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March 16, 2006 6:06 AM   Subscribe

How does the statue of limitations run in class action issues, or where multiple victims are involved?

This is hypothetical only, and I realise YANALs... However, assume that a single act affects several people in a manner which they are initially unaware of. When does the time limit begin to run, particularly in a criminal context, where only the state can prosecute? Is it when one victim is aware, when they all know, or when the reasonable vicitm could or should have known? Any examples, regardless of juristiction would be very helpful. Bonus points for citations or links to articles!
posted by prentiz to Law & Government (9 answers total)
 
This is not a question to be answered on ask mefi. IAAL. Get one.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:10 AM on March 16, 2006


Uh, why not?
posted by grouse at 6:12 AM on March 16, 2006


The statute can start to run at diffferent times for different offenses or causes of action. How long the statute takes to run also differs by the offense. The statute can also be paused depending on certain actions taken by either side.

If you google ([state_name] "statute of limitations") you'll find more detailed background. Here's a page I googled up for New York.
posted by falconred at 6:20 AM on March 16, 2006


Since this is a hypothetical only, I can't see why it's not appropriate for metafilter.

Different jurisdictions have different rules for crimes that might not be discovered at the time they are committed. One that is often discussed is that of stolen artwork, which the owner may not notice is stolen until much much later after the thief has sold it back into legitimate channels and someone else things that she legally owns it.

One possible rule is that the statute of limitations does not start running until the theft is discovered. Another possibility is that it does not start running until the theft reasonably should have been discovered. And a third possibility is that it starts running when the theft actually occurs.

I recommend googling the following case names for more information:

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation v. Lubell
O’Keefe v. Snyder

I found this article, but I haven't read very much of it.
posted by Xalf at 6:38 AM on March 16, 2006


Ironmouth, I'm not actually hideing out from the Federales, peering whistfully across the Rio Grande, the question is entirely hypothetical!
posted by prentiz at 6:40 AM on March 16, 2006


Oh and regarding whether this a conspiracy, you're probably screwed. The statute of limitations begins again with every "overt act" committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. See this DOJ page.

Doesn't sound too bad, but overt act can be defined VERY broadly.
posted by Xalf at 6:41 AM on March 16, 2006


OK, because when you say that, I belive it. I see a lot of legal questions on here which scare me, especially the tax ones because you just cringe about thinking about what someone might do based on faulty advice.

Like every other question the place to look is that actual law and jurisdiction involved. Find out what laws you think are being broken and then look directly at the code sections. That is the only answer worth reading. There may also be a general statute of limitations statute which works unless overridden by a specific code section relative to the crime or civil wrong that is at the core of the legal matter. Occasionally, there are also-court imposed statutes of limitation as well. As for class action--that stuff is the hardest law out there and couldn't even begin to answer.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:07 AM on March 16, 2006


If this is akin to a corporate fraud issue, there could be multiple instances where it could be argued that the fraud would be repeated, such as each time the company filed taxes or released a report, without issuing a correction. Each of these instances, arguably, would start the clock over.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2006


I know I'll just get in trouble here for this, but...

Kramer: Anyway, it's been two years. I mean isn't there like statue of limitations on that?

Jerry: Statute.

Kramer: What?

Jerry: Statute of limitations. It's not a statue.

Kramer: No, statue.

Jerry: Fine, it's a sculpture of limitations.

Kramer: Just wait a minute...Elaine, Elaine! Now you're smart, is it statue or statute of limitations?

Elaine: Statute.

Kramer: Oh, I really think you're wrong.
posted by theonetruebix at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2006


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