If a person or organization wants to initiate a lawsuit, they must do so within a certain period of time which varies based upon the type of complaint. Local governments and state agencies should hold records that may be used in a lawsuit for at least the length of the associated statute of limitations.
To locate the commonly cited Laws of New York:
- Go to the Consolidated Laws of New York on the New York State Senate website
- Search the site by selecting the "Search Open Legislation Statutes" tab - OR-
- Browse to the appropriate law, for example Civil Practice Laws and Rules or CVP
- Follow the links to the desired article and section of that law
The summaries below do not describe all situations covered by the referenced section of law. Unrelated matters are often grouped together by length of statute of limitations. Review the referenced section in full when considering appropriate retention requirements.
Civil Practice Laws and Rules (CPLR)
Extends the statute of limitations a patient has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a missed cancer diagnosis to 7 years from date of the last treatment (per Lavern’s Law passed in 2018).
Provides persons who have arrived at "majority" (age 18) an additional 3-year period to bring legal action as adults relative to an event which occurred when the they were minors. This statute has broad implications and requires retention of many records series long enough to protect the legal rights of minors.
Establishes a 20-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for bonds; money judgments; by state for real property; by grantee of state for real property; and for support, alimony, or maintenance.
Establishes a 10-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for possession necessary to recover real property, annulment of letters patent, to redeem from a mortgage, and to recover under an affidavit of support of an alien.
Establishes a 6-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced where not otherwise provided on contracts; on sealed instruments; on bonds or notes, and mortgages upon real property; by state based on misappropriation of public property; based on mistake; by corporation against director, officer, or stockholder; or based on fraud.
Establishes a 4-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for residential rent overcharge.
Establishes a 3-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for non-payment of money collected on execution; for penalty created by statute; to recover chattel; for injury to property; for personal injury; for malpractice other than medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice; and to annul a marriage on the ground of fraud.
Establishes a 2 year and 6 months statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced for medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice.
Establishes statute of limitations of 3 years from the point of discovery within which certain legal actions must be commenced.
Establishes a 1-year statute of limitations within which legal actions must be commenced against sheriff, coroner, or constable; for escape of prisoner; for assault, battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, or slander; for violation of right of privacy; for penalty given to informer; and on arbitration award.
Abbreviates statute of limitations to 1 year after notice for actions to recover money and property.
Establishes a 4-month statute of limitations for actions against the action or inaction of an administrative agency or officer and public sector labor unions for breach of the duty of fair representation.
Establishes a 1 year and 90 days statute of limitations for actions involving damages, injuries, or destruction to real or personal property or for personal injuries or wrongful death against governmental entities.
Criminal Procedure Law
Indicates that prosecution of class A felony and certain other crimes may be commenced at any time.
Establishes that prosecution for other felonies must be commenced within 5 years of commission of the crime.
Establishes that prosecution for misdemeanors must be commenced within 2 years of commission of the crime.
Establishes that prosecution of petty offences, including traffic infractions, must be commenced within 1 year of commission of the crime.