Under the UCC the time period for the statute of limitations starts upon the date of delivery of the product as opposed to the date when the defect was discovered. Tort Claims: _ Real or Personal Property Damage: Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1, “every action at law for trespass to real property, any tortious injury to real or personal property, for taking, detaining or converting personal property, for replevin of goods or chattels...shall be commenced within six (6) years next after the cause of action shall have accrued.” Thus, an injured party may not have knowledge of the injury or the extent of the injury before the statute begins to run. P.T. & L. Const. Co. Inc. v. Madigan and Hyland, Inc., 245 N.J. Super. 201 (1991). Subrogation cases for property damage, other than those based on a product liability theory are governed by the six (6) year statute of limitations. _ Injury to an Individual: Every action at law for an injury to the person caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of any person within New Jersey must be commenced within two (2) years next after the cause of action has accrued or the injury has occurred. N.J.S.A. 2A14-2.2. However, for medical malpractice claims and informed consent claims, the statute begins to run when the injured party becomes aware of their injuries or there are enough facts sufficient to support their claim.. Baird v. American Medical Optics, 155 N.J. Super 54 (1998).

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