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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Florida Contract Law

Customer Question

I understand the status of limitations on written business contracts in Florida is 5 years. However, there is also some information about 1 year. If money is due on a contract, how long to collect the money before the statute runs out?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.

An action for breach of contract or written instrument is 5 years from the date of the breach according to Fla. Stat. § 95.11.

The 1 year statute of limitations is for specific performance under the contract, which is the right of a party to a contract to demand that the defendant (the party who it is claimed breached the contract) be ordered in the judgment to perform the contract. Specific performance may be ordered instead of (or in addition to) a judgment for money if the contract can still be performed and money cannot sufficiently reward the plaintiff.

Below is Fla. Stat. 95.11 for your review.

Limitations other than for the recovery of real property

Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows:

(1) WITHIN TWENTY YEARS. --An action on a judgment or decree of a court of record in this state.

(2) WITHIN FIVE YEARS.

(a) An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country.

(b) A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument, except for an action to enforce a claim against a payment bond, which shall be governed by the applicable provisions of ss. 255.05(10) and 713.23(1)(e).

(c) An action to foreclose a mortgage.

(d) An action alleging a willful violation of s. 448.110

(3) WITHIN FOUR YEARS.

(a) An action founded on negligence.

(b) An action relating to the determination of paternity, with the time running from the date the child reaches the age of majority.

(c) An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest; except that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In any event, the action must be commenced within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest.

(d) An action to recover public money or property held by a public officer or employee, or former public officer or employee, and obtained during, or as a result of, his or her public office or employment.

(e) An action for injury to a person founded on the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of personal property that is not permanently incorporated in an improvement to real property, including fixtures.

(f) An action founded on a statutory liability.

(g) An action for trespass on real property.

(h) An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property.

(i) An action to recover specific personal property.

(j) A legal or equitable action founded on fraud.

(k) A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability not founded on a written instrument, including an action for the sale and delivery of goods, wares, and merchandise, and on store accounts.

(l) An action to rescind a contract.

(m) An action for money paid to any governmental authority by mistake or inadvertence.

(n) An action for a statutory penalty or forfeiture.

(o) An action for assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference, false imprisonment, or any other intentional tort, except as provided in subsections (4), (5), and (7).

(p) Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes.

(q) An action alleging a violation, other than a willful violation, of s. 448.110.

(4) WITHIN TWO YEARS.

(a) An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. However, the limitation of actions herein for professional malpractice shall be limited to persons in privity with the professional.

(b) An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child's eighth birthday. An "action for medical malpractice" is defined as a claim in tort or in contract for damages because of the death, injury, or monetary loss to any person arising out of any medical, dental, or surgical diagnosis, treatment, or care by any provider of health care. The limitation of actions within this subsection shall be limited to the health care provider and persons in privity with the provider of health care. In those actions covered by this paragraph in which it can be shown that fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of the injury the period of limitations is extended forward 2 years from the time that the injury is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but in no event to exceed 7 years from the date the incident giving rise to the injury occurred, except that this 7-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child's eighth birthday. This paragraph shall not apply to actions for which ss. 766.301-766.316 provide the exclusive remedy.

(c) An action to recover wages or overtime or damages or penalties concerning payment of wages and overtime.

(d) An action for wrongful death.

(e) An action founded upon a violation of any provision of chapter 517, with the period running from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but not more than 5 years from the date such violation occurred.

(f) An action for personal injury caused by contact with or exposure to phenoxy herbicides while serving either as a civilian or as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States during the period January 1, 1962, through May 7, 1975; the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.

(g) An action for libel or slander.

(5) WITHIN ONE YEAR.

(a) An action for specific performance of a contract.

(b) An action to enforce an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property.

(c) An action to enforce rights under the Uniform Commercial Code--Letters of Credit, chapter 675.

(d) An action against any guaranty association and its insured, with the period running from the date of the deadline for filing claims in the order of liquidation.

(e) An action to enforce any claim against a payment bond on which the principal is a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor as defined in s. 713.01, for private work as well as public work, from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials or from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials by the contractor if the contractor is the principal on a bond on the same construction project, whichever is later.

(f) Except for actions described in subsection (8), a petition for extraordinary writ, other than a petition challenging a criminal conviction, filed by or on behalf of a prisoner as defined in s. 57.085.

(g) Except for actions described in subsection (8), an action brought by or on behalf of a prisoner, as defined in s. 57.085, relating to the conditions of the prisoner's confinement.

(6) LACHES. --Laches shall bar any action unless it is commenced within the time provided for legal actions concerning the same subject matter regardless of lack of knowledge by the person sought to be held liable that the person alleging liability would assert his or her rights and whether the person sought to be held liable is injured or prejudiced by the delay. This subsection shall not affect application of laches at an earlier time in accordance with law.

(7) FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS BASED ON ABUSE. --An action founded on alleged abuse, as defined in s. 39.01, s. 415.102, or s. 984.03, or incest, as defined in s. 826.04, may be commenced at any time within 7 years after the age of majority, or within 4 years after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser, or within 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later.

(8) WITHIN 30 DAYS FOR ACTIONS CHALLENGING CORRECTIONAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS. --Any court action challenging prisoner disciplinary proceedings conducted by the Department of Corrections pursuant to s. 944.28(2) must be commenced within 30 days after final disposition of the prisoner disciplinary proceedings through the administrative grievance process under chapter 33, Florida Administrative Code. Any action challenging prisoner disciplinary proceedings shall be barred by the court unless it is commenced within the time period provided by this section.

Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 25218
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
Roger and 9 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Reply to Adam Kirk's Post: Thanks for all the info.

Here's the example in a nutshell...
A written business contract states a non-refundable amount be paid up-front. Part of the money was paid, but not all of it. This was due to a lack of funds that arose. No work was ever performed on the contract. No paperwork was ever filed that would allow work to commence.

I'm assuming the amount paid up-front is non-refundable even though it's an impartial amount.

Is this an example of the "action for specific performance of a contract" statute that would expire after 1 year?
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.

Specific performance is really not the best way to proceed in your situation because money is the issue, not the work to be performed.

The better option is probably to proceed under the general breach of contract and demand the mandatory money.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Understood. I'm trying to determine what kind of time frame I can do that in. Would that be 5 years from date of breach?

thx.
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.
That is correct. You've got 5 years from the date of the breach to sue. In this case, it's probably when you received the partial payment - that put you on notice that the entire amount was not tendered in accordance with the contract.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much.
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.
You're welcome. Good luck.

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