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Ten Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Breach of Contract for Nonpayment
Description Missouri has a five-year and a ten-year statute of limitation that apply to contract disputes. The Missouri Supreme Court, clarifying 150 years of confusion, holds that the ten-year statute applies to contract disputes regarding payment of money.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Statute of Limitation, Breach
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hughes agreed in 1988 to assist Omega in the management of apartments for a share of the fees received by Omega from the apartment owners for management services. In 1995, Hughes sued Omega for breach of contract for underpayment for its services. Omega claimed a five-year statute of limitations barred the action.
Trial Court Decision Case dismissed. The five-year statute states that it "applies to '[a]ll actions upon contracts, obligations or liabilities, expressed or implied...,' which is the case here." Hughes appealed.
Supreme Court Decision Reversed and remanded. The Missouri statute of limitations is ten years for an "action upon any writing, whether sealed or unsealed, for the payment of money or property." Since this is a suit for payment of money as agreed in a contract, the ten-year statute applies. "Taken at its plain meaning ... the ten-year statute of limitations applies to every breach of contract action in which the plaintiff seeks a judgment from the defendant for payment of money the defendant agreed to pay in a written contract." The five-year statute applies to other breach of contract matters.
Citation Hughes Development Co. v. Omega Realty Co., Slip Copy (1997 WL 598383, Sup. Ct., Mo.)
951 S W. 2d 615 (Sup. Ct., Mo., 1997)

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