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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    Question Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: Pennsylvania.

    Here's a quick summary to help with my question. In 2006 my place of residence (rental) experience a fire and I had no renter's insurance (not required) 22 months later the Insurance Company for the rental agency filed against me for negligence which was 2 months shy of the 2 year statute expiring for negligence in PA.

    I was never served, and never was aware that attempts were being made to serve me. Over two years after the original filing in 2008 I was "served" via a 1 day notice in the Sunday paper.

    After I became aware of this I was able to get a 30 minute session for some legal counsel, but unable to retain a lawyer to handle my case due to not having any money. During our talk the lawyer said that it looked like the statute did expire because the plaintiff had not kept up with reissuing the complaint every 30 days or so, and that the complaint would've lapsed and the statute would've expired. He said that would be his first course of action, getting the complaint dismissed based on expiration of the statute.


    Now my question: Is this true? I've done some research and can't find anything about a 30 day limit, but have come across a 90 time frame for not being served and the complaint expiring, but I'm not 100% positive it relates to my situation.

    The plaintiff DID refile thrice, once 6 months after the initial complain, again after 7 months, and then 11 months. Each time I was not served.

    Did the plaintiff mess up? Was the lawyer I spoke with onto something?

    Appreciate the help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    Check the court file; I would infer that the records will show that they attempted to serve you in some fashion then, when unable to do so, returned to court with a motion for substituted service which was granted based upon the failure of their prior efforts. Once you know what happened, let us know what you've found.

    I'm not clear on what you're claiming was refiled. You have told us about one suit, filed in 2008, for which you were served by publication approximately two months later. If you are suggesting that the same lawsuit was filled on two previous occasions, but was dismissed on those occasions because they couldn't find you to serve you, then that history may have played a role in a court's authorization of substituted service.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    Sorry for any confusion. There was only one complaint filed, in 2008. From July 2008 until December 2010, I was never served. Three attempts were made, each returned with a result of "not found" as documented by the Prothonotary. After the third attempt they placed a notice in the local paper that ran for 1 day as an alternate method of serving me.

    Maybe refiling isn't the word, the court document says "praecipe to reinstate".

    I'm trying to figure out why the lawyer I spoke with seemed to think that the statute expired because the plaintiff did not keep up with having me served within a timely fashion.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    He was speculating based upon what might have been in the court file; if you retain him, I expect that he will review the contents of the file to determine what avenue to take to attack the judgment. We don't have the full facts, nor do we have access to the court file, so we're not even in as strong as a position as the lawyer you consulted to speculate about whether there are grounds to attack the default or to assert a statute of limitations defense. So again, once you check the court file and confirm what happened, let us know what you've found.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    I'm not sure what you're asking for at this point. I've explained what happened according to the court records. The initial complaint was filed in July of 2008. The statute would have expired in September 2008. I was never served in 2 and a half years. He examined the court file before I consulted him as well.

    I think I get what you're asking about now. Both the lawyer and I reviewed the contents of the complaint when I consulted him. The claim is of negligence which carries a two-year statute in Pennsylvania which the lawyer also confirmed, we did not get into more detail unfortunately about the statute, other than he believed it expired in between the serving attempts.

    /edit

    No judgement has been made. After the notice was published I was able to enter my response. Things are in limbo right now.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations and Being Served in a Timely Manner

    I'm asking for the procedural history that led to the court's authorization of substituted service.

    If you believe you're entitled to relief from the judgment based upon the manner of service, its (un)timeliness, or the statute of limitations, file a properly supported motion for relief.

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