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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: April 23, 2018

Written Acknowledgment of Debt by Agent of Party Can Extend Statute of Limitations

On April 17, 2018, the First Department issued a decision in Nelux Holdings Intl., N.V. v. Dweck, 2018 NY Slip Op. 02569, holding that a written acknowledgement of a debt by a party’s agent can extend the statute of limitation, explaining:

Defendant borrower established prima facie through the loan agreement and the notes that the loan was due to be paid by May 10, 2004, and that the six-year statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim expired on May 10, 2010. In opposition, plaintiff lender raised an issue of fact as to whether the statute of limitations was extended by a new or continuing contract pursuant to General Obligations Law ยง 17-101. Plaintiff submitted emails that it had received in 2009 from a law firm seeking to discuss repayment of defendant’s loan. This Court and other Departments of the Appellate Division have recognized that a written acknowledgment of a debt signed by the agent of the party to be charged may be sufficient to invoke the statute. An issue of fact arises from the conflicting evidence in the record as to whether the law firm was acting as defendant’s agent when it sent the emails to plaintiff.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).

NOTE: Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP was counsel for the prevailing party in this appeal.

It is not unusual for the statute of limitations to be an issue in complex commercial litigation. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions regarding whether claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

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