Does Lack of Knowledge Where to File a Complaint Toll the Statute of Limitations ?
In Davis v. Commonwealth, 660 A.2d 157 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1995), two former Commonwealth employees sued the Commonwealth and the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in federal district court asserting a violation of their civil rights and a breach of contract.
The contract actions were dismissed from the federal case without prejudice to plaintiffs' right to pursue them in the appropriate state forum.
Plaintiffs then filed complaints with the Board of Claims, which the Board dismissed because neither claim was filed within six months from the date the cause of action accrued.
On appeal, this Court rejected plaintiffs' argument that a lack of knowledge of the proper forum in which to file a complaint should toll the statute of limitations.
The Court also explained that Section 5103 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. 5103, pertaining to "transfer of erroneously filed matters," did not operate to save plaintiffs' claim.
As we explained in Davis, "although these provisions act to keep alive an action filed in the wrong tribunal, they do not act to extend the filing date in the tribunal to which the action is transferred | Once the case is transferred, for statute of limitations purposes, it is treated as if filed in the proper tribunal on the date that it was filed in the first tribunal. " Davis, 660 A.2d at 162.
Section 5103(a) of the Judicial Code provides, in relevant part:
(a) General rule.--If an appeal or other matter is taken to or brought in a court or magisterial district of this Commonwealth which does not have jurisdiction of the appeal or other matter, the court or magisterial district judge shall not quash such appeal or dismiss the matter, but shall transfer the record thereof to the proper tribunal of this Commonwealth, where the appeal or other matter shall be treated as if originally filed in the transferee tribunal on the date when the appeal or other matter was first filed in a court or magisterial district of this Commonwealth. 42 Pa.C.S. 5103(a).