Court Discusses Application of Out-of-State Statute of Repose

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a product liability lawsuit discussing when, if ever, another state’s statute of repose applies. The case presents an interesting issue for Maryland product liability plaintiffs because although Maryland law does apply other state’s statutes of repose in some circumstances, courts will not do so if the case is brought by a Maryland resident.

The Facts of the Case

In 2012, the plaintiff’s Ford Escape caught fire while parked in her garage. The fire spread to her home, and she was injured as she attempted to flee the fire. The plaintiff filed a product liability case against Ford in federal court. The vehicle was manufactured in 2001 in Missouri, and first sold later that year. The plaintiff lived in Oregon.

Oregon’s statute of repose requires all cases to be brought by the later of:

  • Ten years from the time when the vehicle was manufactured, or
  • “The expiration of any statute of repose for an equivalent civil action in the state in which the product was manufactured.”

Missouri, the state where the vehicle was manufactured, did not have a statute of repose. Thus, there was a question as to what, if any, statute of repose applied to the plaintiff’s case.

Ultimately, the federal court asked the Oregon state court what to do, as the matter involved Oregon law. The court held that, in this circumstance, there was effectively no statute of repose because Missouri does not impose one.

Maryland Statutes of Repose in Product Liability Lawsuits

Maryland product liability cases are not subject to a statute of repose. Thus, an injured plaintiff can bring the lawsuit at any time, so long as it is not barred by a statute of limitations. However, under Md. Code. Ann. section 5-115, Maryland courts will honor another state’s statute of limitations if the injury occurred in that state. However, Maryland courts will not apply another state’s statute of repose if the case is brought by a Maryland resident.

Thus, in this regard, Maryland court’s treat out-of-state cases much like the court in the case discussed above. However, unlike that court, Maryland does not contain a statute of repose for cases originating in Maryland.

Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous or Defective Product?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If you are confused by the discussion above, you are not alone. Maryland product liability law can be extremely complex. The dedicated Maryland product liability attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC are experienced in all types of product liability cases, and know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. We take every precaution to ensure that our clients are kept well-informed throughout the process, and take the time to answer all client questions along the way. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Manufacturer Not Liable for Plaintiff’s Injuries Based on a Third-Party’s Misuse of the Product, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 3, 2018.

Appellate Court Discusses Employer Liability in Recent Pedestrian Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 17, 2018.


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