As you are no doubt aware of the, the statute of limitation for suing for interference with property, or in tort
, in Pennsylvania is 2 years.
Taking the best position possible--that the discovery of the theft was discovered on or about March 19, 2007, the statute would have already run by now.
There is no provision in the law for a tolling of the statute while the victim is outside of the state. Pennsylvania does have what is known as a discovery period, wherein the court can take the position that a statute of limitations
has been tolled during the time that the victim was unaware of the harm and reasonably could not have been aware of it: In Pennsylvania, the laws surrounding the Discovery Rule have been strengthened due to Supreme Court rulings. Specifically, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated: "the statute must be interpreted in accordance with reason and common sense. Accordingly, the court allows tolling of the statute of limitations in situations in which the legislature's intent is better served by hearing suit than by barring it." In other words, the Discovery Rule serves the greater good.
However, with the benefit of the discovery rule comes that requirement that the victim must act expeditiously when they learn of the harm. In your circumstance I have no doubt that the court would extend the statute the approximately 10 days between the theft and the discovery. The issue of what specifically was stolen is really not even the issue as far as filing of suit; it goes to the damages. Consequently, the delay in conducting an inventory of what was missing after the theft would not serve to further extend the statute, I'm afraid.
As a result, it is too late in the state of Pennsylvania to file suit against your former tenant.
That being said, given the numerous items stolen, and the fact that the value no doubt was quite significant; this would be classified as a felony in your state. The statute of limitation, depending on how the prosecutor would charge the crime, could be as long as 5 years. If the criminal is convicted of the crime, the court could award restitution
to you, despite the fact that the civil statute of limitations has already run.
I wish you the best in 2009.
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