Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The continuous wrong doctrine.

Practice point:  The continuous wrong doctrine is an exception to the general rule that the statute of limitations runs from the time of the breach, even though the damage occurs later.  Typically, the doctrine is invoked where there is a series of continuing wrongs, and it serves to toll the running of a period of limitations to the date of the commission of the last wrongful act.  If applicable, the doctrine saves all claims for recovery of damages, but only to the extent of wrongs committed within the applicable statute of limitations.

The doctrine may be predicated only on continuing unlawful acts, and not on the continuing effects of earlier unlawful conduct. The distinction is between a single wrong that has continuing effects and a series of independent, distinct wrongs. The doctrine is inapplicable where there is one tortious act alleged, as the cause of action accrues in those cases at the time that the wrongful act first injured plaintiff, and it does not change as a result of continuing consequential damages. In a contract action, the doctrine extends the statute of limitations when the contract imposes a continuing duty on the breaching party. Thus, where a plaintiff asserts a single breach - with damages increasing as the breach continued - the theory does not apply.

Case:  Henry v. Bank of Am., NY Slip Op 01436 (1st Dep't February 23, 2017)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  An exception to the best evidence rule.