Legal Memorandum: Statute of Limitations – Disabilities as a Toll

Issue: In New York, does a guardian or relation’s suit for a plaintiff under a disability extinguish the tolling provision of CPLR 208?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Tolling provision; Disability
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 244 A.D.2d 93; 10 N.Y.S.2d 592; 228 A.D.2d 831; 234 A.D.2d 83; 225 A.D.2d 763; 225 A.D.2d 750; 247 A.D.2d 529; 378 N.E.2d 1027; 676 N.Y.S.2d 616; 578 N.Y.S.2d 510; 173 A.D.2d 824; 496 N.Y.S.2d 578; 585 N.E.2d 822; 367 N.Y.S.2d 48; 47 A.D.2d 919; 571 N.Y.S.2d 52; 283 N.Y. 554; 407 N.Y.S.2d 458; 664 N.Y.S.2d 342; 592 N.Y.S.2d 640; 78 N.Y.2d 687; 434 N.Y.S.2d 138; 80 N.Y.2d 571; 669 N.Y.S.2d 337; 531 N.Y.S.2d 26; 640 N.Y.S.2d 180; 686 N.Y.S.2d 316; 71 A.D.2d 1014
Cited Statutes: CPLR §208; CPLR §1201; CPLR §228(a)
Date: 02/01/2000

In Sanchez v. Wolkoff, 247 A.D.2d 529, 669 N.Y.S.2d 337 (2nd Dept. 1998), the plaintiff was severely injured in a 1990 workplace accident that rendered him comatose and resulted in his confinement to a nursing home.  In 1993, without any guardian ad litem having been appointed, the plaintiff’s wife, with the aid of counsel, commenced an action naming her husband and herself as plaintiffs.  This lawsuit was brought against, inter alia, the Estate of Martin Wolkoff, the former owner of the corporation that employed plaintiff on the date of his accident.  In January 1996, the Supreme Court, Queens County, dismissed the complaint against the Estate and in July 1996, despite the fact that a guardian had still not been appointed for the plaintiff, the wife commenced a separate action against Belle Wolkoff, the widow of Martin Wolkoff, who moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it was time barred.  The Supreme Court denied the motion on the grounds that the injured plaintiff was entitled to a tolling on the statute of limitations pursuant to CPLR §208 because of his condition.  In reversing the Supreme Court and ordering the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint on the grounds that it was time barred, the Appellate Division, Second Department, held, in relevant part, as follows:

CPLR §208 provides for a toll of the statute of limitations where the person entitled to commence the […]

margin-left:1.0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify;tab-stops:.5in 1.0in 1.5in 2.0in 2.5in 3.0in 3.5in 4.0in 4.5in 5.0in 5.5in’>

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)