On September 28, 2012, Ohio Senate Bill 224 became effective and reduced the statute of limitations period for written contracts from 15 years to 8 years. This new law applies retroactively to causes of action which accrued prior to September 28, 2012, and provides that “an action upon a specialty or an agreement, contract, or promise in writing shall be brought within eight years after the cause of action accrued.” See Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.06.
This new law, however, does not alter the six-year statute of limitations applicable to promissory notes or the four-year statute of limitations applicable to contracts for the sale of goods. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 1303.16 and 1302.98.
Generally, statutes of limitations are enacted to ensure that plaintiffs pursue legal action with reasonable diligence and protect defendants from having to disprove a stale claim. Historically, Ohio had one of the longest statutes of limitations for written contracts in the country. Because Ohio’s statute of limitations period for written contracts has almost been cut in half, all parties to a contract must re-evaluate the manner in which they assess potential causes of actions in order to ensure that all claims are prosecuted in a timely manner.