If a debtor resides withinone state and thecreditor resides in another state, which state’s statute of limitations would apply?

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A lawsuit can be filed where the plaintiff resides or where the defendant resides or where the claim arose.  The state in which the lawsuit is filed will determine the applicable statute of limitations.

Although generally it is more convenient for the plaintiff to file a lawsuit in the state where he/she lives in terms of filing documents with the court and court appearances, the statute of limtiations is also a factor to consider.  If the statute of limitations has expired, a lawsuit is barred.  If the statute of limitations has expired in the state where the plaintiff resides, but has not expired in the state where the defendant resides, the lawsuit will need to be filed in the state where the defendant resides since that is where the statute of limitations has not expired.  If the statute of limitations has expired in the state where the plaintiff resides and in the state where the defendant resides, but not in the state where the claim arose, then the lawsuit must be filed where the claim arose since the statute of limitations has not yet expired in that state. 

A possible exception would be that some contracts specify a particular state whose laws are controlling with regard to that contract and that state's statute of limitations would be applicable since the lawsuit would need to be filed in that particular state.


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