This is a simple guide to understanding Statute of Limitation laws in Minnesota with links for more information.
A statute of limitation is a state or federal law (statute) that puts a deadline (limitation) on how long after an incident a legal claim or charge may be brought.
There are two broad categories for these laws: civil and criminal. A civil statute of limitation is a deadline for starting a lawsuit. A criminal statute of limitation is a deadline for the government bringing criminal charges against someone.
Statute of Limitation Example
For example, if one person breaches a contract, the other party must sue for breach of contract within six years from the breach. If a lawsuit is not started in time, the claims will be dismissed and forever lost.
Complexity of a Statute of Limitation
Determining when a statute of limitation ends (the deadline for a legal action) can be tricky. Even lawyers may find it challenging to determine if a claim is too old to bring.
There are a large number of statutes of limitation. That is, many laws have their own limitations. The first challenge to figuring out a statute of limitation is knowing which particular statute of limitation applies to your circumstances. But that’s not all.
Sometimes, the statute of limitation does not start running until the harm is discovered or some other event occurs. Also, a statute of limitation may be tolled (paused) under some circumstances. In most cases, an attorney’s analysis of the full facts and circumstances will be required to determine whether you are past the statute of limitation’s deadline.
Common Deadlines for Minnesota Lawsuits (Civil Claims)
Common statutes of limitation relevant to lawsuits in Minnesota include:
- Assault and battery: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
- Contract (oral or in writing): 4 years or 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 336.2-725); Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(1))
- Conversion: 6 years (See Conversion.)
- Defamation: 2 years (See Defamation)
- False imprisonment: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
- Foreclosures: 15 years) (Minn. Stat. § 541.03)
- Fraud: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(6))
- Judgments: 10 or 20 years) (Minn. Stat. § 541.04)
- Lawsuits affecting title to real estate: 40 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.023)
- Lawsuits involving a health care provider, a physician, surgeon, dentist, occupational therapist, hospital, or treatment facility: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.076)
- Legal malpractice: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5))
- Libel: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
- Medical malpractice: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.076(b))
- Personal injury: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
- Product liability: 4 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 2)
- Property damage: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(4))
- Recovery of real estate: 15 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.02)
- Slander: 2 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1))
- Trespass: 6 years (Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(3))
- Unfair Trade Practices: 6 years (See Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Law in Minnesota)
- Wrongful death: 3 years (Minn. Stat. § 573.02, subd. 1)
One popular list of statutes of limitation in Minnesota can be found in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 541.
Important note: These limits are updated from time to time. You should not rely on this list. You should verify with an attorney before assuming a statute of limitation is applicable to your circumstances.
Deadline for Minnesota Criminal Charges
Most states provide certain limitations periods in which a criminal prosecution must be commenced. These limitations periods, which are contained in statutes, are usually called statutes of limitations. In general, limitations periods are longer for more serious offenses and shorter for less serious offenses. Some states have no limitation for the most serious offenses. To learn more, visit Minnesota criminal statutes of limitation.
How Much Does It Cost?
Each situation has its own complexities, and there are many aspects to discuss to understand the details of your situation and advise you accurately.