One of the first steps you should take before filing a lawsuit is to determine whether the Statute of Limitations has expired. A Statute of Limitations is the time period that you have to file a claim with the Court. Although every case is different, and you should always consult an attorney to determine the viability of your claim, a few of the recurring Statute of Limitations questions that we encounter in our cases include the following:
In Hawaii, the Statute of Limitations for a Breach of Contract case is six (6) years. The Statute states as follows:
The following actions shall be commenced within six years next after the cause of actions accrued, and not after:
(1) Actions for the recovery of any debt founded upon any contract, obligation, or liability, excepting such as are brought upon the judgment or decree of a court; excepting further that actions for the recovery of any debt founded upon any contract, obligation, or liability made pursuant to chapter 577A shall be governed by chapter 577A;
(2) Actions upon judgments or decrees rendered in any court not of record in the State, or, subject to section 657-9, in any court of record in any foreign jurisdiction;
(3) Actions for taking or detaining any goods or chattels, including actions in the nature of replevin;
(4) Personal actions of any nature whatsoever not specifically covered by the laws of the State.
H.R.S. 657- 1.
The Statute of Limitations for most personal injury cases in Hawaii is two (2) years. Specifically, the Hawaii l
aw states as follows:
Actions for the recovery of compensation for damage or injury to persons or property shall be instituted within two years after the cause of action accrued . . .
The Statute of Limitations for Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices is generally four (4) years according to H.R.S. 480-24. Finally, the Statute of Limitations for fraudulent misrepresentation in Hawaii is six (6) years. H.R.S. § 657-1(4); Eastman v. McGowen, 86 Hawaii 21, 27 (1997).
For further guidance in determining which Statute of Limitations may be applicable to your specific case, refer to Hawaii Revised Statutes 657.