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District of Columbia


Statutes of Limitations (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)


Personal Injury - 3 yrs. [DC ST § 12-301]

Wrongful Death - 2 yrs. (from time of death) [DC ST § 16-2702]

Med Mal - 3 yrs. [DC ST § 12-301]

Property Damage - 3 yrs. [DC ST § 12-301]

Contracts (Oral and Written) - 3 yrs. [DC ST § 12-301]

Contracts for Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [DC ST § 28:2-725].  Note: Product Liability Breach-of-Warranty Claims involving Personal Injury or Property Damage may fall under 3-yr. statute of limitations [DC ST § 12-301; Grigsby v. Sterling Drug, Inc., 128 F.Supp. 242 (D.D.C. 1975)]


When the relationship between the fact of injury and alleged tortuous conduct is obscure, a court determines when the claim accrues through application of the “discovery rule,” and the statute of limitations will not run until Plaintiffs know or reasonably should have known that they suffered injury due to Defendants’ wrongdoing [Mullin v. Washington Free Weekly, Inc., 785 A.2d 296 (D.C. 2001)]



Statutes of Repose (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

Products - None.

Construction of Real Property - 10 yrs. [DC ST § 12-310]

Claims Against Public/Gov. Entities (NOTE: “sovereign immunity” rules may apply) (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

Notice within 6 mos. [DC ST § 12-309].  Cannot file suit until the District has had 6 mos. to make final disposition of such claim [DC ST § 2-413]

Contributory Negligence (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

Strict contributory (Plaintiff is barred from recovery even if 1% at fault) [Wingfield v. Peoples Drug Store, Inc., 379 A.2d 685 (D.C. 1977)]

Made Whole Doctrine (MWD) (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

MWD operates as a default rule and the parties can contract out of it provided they do so with sufficient clarity [District No. 1--Pacific Coast Dist. v. Travelers Cas. and Sur. Co., 782 A.2d 269 (D.C. 2001)]

Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

Virtually no law is available.  In cases involving negligent performance of contract, liability to third parties who suffer only economic loss depends on whether Defendant owed duty of reasonable care to Plaintiff; if no duty was owing, lack of contractual privity normally bars recovery [Aronoff v. Lenkin Co., 618 A.2d 669 (D.C. 1992)]. 

Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

No requirements.

Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

No law available.

Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

No law available.


MedPay - No subrogation allowed and/or no such coverage available.  PIP - Recovery allowed (if at least 1 of the vehicles involved in the accident is not a passenger vehicle) [DC ST § 31-2411].

Liability of Parents (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

No law available.


Joint and several liability (Plaintiff may recover all damages from any Defendant regardless of Defendant’s individual share of liability) [Hill v. McDonald, 442 A.2d 133 (D.C. 1982)].

Independent Cause of Action for Intentional or Negligent Evidence Spoliation (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)

D.C. has recognized a tort for negligent or reckless spoliation against a third party [Holmes v. Amerex Rent-A-Car, 710 A.2d 846 (D.C. 1998)]




Torts - D.C. employs a modified “governmental interests analysis” which seeks to identify the jurisdiction with the “most significant relationship” to the dispute [Hercules & Co. v. Shama Restaurant, 566 A.2d 31(D.C.1989)].  Court must evaluate the governmental policies underlying the applicable laws and determine which jurisdiction’s policy would be most advanced by having its law applied [Moore v. Ronald Hsu Const. Co., Inc., 576 A.2d 734 [D.C. 1990].  Contracts - Court must ascertain the underlying policies and interests sought to be regulated and protected by the rules of the relevant jurisdictions and to determine whether these differing state interests are in conflict; and if the interests are in conflict, to determine which jurisdiction has the most substantial interest [Schliep v. Demaras, 410 F.Supp. 1190 (D.D.C. 1976)]



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