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Oregon Statutes of Limitations and ORS 12.220, a “Saving Statute”

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Statutes of limitations (aka limitations of actions) drive people crazy. Pro se litigants think it should be easy to find out how long they have to decide whether or not to sue someone, but the reality is … statutes of limitations drive people crazy, especially those with linear, literal personalities or those who think the law ought to be what it says it is. Ha ha ha.

(Remember, the Golden Rule of Lawyering: If you read only what is written in the statutes, the cases, and the constitutions you will be absolutely wrong about what the law is.”)

An example, and bear in mind that ORS 12.220 has been around since 1961 (amended in 2003):

Oregon Court of Appeals decided Belinskey V. Clooten, A140228, on 9/1/10:

Excerpt: “This case requires us to construe ORS 12.220, commonly referred to as a “saving statute,” which provides that, if an action is first filed within the statute of limitations and then “involuntarily dismissed without prejudice on any ground not adjudicating the merits of the action,” a new action may be filed within 180 days “after the judgment dismissing the original action is entered in the register of the court,” notwithstanding that the statute of limitations has run during the interim….

The question presented is what “the judgment dismissing the original action” means in ORS 12.220(2). Defendant contends that, as the trial court ruled, the term refers to the first judgment–the trial court’s original judgment dismissing the action before appeal. Plaintiff contends that the term also includes the judgment entered in the trial court register after the appellate mandate issues. We agree with defendant and therefore affirm….”
(Link to full opinion from the OJD website.)

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