Limitations Periods: Statutes of Repose


Hardgrove v. Transportation Ins. Co. [12/01/04] 2004 MT 340 (No. 03-678) A legislature can make clear it intends a statute of repose if the statutory period for bringing the claim can lapse before the cause of action accrues. Statutes of repose establish the absolute time beyond which no party is liable. Courts may equitably toll statutes of limitations for latent injuries, but no event short of a legislative mandate can toll statutes of repose.

Palmer v. Safeco [12/22/06] 2006 MTWCC 44 Statutory language which terminates a cause of action on a date certain and independent of the accrual of a cause of action is a statute of repose. Since § 39-71-704(1)(e), MCA, meets these criteria, it is a statute of repose.
Palmer v. Safeco [12/22/06] 2006 MTWCC 44 Although Petitioner argued that the termination of his benefits pursuant to § 39-71-704(1)(e), MCA, after 60 consecutive months of non-use should be tolled because he was receiving medical treatment for difficulties which he was unaware stemmed from his industrial accident, the statute in question is not a statute of limitations but a statute of repose and cannot be tolled by the courts, but only by legislative mandate.
Fleming v. International Paper [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 34 Use of the word “must” in a statute governing the time in which an action must be commenced does not make the statute one of repose rather than one of limitations. Only where the language of the statute indicates it overrides other limitations periods and/or unequivocally indicates that it cannot be tolled will it be held to be a statute of repose.
Fleming v. International Paper [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 34 The statute requiring the claimant to file a petition within two years of a denial of benefits, § 39-71-2905(2), MCA (1997-2003), is a statute of limitations, not a statute of repose.