Tuesday, November 22, 2011

consumer - contract under seal - statute of limitations

Osprey Portfolio, Inc. v. Izett - Superior Court - November 21, 2011

Guaranty under seal for related promissory note was an instrument under seal subject to 20-year statute of limitations (SOL) under 42 Pa. C.S. 5529(b)(1) rather than normal 4-year contract SOL, 42 Pa. C.S. 5525.

The guaranty, which had the pre-printed word "SEAL" next to the signature line, was "undisputedly signed under seal," * and was held to be an “'instrument' because it defines the rights, duties, entitlements, and liabilities of the parties involved, and therefore, the applicable statute of limitations is the twenty-year statute set forth in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5529(b)(1)."

* In re Estate of Snyder, 13 A.3d at 513 (holding that the twenty-year statute of limitations applied to the action and stating that “this Court has held, in accord with many cases written by our Supreme Court, that when a party signs an instrument which contains a pre-printed word ‘SEAL,’ that party has presumptively signed an instrument under seal.” (citation and brackets omitted)); see also Robert Mallery Lumber Corp. v. B. & F. Assocs., Inc., 440 A.2d 579, 582 (Pa. Super. 1982) (referring to a guaranty as an “instrument”); accord Marcucci v. H & L Developers, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121769 at *21 (E.D. Pa. 2009)