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TexLaw, Attorney
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Hello. I am interested in finding the case law and precedent

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Hello. I am interested in finding the case law and precedent establishing the statute of limitations on promissory notes in Iowa. The Internet is littered with tables expressing the SOL as 5 years; however, none of them substantiate with references.

I'd be happy to help you out. I'm researching and will respond back to you shortly with the statutory citation and supporting case law.

Thank you for your patience.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi, Z. What do you need to know?
The "information request" is more like a place holder for me to let you know that I'm addressing your question.

My understanding is that you need to know the statute of limitations for suing on a promissory note in Iowa and you would like legal citations to support it.

If I am correct,then please do not reply. I'll post an answer soon with this information.

If you need to know something different, then reply and let me know.

A promissory note is a contract, and is regulated by the same statute of limitations as for a written contract under Iowa Code Section 614.1(4)

"While technically speaking there is perhaps no such thing as a 'cause of action' on a promissory note until it is due and the holder is entitled to sue thereon, there is a sense in which such cause exists from the moment when the promise becomes a legal and binding obligation. True, it is an imperfect or inchoate right, but it is none the less real. The right to institute action 'accrues' when by maturity of the note and default in payment the holder may maintain a suit thereon, but it 'arises' or has its origin in the transaction which brought the obligation into existence." Moran v. Moran, 144 Iowa 451, 460, 123 N.W. 202, 205.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the response, ZDN. It's not really what I was looking for, which was an explanation of why so many online resources give the SOL on promissory notes in Iowa as five years. Since you didnt create those tables, you really couldn't be expected to cite their sources for them.
The five year statute of limitations is what is allowed for an oral contract under the same statute.

As far as why a promissory note would be classified as an oral contract, you've got me. I would argue that the tables you are looking at are incorrect.

The case law is abundantly clear, a promissory note is a written contract and the statute of limitations is 10 years, as stated in my answer.
TexLaw and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Alright. On the off chance somebody else in Iowa is looking for this information, I figured this one out. It turns out that case law wasn't really necessary; it was all in the Code--just layered a bit. Iowa considers a promissory note a negotiable instrument under Iowa Code § 554.3104(1). Iowa law does not specifically list a statute of limitations on negotiable instruments; therefore, the five year Statute of Limitations established in Iowa Code § 554.3118 would apply, and the debt would become Time-Barred five years after the cause of action.

Interesting. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

Now I'm seeing more case law on it which does indicate you are correct.

L. H. Wagener, Inc. v. Kendall, 278 N.W.2d 18 (Iowa 1979).

I've done some more digging and it may even be more complicated than this. It seems that the if the terms of the promissory note specifically make it non-negotiable, then it falls back under the written contract classification.