The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Personal Injury

Statute of Limitations

Negligence: The limitations period is three years for an injury to real or personal property. D.C. Code Ann. § 12-301. The limitation of actions for wrongful death is one year after the death. DC Code Ann § 16-2702.

Intentional Torts: The limitations period is one year for "libel, slander, assault, battery, mayhem, wounding, malicious prosecution, false arrest, or false imprisonment." D.C. Code Ann. § 12-301(4).

Contracts: See under "Commercial Law," Uniform Commercial Code - Sales.

See D.C. Code Ann. § 12-301 for other specified limiation periods.





Case Law

SUZETTE RICHARDS, Plaintiff, v. DUKE UNIVERSITY, et. al. Defendants.

480 F. Supp. 2d 222

Plaintiff's claims for racial and sexual discrimination and sexual harassment are time-barred by the appropriate statutes of limitations.   Plaintiff brings her claims for discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Neither of these statutes have their own statute of limitations, but courts have borrowed the statute of limitations from 42 U.S.C. § 1981  and § 1983 which in turn, rely on the respective personal injury statute of limitations in a jurisdiction. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 85 L. Ed. 2d 254 (1985); Doe v. Howe Military School, 227 F.3d 981, 987 (7th Cir. 2000). In the District of Columbia, a personal injury action has a three-year statute of limitations and therefore, a Title VI or Title IX claim also has a three-year statute of limitations in the District of Columbia. See Carney v. American Univ., 331 U.S. App. D.C. 416, 151 F.3d 1090, 1096 (D.C. Cir. 1998). As noted in the previous section regarding plaintiff's fraud claims, a tort action accrues, under District of Columbia law, "when the plaintiff has knowledge of (or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have knowledge of) (1) the existence of the injury, (2) its cause in fact,  and (3) some evidence of wrongdoing." Knight v. Furlow, 553 A.2d 1232, 1234 (D.C. 1989).



 updated 9-3-15