When Does the Clock Start Ticking? Considerations When Drafting Statutes of Limitations [January 9, 2020] [open pdf - 649KB]
From the Document: "Many federal laws contain statutes of limitations that bar plaintiffs from filing civil lawsuits after a specified time period. 15 U.S.C. § 15b, for example, provides that certain civil antitrust lawsuits 'shall be forever barred unless commenced within four years after the cause of action accrued.' These statutes of limitations serve several purposes. For one, time bars mitigate challenges associated with stale evidence. With passing years, memories of an event may fade, physical evidence may deteriorate, and critical witnesses may die or become difficult to locate. Encouraging plaintiffs to file lawsuits promptly can thus help ensure that judges and juries decide cases based on complete and accurate evidence. Statutes of limitations also afford prospective defendants legal peace by relieving them of the threat of liability after a specified time period. However, statutes of limitations necessarily foreclose injured plaintiffs from maintaining otherwise meritorious lawsuits and may therefore allow defendants to escape liability."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10390
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/