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Repetitive Stress Injury Clock Runs From Time Injury Apparent
Description New York's high court determined that in RSI cases stemming from keyboard use, cause of action accrues upon the onset of symptoms or last use of the injury-producing device.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence, Repetitive Stress, Statute of Limitations
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Over 90 separate plaintiffs sued various keyboard manufacturers in a number of lawsuits. The cases were all assigned to one judge for pretrial purposes. A motion was made regarding the statute of limitations that would apply to repetitive stress injury (RSI) claims. The issue was certified to the Court of Appeals.
Decision "A computer keyboard is not a toxic substance which is ingested into the body, nor is it an object implanted, but not assimilated, into the body. However, unlike a typical case involving products remaining outside of the body, there is no one readily discernible first date of injury in RSI cases."

"Weighing ... competing policy considerations, we conclude that the proper rule in RSI cases is that the cause of action accrues against a given manufacturer upon the onset of symptoms or the last use of the injury-producing device, whichever is earlier. Clearly in this case fairness to the plaintiff militates against a rule based on first use."

Citation Blanco v. American Telephone and Telegraph Co., Slip Copy (1997 WL 729116, Ct. App., NY)
666 N.Y.S.2d 536 (Ct. App., N.Y., 1997)

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