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Avoiding Statute of Limitations Bar in New Jersey – The Doctrine of Equitable Tolling

NJ statute limitations equitable tolling

A litigant pursuing his or her rights in a New Jersey federal or state court must act with diligence, as civil claims are subject to specific statute of limitations – a defined time period where a lawsuit must be filed or the claim is considered stale or time barred. In certain instances though, the doctrine of equitable tolling can spare a litigant from a statute of limitations bar.

Under New Jersey law, the limitations period for a claim may be equitably tolled where the plaintiff:

1) has been “induced or tricked by his adversary’s misconduct” into allowing the deadline to pass;

2) has been prevented from filing suit “in some extraordinary way”; or

3) has “timely asserted his rights mistakenly by either defective pleading or in the wrong forum.”

Freeman v. State, 788 A.2d 867, 879-880 (App. Div. 2002)(citations omitted)(citations omitted).

Absent “intentional inducement or trickery by a defendant,” however, “the doctrine of equitable tolling should be applied sparingly.” Id. at 880. Moreover, equitable tolling “requires the exercise of reasonable insight and diligence by a person seeking its protection.” Binder v. Price Waterhouse & Co., L.L.P., 923 A.2d 293, 299 (App. Div. 2007) (quotation omitted). “[A]ttorney error, miscalculation, inadequate research or other mistakes” do not constitute the extraordinary circumstances necessary to toll the time limit for a claim. Id.

Need help with pursuing a civil litigation claim or defending a case involving the doctrine of equitable tolling?

Contact our New Jersey lawyers today.





Admitted to NJ Bar in 1990, NY Bar in 1991. Former Judicial Law Clerk to Honorable Peter Ciolino, Assignment Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County. Member & Barrister: Daniel J. Moore Bankruptcy Inn of Court Member & Barrister: Morris Pashman Inn of Court Member: Bergen County Bar Association NJ Superlawyer - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Nominated for inclusion in Best Lawyers of America Member: Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
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