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Continuing Wrong Exception to Statute of Limitations

Failure to bring a claim within the applicable statute of limitations means that the claim is time-barred. The best lawsuit in the world cannot be brought out of time. The clock starts ticking on when to bring the claim when the cause of action has “accrued” — i.e., usually when the damages are reasonably ascertainable. D’Arcy & Assocs., Inc. v. K.P.M.G. Peat Marwick, L.L.P., 129 S.W.3d 25, 29 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004). When this occurs depends on the nature of the claim. It is often a contested issue for determination at trial.

One prominent caveat with the statute of limitations accrual date is the “continuing wrong exception.” Under this theory and line of reasoning, “each continuation or repetition of wrongful conduct may be regarded as a separate cause of action for which suit must be brought within the period beginning with the occurrence.” Lake St. Louis Cmty. Ass’n v. Oak Bluff Pres., 956 S.W.2d 305, 310 (Mo. Ct. App. 1997). Importantly, this can only be applied when it is a new, independent wrongful act. It is not appropriate for continuing damages from one completed, wrongful act. D’Arcy, 129 S.W.3d at 30.

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