Kansas residents with overdue bills should take note of the state's statute of limitations on debt lawsuits. The SOL limits the time a creditor has to file suit, then obtain a judgment and enforce the judgment with liens, levies or garnishment. The debtor, however, is responsible for requesting that a court dismiss the suit on statute of limitations grounds.
Statute of Limitations on Different Debts
The Kansas statute of limitations on debt lawsuits varies with the type of agreement made between lender and borrower. An oral contract, for example, carries a statute of limitations of three years. The SOL on a promissory note or other written credit agreement runs five years after the date of the agreement. A three-year SOL applies to open-ended accounts, such as those for credit cards, which accept ongoing, regular payments. The three-year limit begins running on the date of the last payment.
Raising an Affirmative Defense
A creditor is free to file a lawsuit at any time, even after the statute of limitations has passed. The law places the burden of proving a statute of limitations defense on the defendant. If a defendant fails to answer a lawsuit and raise this defense, and provide evidence to support it, the court may issue a summary judgment or default against the defendant. The plaintiff then can proceed with further collection efforts.
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Service of Process
As in other states, a plaintiff in Kansas must have their suit legally served on the defendant, and certify the date and time of service by filing a return of service with the court. By Kansas law, however, the case begins on the day the defendant is served with the complaint and summons. If a creditor files his suit on time, but then gets service on a defendant after the SOL date has passed, the defendant may move to dismiss the suit.
In addition to the SOL on lawsuits, Kansas puts a five-year limit on enforcement actions after a court issues a judgment. The legal term the state applies to an expired judgment is "dormant," and creditors may apply for a renewal of a dormant judgment within 10 years of the judgment's original issue date. This applies to domestic judgments issued in the state of Kansas, as well as "foreign" judgments issued outside of the state and then "domesticated" by filing in a Kansas court against a debtor resident in the state.