SUBCHAPTER II. LIMITATIONS.

Article 3.

Limitations, General Provisions.

§ 1-14.  Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 954, s. 4.

 

§ 1-15.  Statute runs from accrual of action.

(a)        Civil actions can only be commenced within the periods  prescribed in this Chapter, after the cause of action has accrued, except where in special cases a different limitation is prescribed by statute.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 654, s. 3.

(c)        Except where otherwise provided by statute, a cause of action for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be deemed to accrue at the time of the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided that whenever there is bodily injury to the  person, economic or monetary loss, or a defect in or damage to property which originates under circumstances making the injury, loss, defect or damage not readily apparent to the claimant at the time of its origin, and the injury, loss, defect or damage is discovered or should reasonably be discovered by the claimant two or more years after the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action, suit must be commenced within one year from the date discovery is made: Provided nothing herein shall be construed to reduce the statute of limitation in any such case below three years. Provided further, that in no event shall an action be commenced more than four years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided further, that where damages are sought by reason of a foreign object, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, having been left in the body, a person seeking damages for malpractice may commence an action therefor within one year after discovery thereof as hereinabove provided, but in no event may the action be commenced more than 10 years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action. (C.C.P., s. 17; Code, s. 138; Rev., s. 360; C.S., s. 405; 1967, c. 954, s. 3; 1971, c. 1157, s. 1; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 977, ss. 1, 2; 1979, c. 654, s. 3.)

 

§ 1-15.1.  Statutes of limitation and repose for civil actions seeking to recover damages arising out of a criminal act.

(a)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a defendant is convicted of a criminal offense and is ordered by the court to pay restitution or restitution is imposed as a condition of probation, special probation, work release, or parole, then all applicable statutes of limitation and statutes of repose, except as established herein, are tolled for the period set forth in this subsection for purposes of any civil action brought by an aggrieved party against that defendant for damages arising out of the offense for which the defendant was convicted. Any statute of limitation or repose applicable in the civil action shall be tolled from the time of entry of the court order

(1)        Requiring that restitution be made,

(2)        Making restitution a condition of probation or special probation, or

(3)        Recommending that restitution be made a condition of work release or parole,

and until the defendant has paid in full the amount of restitution ordered or imposed. Except as provided in G.S. 15B-34, an action to recover damages arising out of the criminal offense shall not be commenced more than 10 years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action.

(b)        In any civil action brought by an aggrieved party against the defendant for damages arising out of the offense for which the defendant was convicted:

(1)        The defendant has the right to contest the amount of damages;

(2)        The amount of any restitution ordered or imposed shall not be admissible into evidence; and

(3)        All restitution paid by the defendant to the aggrieved party shall be credited against any judgment rendered in the action against that defendant.

(c)        This section shall not apply if the offense of which the defendant was convicted was an offense established in Chapter 20 of the General Statutes.

(d)       A plea of no contest shall be considered the same as a conviction for purposes of this section. (1989, c. 535, s. 1; 2004-159, s. 3.)

 

§ 1-16.  Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 954, s. 4.

 

§ 1-17.  Disabilities.

(a)       A person entitled to commence an action who is under a disability at the time the cause of action accrued may bring his or her action within the time limited in this Subchapter, after the disability is removed, except in an action for the recovery of real property, or to make an entry or defense founded on the title to real property, or to rents and services out of the real property, when the person must commence his or her action, or make the entry, within three years next after the removal of the disability, and at no time thereafter.

For the purpose of this section, a person is under a disability if the person meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1)       The person is within the age of 18 years.

(2)       The person is insane.

(3)       The person is incompetent as defined in G.S. 35A-1101(7) or (8).

(a1)     For those persons under a disability on January 1, 1976, as a result of being imprisoned on a criminal charge, or in execution under sentence for a criminal offense, the statute of limitations shall commence to run and no longer be tolled from January 1, 1976.

(b)       Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, and except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, an action on behalf of a minor for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be commenced within the limitations of time specified in G.S. 1-15(c), except that if those time limitations expire before the minor attains the full age of 19 years, the action may be brought before the minor attains the full age of 19 years.

