Statute of Limitations Affirmative Defense California
"Statutes of limitations are not simply technicalities. on the contrary, they have long been respected as fundamental to a well-ordered judicial system." ( Board of Regents v. Tomanio (1980) 446 U.S. 478, 487 [64 L. Ed. 2d 440, 449, 100 S. Ct. 1790].)
"'The period allowed for instituting suit inevitably reflects a value judgment concerning the point at which the interests in favor of protecting valid claims are outweighed by the interests in prohibiting the prosecution of stale ones.'" ( Delaware State College v. Ricks, supra, 449 U.S. at pp. 259-260 [66 L. Ed. 2d at p. 441], quoting Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, Inc. (1975) 421 U.S. 454, 463-464 [44 L. Ed. 2d 295, 303, 95 S. Ct. 1716].)
Indeed, the California Supreme Court has clarified that an affirmative defense based on the statute of limitations should not be characterized as "disfavored" since the public policy of repose, supported by the statute of limitations, is "no less important or substantial" than the public policy supporting disposition of a cause of action on the merits. (Norgart v. Upjohn Co. (1999) 21 Cal. 4th 383, 396, 981 P.2d 79.)
Statutes of limitations "are designed to promote justice by preventing surprises through the revival of claims that have been allowed to slumber until evidence has been lost, memories have faded, and witnesses have disappeared.
The theory is that even if one has a just claim it is unjust not to put the adversary on notice to defend within the period of limitation and that the right to be free of stale claims in time comes to prevail over the right to prosecute them." ( Gutierrez v. Mofid (1985) 39 Cal. 3d 892, 898, 218 Cal. Rptr. 313, 705 P.2d 886, citations omitted; accord, Adams v. Paul (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 583, 592, 904 P.2d 1205.)