Utah discovery rule

From Lawpendium
Jump to: navigation, search
Banner Ad photo UtahWillsBannerAdforLawpendiumPhotoshop_zpscc99065d.png

It is generally accepted that a statute of limitations begins to run upon the occurrence of the last event required to form the elements of the cause of action. See Valley Colour, Inc. v. Beuchert Builders, 944 P.2d 361, 364 (Utah 1997); Berenda v. Langford, 914 P.2d 45, 50-51 (Utah 1996); Walker Drug Co. v. La Sal Oil Co., 902 P.2d 1229, 1232 (Utah 1995); O'Neal v. Division of Family Servs., 821 P.2d 1139, 1143 (Utah 1991); Myers v. McDonald, 635 P.2d 84, 86 (Utah 1981). Furthermore, the “ ‘mere ignorance of the existence of a cause of action does not prevent the running of the statute of limitations.’ ” Warren v. Provo City Corp., 838 P.2d 1125, 1129 (Utah 1992) (quoting Myers, 635 P.2d at 86)).

Williams v. Howard, 970 P.2d 1282, 1284 (Utah 1998)

Special situations exist in which the so-called discovery rule tolls the running of the statute of limitations. Myers, 635 P.2d at 86. The discovery rule is a judicially created doctrine under which the statute of limitation does not begin to run until the plaintiff learns of or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have learned of the facts which give rise to the cause of action. The discovery rule functions as an exception to the normal application of a statute of limitation. Klinger v. Kightly, 791 P.2d 868, 869 (Utah 1990) (emphasis added) (citing Brigham Young Univ. v. Paulsen Constr. Co., 744 P.2d 1370, 1373-74 (Utah 1987); Becton Dickinson & Co. v. Reese, 668 P.2d 1254 (Utah 1983); Myers, 635 P.2d at 86) (other citations omitted)).

Williams v. Howard, 970 P.2d 1282, 1284 (Utah 1998)

There are three situations in which we have determined that application of the discovery rule is appropriate: (1) where the application of the rule is mandated by statute; (2) where a plaintiff is unaware of a cause of action because of the defendant's misleading conduct or concealment; and (3) where application is warranted by the existence of special circumstances that would, based on a balancing test, render application of the statute of limitations unjust or irrational. See Walker Drug, 902 P.2d at 1231 (quoting Warren, 838 P.2d at 1129).

Williams v. Howard, 970 P.2d 1282, 1285 (Utah 1998)