Choosing the longer statute | Joseph William Singer | August 27, 2013


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by Joseph William Singer
1 Choosing the longer statute


This approach has not been formally adopted by any state but the argument for doing it would go like this. If the forum allows the claim while the situs of the wrong bars the claim, it may be that the situs bars the claim simply to unclog its court system. If so, that state might be happy that the forum has a longer statute of limitations and is altruistically opening its courts to the foreign claim. Applying the longer forum statute of limitations would vindicate the situs's substantive policies without burdening its court system. However, if the forum statute of limitations is shorter than that of the situs, it may make sense to apply the longer statute of limitations of the situs because the forum is not entitled to refuse to hear a claim simply because it is based on the law of another state. If the situs recognizes a claim and the forum does not, the forum must apply the law of the situs if the forum has no legitimate interest in applying its law. Even if the forum has an interest in applying its shorter statute of limitations to protect one of the parties from a stale claim, that interest cannot outweigh the interests of the situs in vindicating the claim; nor can there be any unfair surprise since the lawsuit could have been brought at the site of the wrong in any event.


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