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Code of Civil Procedure section 351 and statutory tolling of the statute of limitations in California

California Code of Civil Procedure section 351 and statutory tolling of the statute of limitations in California is the topic of this blog post which is the first in a series that will discuss statutory tolling of the statute of limitations in California.

Also discussed with be some of the situations in which section 351 does not apply. The laws in the State of California impose time limitations or deadlines to take legal action which are known as the “statute of limitations” (SOL). If someone fails to fully settle their claim or file a lawsuit within a certain time period, they will forever lose their right to any recovery or other legal remedy against the other person, business or entity if the SOL defense is asserted and proven as a defense to their lawsuit.

The statute of limitations laws in California are fixed and very strict in their application unless a particular exception applies. Knowledge of the exceptions can mean all the difference in the world in certain situations.

Some of the more common statutory exceptions are found in sections 351 through 356 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This blog post discusses only section 351.

Code of Civil Procedure § 351 states that, “If, when the cause of action accrues against a person, he is out of the State, the action may be commenced within the term herein limited, after his return to the State, and if, after the cause of action accrues, he departs from the State, the time of his absence is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.”

What that means is that the absence of a defendant from the state of California between the starting date and ending date of the SOL will generally lengthen the SOL by the amount of the length of the absence of a defendant from the state of California.

However California and Federal Courts have ruled that this exception does not apply in some circumstances including:

1. Defendants engaging in interstate commerce. See Abramson v Brownstein 897 F2d 389, 392 (9th Cir. 1990);

2. Corporations and limited partnerships. See Epstein v. Frank (1981) 125 Cal. App. 3d 111, 119 n.4 and 120;

3. Nonresident motorists. See Bigelow v. Smik (1970) 6 Cal. App. 3d 10, 15, and

4. Resident motorists in some circumstances. See Vehicle Code Section 17460; see also Dovie v. Hibler (1967) 254 Cal.App 2d 673, 675.

Listed above are the most common circumstances in which section 351 does not apply.

To view over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation created and sold by the author of this blog post visit: View over 300 sample legal documents for sale

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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