When does statute of limitations expirefor a sign-on bonus?

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When does statute of limitations expirefor a sign-on bonus?

Contract for a sign-on bonus was signed in 2005. Was supposed to stay for 1 year; left job after 6 months (in 2006). Ignored requests to pay money back as I didn’t have it at the time. Recently debt collection agency has called about sign-on repayment. It’s been 6 years since I signed the contract; 4 years and 10 months since I “broke” the agreement by leaving. If I stall them for 2 more months, doesn’t the FL statute of limitations expire (5 years for written contract from time “agreement was broken”)?

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have stated the FL statute of limitations correctly. However, matters are not quite as clear cut as you indicate. While the law does require creditors and plaintiffs to not "sleep on their rights" and commenced an action within the appropriate time frame, the law does not let a potential defendant profit by his or her own wrongdoing. So, for example, if you "stall" by promising to repay and either making a repayment offer which is accepted or entering into an agreement to repay, then breach that agreement, the statute would start running anew from the new breach. Or if you put them off by negotiations made in bad faith, a court would probably construe that the running of the statute was "tolled," or held in abeyance, for the period you were engaged in bad faith negotiatins--again, so you would not profit from your bad faith.

On the other hand, if you just don't respond to them or duck phone calls, then if they failed to actually instigate the suit in time, you may have a good SOL defense. You're not required to cooperate with them, just to not act in a deceptive or improper fashion.


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