(c)       Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) and (b) of this section, an action on behalf of a minor for injuries alleged to have resulted from malpractice arising out of a health care provider's performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be commenced within the limitations of time specified in G.S. 1-15(c), except as follows:

(1)       If the time limitations specified in G.S. 1-15(c) expire before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, the action may be brought any time before the minor attains the full age of 10 years.

(2)       If the time limitations in G.S. 1-15(c) have expired and before a minor reaches the full age of 18 years a court has entered judgment or consent order under the provisions of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes finding that said minor is an abused or neglected juvenile as defined in G.S. 7B-101, the medical malpractice action shall be commenced within three years from the date of such judgment or consent order, or before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, whichever is later.

(3)       If the time limitations in G.S. 1-15(c) have expired and a minor is in legal custody of the State, a county, or an approved child placing agency as defined in G.S. 131D-10.2, the medical malpractice action shall be commenced within one year after the minor is no longer in such legal custody, or before the minor attains the full age of 10 years, whichever is later.  (C.C.P., ss. 27, 142; Code, ss. 148, 163; 1899, c. 78; Rev., s. 362; C.S., s. 407; 1971, c. 1231, s. 1; 1975, c. 252, ss. 1, 3; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 977, s. 3; 1987, c. 798; 2001-487, s. 1; 2011-400, s. 9.)

 

§ 1-18.  Disability of marriage.

In any action in which the defense of adverse possession is relied upon, the time computed as constituting such adverse possession shall not include any possession had against a feme covert during coverture prior to February 13, 1899. (1899, c. 78, ss. 2, 3; Rev., s. 363; C.S., s. 408.)

 

§ 1-19.  Cumulative disabilities.

When two or more disabilities coexist at the time the right of action accrues, or when one disability supervenes an existing one,  the limitation does not attach until they all are removed. (C.C.P., ss. 28, 49; Code, ss. 149, 170; Rev., s. 364; C.S., s. 409.)

 

§ 1-20.  Disability must exist when right of action accrues.

No person may avail himself of a disability except as authorized in G.S. 1-19, unless it existed when his right of action accrued. (C.C.P., s. 48; Code, s. 169; Rev., s. 365; C.S., s. 410.)

 

§ 1-21.  Defendant out of State; when action begun or judgment enforced.

If when the cause of action accrues or judgment is rendered or docketed against a person, he is out of the State, action may be commenced, or judgment enforced within the times herein limited after the return of the person into this State, and if, after such cause of action accrues or judgment is rendered or docketed, such person departs from and resides out of this State, or remains continuously absent therefrom for one year or more, the time of his absence shall not be a part of the time limited for the commencement of the action or the enforcement of the judgment. Provided, that where a cause of action arose outside of this State and is barred by the laws of the jurisdiction in which it arose, no action may be maintained in the courts of this State for the enforcement thereof, except where the cause of action originally accrued in favor of a resident of this State.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to the extent that a court of this State has or continues to have jurisdiction over the person under the provisions of G.S. 1-75.4. (C.C.P., s. 41; 1881, c. 258, ss. 1, 2; Code, s. 162; Rev., s. 366; C.S., s. 411; 1955, c. 544; 1979, c. 525, s. 1.)

 

§ 1-22.  Death before limitation expires; action by or against personal representative or collector.

If a person entitled to bring an action dies before the expiration of the time limited for the commencement thereof, and the cause of action survives, an action may be commenced by his personal representative or collector after the expiration of that time, and within one year from his death. If a person against whom an action may be brought dies before the expiration of the time limited for the commencement thereof, and the cause of action survives, an action may  be commenced against his personal representative or collector after the expiration of that time; provided, the action is brought or notice of the claim upon which the action is based is presented to the personal representative or collector within the time specified for the presentation of claims in G.S. 28A-19-3. If the claim upon which the cause of action is based is filed with the personal representative or  collector within the time above specified, and its validity is admitted in writing by him, it is not necessary to bring an action upon such claim to prevent the bar, but no action shall be brought against the personal representative or collector upon such claim after his final settlement. (C.C.P., s. 43; 1881, c. 80; Code, s. 164; Rev., s. 367; C.S., s. 412; 1977, c. 446, s. 2.)

 

§ 1-23.  Time of stay by injunction or prohibition.

