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What is the Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose for a Products Liability Cause of Action in Tennessee?

Posted on Jan 5 2014 10:00PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  Under Tennessee law, as a general rule, the statute of limitations for a product liability cause of action is the same as what applies to a personal injury or injury to property cause of action. (See T.C.A. § 29-28-103).  As a result, injuries to the person are subject to a one year statute of limitation for a products liability injury. (See T.C.A. § 28-3-104).  Injuries to personal or real property are governed by the three year statute of limitations found in T.C.A. § 28-3-105.  Regardless, all claims must be brought within 6 years of the date of injury as stated explicitly in T.C.A. § 29-28-103. 

 

There is also a statute of repose found in T.C.A. § 29-28-103.  This statute states the following (see the highlighted portion of the statute for the statute of repose language):

 

(a) Any action against a manufacturer or seller of a product for injury to person or property caused by its defective or unreasonably dangerous condition must be brought within the period fixed by §§ 28-3-104, 28-3-105, 28-3-202 and 47-2-725, but notwithstanding any exceptions to these provisions, it must be brought within six (6) years of the date of injury, in any event, the action must be brought within ten (10) years from the date on which the product was first purchased for use or consumption, or within one (1) year after the expiration of the anticipated life of the product, whichever is the shorter, except in the case of injury to minors whose action must be brought within a period of one (1) year after attaining the age of majority, whichever occurs sooner.

 

As a result, the outer limit for a products liability cause of action (the statute of repose) is ten years after the product was first purchased or within one year of the expiration of the anticipated life of the product – whichever is shorter.  There is one exception to the statute of repose found in this statute.  It is tolled when someone is a minor.  Minors can bring a cause of action within one year after attaining the age of majority.  Note, the Tennessee Supreme Court has specifically held that this exception to the statute of repose does not apply to toll the statute during a period of mental incompetency.  See Penley v. Honda Motor Company, Ltd., 31 S.W.3d 181 (Tenn. 2000).   

 

It is also important to note that the limitations of actions in this statute do not apply to exposure to asbestos cases.  Also, they do not apply to causes of action based on injuries caused by silicone gel breast implants.  Silicone gel breast implant causes of actions must be brought within 25 years from the date the product was implanted, provided that the action is brought within 4 years from the date the plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury (See T.C.A. § 29-28-103). 

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

TAGS: Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Statute of Repose, Products Liability
Comments
Jason  -  7/3/2015 5:25:17 PM
Mariel - It depends on what you are referring to. If you are talking about for a minor, that is possible. However, the statute referenced is a state of repose which just provides an absolute bar to a claim past that date. If you are injured and know of the injury etc., then you have 1 year to bring the claim in most circumstances under TN law from the date of the injury.

Mariel  -  7/2/2015 5:27:47 PM
Does this also mean that a products liability action can be brought within six (6) years from the date of injury?

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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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