Contract Statute of Limitations

Five years is the general statute of limitations in Missouri. There are two different statutes of limitations applying to breach of contract claims.

Section 516.120(1), RSMo requires “all actions upon contracts, obligations or liabilities, express or implied, except those mentioned in section 516.110, and except upon judgments or decrees of a court of record, and except where a different time is herein limited” to be brought within five (5) years. This generally applies to all contract claims.

Section 516.110(1), RSMo, however, requires ” an action upon any writing, whether sealed or unsealed, for the payment of money or property” to be brought within ten (10) years. Stated different, Section 516.110(1), RSMo “applies when a plaintiff files suit to enforce a written promise to pay money.” Rolwing v. Nestle Holdings, Inc., 437 S.W.3d 180, 183 (Mo. 2014).

When there is a written promise to pay? This exists when there as an “acknowledgment of an indebtedness, an admission of a debt due and unpaid.” Martin v. Potashnick, 217 S.W.2d 379, 381 (Mo. 1949). The promise must be apparent from the writing’s explicit language. Cmty. Title Co. v. Stewart Title Guar. Co., 977 S.W.2d 501, 502 (Mo. 1998).

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