When the commencement of an action is stayed by injunction or statutory prohibition, the time of the continuance of the injunction or prohibition is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action. (C.C.P., s. 46; Code, s. 167; Rev., s. 368; C.S., s. 413.)

 

§ 1-24.  Time during controversy on probate of will or granting letters.

In reckoning time when pleaded as a bar to actions, that period shall not be counted which elapses during any controversy on the probate of a will or granting letters of administration, unless there is an administrator appointed during the pendency of the action, and it is provided that an action may be brought against him. (C.C.P., s. 47; Code, s. 168; Rev., s. 369; C.S., s. 414.)

 

§ 1-25.  Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 954, s. 4.

 

§ 1-26.  New promise must be in writing.

No acknowledgment or promise is evidence of a new or continuing contract, from which the statutes of limitations run, unless it is contained in some writing signed by the party to be charged thereby; but this section does not alter the effect of any payment of principal or interest. (C.C.P., s. 51; Code, s. 172; Rev., s. 371; C.S., s. 416.)

 

§ 1-27.  Act, admission or acknowledgment by party to obligation, co-obligor or guarantor.

(a)        After a cause of action has accrued on any obligation on which there is more than one obligor, any act, admission, or acknowledgment by any party to such obligation or guarantor thereof, which removes the bar of the statute of limitations or causes the statute to begin running anew, has such effect only as to the party doing such act or making such admission or acknowledgment, and shall not renew, extend or in any manner impose liability of any kind against other parties to such obligation who have not authorized or ratified the same.

(b)        Nothing in this section shall be construed as applying to or affecting rights or obligations of partnerships or individual members  thereof, due to acts, admissions or acknowledgments of any one partner but rights as between partners shall be governed by G.S. 59-39.1. (C.C.P., s. 50; Code, s. 171; Rev., s. 372; C.S., s. 417; 1953, c. 1076, s. 1.)

 

§ 1-28.  Undisclosed partner.

The statutes of limitations apply to a civil action brought against an undisclosed partner only from the time the partnership became known to the plaintiff. (1893, c. 151; Rev., s. 373; C.S., s. 418.)

 

§ 1-29.  Cotenants.

If in actions by tenants in common or joint tenants of personal property, to recover the same, or damages for its detention or injury, any of them are barred of their recovery by limitation of time, the rights of the others are not affected thereby, but they may recover according to their right and interest, notwithstanding such bar. (C.C.P., s. 52; Code, s. 173; Rev., s. 374; C.S., s. 419; 1921, c. 106.)

 

§ 1-30.  Applicable to actions by State.

The limitations prescribed by law apply to civil actions brought in the name of the State, or for its benefit, in the same manner as to actions by or for the benefit of private parties. (C.C.P., s. 38; Code, s. 159; Rev., s. 375; C.S., s. 420.)

 

§ 1-31.  Action upon a mutual, open and current account.

In an action brought to recover a balance due upon a mutual, open and current account, where there have been reciprocal demands between the parties, the cause of action accrues from the time of the latest item proved in the account on either side. (C.C.P., s. 39; Code, s. 160; Rev., s. 376; C.S., s. 421; 1951, c. 837, s. 1.)

 

§ 1-32.  Not applicable to bank bills.

The limitations prescribed by law do not affect actions to enforce the payment of bills, notes or other evidences of debt, issued or put in circulation as money by banking corporations incorporated under the laws of this State. (C.C.P., s. 53; 1874-5, c. 170; Code, s. 174; Rev., s. 377; C.S., s. 422.)

 

§ 1-33.  Actions against bank directors or stockholders.

The limitations prescribed by law do not affect actions against directors or stockholders of any banking association incorporated under the laws of this State, to recover a penalty or forfeiture imposed, or to enforce a liability created by law; but such actions must be brought within three years after the discovery by the  aggrieved party of the facts upon which the penalty or forfeiture attached, or the liability was created. (C.C.P., s. 54; Code, s. 175;  Rev., s. 378; C.S., s. 423.)

 

§ 1-34.  Aliens in time of war.

When a person is an alien subject, or a citizen of a country at war with the United States, the time of the continuance of the war is not a part of the period limited for the commencement of the action. (C.C.P., s. 44; Code, s. 165; Rev., s. 379; C.S., s. 424.)