“What is the statute of limitations in New Hampshire?” is a deceptively simple question. But there is no single statute of limitations in New Hampshire and a "statute of limitation" is just one type of time limit on filing lawsuits. This is a very complex area of law to research because the time limits for filing a lawsuit vary depending upon the jurisdiction, the type of claim and even who the defendant is. Also, there may be more than one statute of limitations that applies to a particular event so that even though one time period has expired, there might still be time to bring an action. Calculating when a statute of limitations starts to “run” (think of it as when the countdown starts) can be difficult. Under certain conditions, statutes of limitations can be “tolled” so that the countdown pauses. Because this is such a complex area of law, researchers should consult with a lawyer before deciding that their time has run out to file a lawsuit.
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New Hampshire Cases
The cases below are here to illustrate various situations that have involved some kind of time limitation on filing an action. They include: statutes of limitations, statutes of repose, non-claim statutes, and laches. There are many, many more cases.
126 N.H. 500 (1985). Appeal of Henry A. Plantier, M.D.
Where there are no statutory time limitations applicable to particular administrative proceedings ... the question of whether or not there is a bar by time may turn on the question of laches. Laches, unlike limitation, is not a mere matter of time, but is principally a question of the inequity of permitting the claim to be enforced—an inequity founded on some change in the conditions or relations of the property or the parties involved. In determining whether to apply laches, neither law nor equity nor science has been able to develop any mechanical gauge that will automatically tell litigants or the court the number of months or years that are required to constitute reasonable promptness in bringing a suit to avoid the defense of laches.
131 N.H. 458 (1989). Stewart v. Farrel
Like most States, New Hampshire has a creditor non-claim statute establishing filing deadlines for claims against an estate.
149 N.H. 480 (2003) Big League Entertainment, Inc. v. Brox Industries, Inc. & a.
Statutes of limitation generally begin to run at the time of injury or discovery of the injury. They serve to place a limit on the time in which a plaintiff may bring suit after a cause of action accrues. [...] By contrast, statutes of repose create time limitations which are not measured from the date of injury, but rather usually run from an act of a defendant. They extinguish a cause of action after a fixed period of time regardless of when the action accrues, potentially barring a plaintiff's suit before there has been an injury or before the action has arisen.
159 N.H. 42 (2009). State v. Lake Winnipesaukee Resort, LLC
The legal issue in this interlocutory appeal is whether this action is timely in light of the common law doctrine nullum tempus occurrit regi, or "time does not run against the king" ... The doctrine of nullum tempus is a common law rule excepting the sovereign from general limitations periods.
167 N.H. 644 (2015). Conant v. O'Meara
O'Meara next argues that the Conants' claims are barred by the statute of limitations. He asserts that there are several limitations deadlines that may be applicable to this case and that the Conants have missed all of them by several years. First is the deadline set forth in the parties' agreement to submit to arbitration their claims to the disputed portion of the fee. The second limitations period cited by O'Meara is set forth in New Hampshire's arbitration statute. [...] The third limitations period O'Meara cites is New Hampshire's general three-year statute of limitations for personal actions. RSA 508:4 (2010).
New Hampshire Statutes
There are too many statutes with time limits on filing actions to list here. We suggest that you start your research with the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated and use the print index instead of keyword searching online. This is because many statutes say only that an action must be brought within “x” number of months or years and may never use the phrases “statute of limitations” or "limitations of actions." Look in the print index under “limitations of actions.”
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New Hampshire Law Library
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Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.