I think that you may be mixing apples and oranges a little bit. The statute of limitations is called that because it is a Statute, or a law. In Massachusetts there are two types of law that you can argue to a court, statutory law and common law. Common law is created when a Court writes a decision. In Massachusetts when the highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, (as opposed to the legislative court) enters an opinion all of the lower trial courts are bound by the law created in that decision. Legislation is created by the legislative branch and signed into law by the Governor. The statute of limitations for tort
actions is Massachusetts General Law. c. 260 section 2A. In that statute it says that if you want to bring an action for a tort (like fraud) you have to do so within 3 years of the cause of action. There are sometimes issues, especially with fraud, as to when the Plaintiff knew, or reasonably should have known that the cause of action arose. It does not apply at all to affirmative defenses to actions brought by someone else. If the Defendant filed a counterclaim
, that would be a different story. The Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure
, Rule 8(c) requires that, in an answer, affirmative defenses, like fraud, be raised in the Answer to the complaint. The Plaintiff can, in discovery, find out exactly what the Defendant is claiming. In Rule 9(b) the rules require all allegations of fraud to be set out with particularity. I have never seen this rule applied to an affirmative defense, but I guess you could bring a motion to strike the affirmative defense. You can reference a set of book called Massachusetts Practice, there are a couple of books dedicated to pleading civil cases. You can find the books at any law library. In Massachusetts almost every Superior Court House has a law library. In addition the Social Law Library at the XXXXX XXXXX Courthouse in Boston is one of the finest law libraries in the United States. If you ask the reference librarian for works related to civil procedure he should be able to set you up with 300 or so books. Happy reading!