In a case where Peter Moulinos represents the Plaintiff, a Defendant sought to dismiss an action filed by the Plaintiff which alleged that, while the Plaintiff was incarcerated in federal prison, his real property was illegally transferred to the Defendants by way of a forged signature on a deed.
In its motion to dismiss, the Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the Statue of Limitations and laches. It based its argument on the allegation that Plaintiffs’ ignorance of the fact that his signature may have been forged on the deed resulted from his incarceration due to his engaging in illegal offenses, with arrest and imprisonment a foreseeable consequence. Defendant therefore sought to assert blame upon the Plaintiff stating that Plaintiff chose the conduct which resulted in his felony conviction and prison sentence. The Defendant also argued that Plaintiffs’ wife was a joint owner and was at no time incapacitated or unable to protect their real property.
Plaintiff argued that the inherently unknowable injury doctrine tolls the three year statute of limitations that applies to his Complaint. The inherently unknowable injury doctrine provides that a statute of limitations is tolled where the injury is inherently unknowable and the claimant is blamelessly ignorant of the wrongful act and the injury complained of. Under such exception, the limitations period does not begin to run until the plaintiff has reason to know that a wrong has been committed.
The Court disagreed with the Defendant and denied its motion. The Court ruled that because the Plaintiff’s Complaint asserted a cause of action that on its face accrued outside of the three year statute of limitations, he has the burden of pleading facts leading to a reasonable inference that one of the tolling exception doctrines adopted by Delaware court applies. The Court also denied the motion on the basis that Plaintiff successfully argued that the inherently unknowable injury doctrine tolls the three year statute of limitations that applies to his Complaint.
This post was written by Nicholas Moneta. This case is cited as Luis Barbosa v. Bob’s Canine Academy, Inc., Dorothy Ball, and H. Cubbage Brown. C.A. No. 7834-ML filed in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware.