Does Lack of Knowledge of Proper Forum to File Complaints Toll the Limitation Period ?
In Davis v. Commonwealth, 660 A.2d 157 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995) certain former Commonwealth employees filed wrongful discharge/breach of contract actions in July/August 1992 in federal court against the Court of Common Pleas and the Commonwealth based on the employees' June 28, 1991 termination.
One year later in 1993, the federal court dismissed the wrongful discharge claims with prejudice and dismissed the breach of contract claims without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, subject to the right of the employees to pursue action in state court and/or appropriate administrative agency in thirty days. the employees filed complaints with the Board, which dismissed them because they failed to state a cause of action and appeared to be time barred.
On appeal, this Court held that the Board lacked jurisdiction over the complaints because they were not filed within six months after they accrued under 72 P.S. 4651.6, and the statute of limitations could be tolled only if a party can be estopped from claiming the statute as a defense.
The mere lack of knowledge of the proper forum in which to file a complaint does not toll the statute.
The Court concluded that Section 5103 does not "extend the filing date in the tribunal to which the action is transferred." Id. at 162.
This section only tolled the statute of limitations as of the date the action was filed in the first tribunal. Id.