The Vermont Statutes Online
The statutes were updated in November, 2018, and contain all actions of the
2018 legislative session.
- Subchapter 001: GENERALLY
§ 461. Actions by State
The limitations prescribed in this chapter for the commencement of actions shall apply to the same actions when brought in the name of the State, or otherwise, for the benefit of the State, as in actions brought by citizens.
§ 462. Lands for a public, pious, or charitable use
Nothing contained in this chapter shall extend to lands given, granted, sequestered, or appropriated to a public, pious, or charitable use, or to lands belonging to the State.
§ 463. Counterclaims and cross-claims
A cross-claim or counterclaim shall not be brought if an independent action upon the same claim would have been barred under the provisions of this chapter at the time of commencement of the plaintiff's action, except that a counterclaim arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of plaintiff's claim shall be allowed, to the extent of plaintiff's demand, at any time. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 464. Actions specially limited by other provisions
The provisions of this chapter shall not affect an action otherwise specially limited by law.
§ 465. Limitations or waiving limitation of actions in contracts
Except as otherwise provided by statute, any provision in a contract which limits the time in which an action may be brought under the contract or which waives the statute of limitations shall be null and void. (1961, No. 187.)
§ 466. When action deemed commenced
For the purpose of determining whether a period of limitation prescribed in this chapter has run, an action shall be deemed commenced upon the filing of the complaint with the clerk of the court in which the action is being brought if the action is commenced by filing or upon service of the summons and complaint if the action is commenced by service. (Added 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 233, eff. March 29, 1972.)
- Subchapter 002: ACTIONS LIMITED
§ 501. Recovery of lands
Except as otherwise provided in 32 V.S.A. § 5263, an action for the recovery of lands, or the possession thereof, shall not be maintained, unless commenced within 15 years after the cause of action first accrues to the plaintiff or those under whom he or she claims. (Amended, 1959, No. 218, § 6.)
§ 502. Entry into houses or lands
A person having right or title of entry into houses or lands shall not enter after 15 years from the time such right of entry accrues.
§ 503. Covenant of seisin
Actions brought on a covenant of seisin in a deed of conveyance of land shall be brought within 15 years after the cause of actions accrues, and not after.
§ 504. Covenant of warranty
An action founded on covenant of warranty in a deed of land shall be brought only within eight years after a final decision against the title of the covenantor in such deed.
§ 505. Covenants other than warranty or seisin
An action founded on covenant, contained in a deed of lands, other than the covenants of warranty and seisin, shall be brought within eight years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 506. Judgments
Actions on judgments and actions for the renewal or revival of judgments shall be brought by filing a new and independent action on the judgment within eight years after the rendition of the judgment, and not after. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 33, eff. March 29, 1972; 2009, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 29, 2010.)
§ 507. Specialties
Actions on specialties shall be brought within eight years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 508. Witnessed promissory note
An action brought on a promissory note signed in the presence of an attesting witness shall be commenced within 14 years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 509. Evidence of debt issued by a monied corporation
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to an action brought to enforce payment on any bills, notes, or other evidences of debt issued by a bank or other monied corporation and put into circulation as money.
§ 510. Liability of stockholders and of foreign corporations
An action to enforce the liability of stockholders to the creditors or for the indebtedness of foreign corporations shall be brought within the time limited by the laws of the state under which they are incorporated, and not after. This section shall not be construed so as to extend the time under which such actions may be maintained under the laws of this State.
§ 511. Civil action
A civil action, except one brought upon the judgment or decree of a court of record of the United States or of this or some other state, and except as otherwise provided, shall be commenced within six years after the cause of action accrues and not thereafter. (Amended 1959, No. 261, § 3.)
§ 512. Assault and battery; false imprisonment; slander and libel; injuries to person or property
Actions for the following causes shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not after:
(1) assault and battery;
(2) false imprisonment;
(3) slander and libel;
(4) except as otherwise provided in this chapter, injuries to the person suffered by the act or default of another person, provided that the cause of action shall be deemed to accrue as of the date of the discovery of the injury;
(5) damage to personal property suffered by the act or default of another. (Amended 1967, No. 32, § 2, eff. March 16, 1967; 1975, No. 248 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 513. Skiing, injuries sustained while participating in sport of
An action to recover for injuries sustained while participating in the sport of skiing shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 514. Insufficiency of bridge
An action against a town for the recovery of damages caused by the insufficiency or want of repair of a bridge or culvert shall be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 515. Neglect of official duty of town clerk
An action against a town, or town clerk, to recover damages for neglect of duty of such clerk in relation to a deed, execution, or other instrument delivered to him or her or left at his or her office for record, shall be brought only within six years after a final decision based upon such neglect and adverse to the right, title, or claim of the party under such deed, execution, or instrument, and not after.
§ 516. Misfeasance of sheriff or deputy
Actions against sheriffs for the misconduct or negligence of their deputies shall be commenced within four years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 517. Taxes paid under protest
An action to recover money paid under protest for taxes shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
§ 518. Ionizing radiation injury; latent
(a) An action to recover for ionizing radiation injury or injury from other noxious agents medically recognized as having a prolonged latent development shall be commenced within three years after the person suffering the injury has knowledge or ought reasonably to have knowledge of having suffered the injury and of the cause thereof, but in no event more than 20 years from the date of the last occurrence to which the injury is attributed.
(b) An action or proceeding to recover for latent ionizing radiation injury, or injury from other noxious agents medically recognized as having a prolonged latent development shall not be barred by recovery in any earlier action or proceeding, unless the plaintiff in the earlier action or proceeding was actually awarded damages for the latent injury, or knew or reasonably could be expected to know that such latent injury would occur, and its nature and extent with sufficient particularity to establish entitlement to a specific amount of damages on account thereof. (Added 1967, No. 32, § 1, eff. March 16, 1967.)
§ 519. Emergency medical care
(a) A person who knows that another is exposed to grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the same can be rendered without danger or peril to himself or herself or without interference with important duties owed to others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person unless that assistance or care is being provided by others.
(b) A person who provides reasonable assistance in compliance with subsection (a) of this section shall not be liable in civil damages unless his or her acts constitute gross negligence or unless he or she will receive or expects to receive remuneration. Nothing contained in this subsection shall alter existing law with respect to tort liability of a practitioner of the healing arts for acts committed in the ordinary course of his or her practice.
(c) A person who willfully violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00. (1967, No. 309 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2-4, eff. March 22, 1968.)
§ 520. Payment of wages
Actions brought on a violation of 21 V.S.A. § 342 shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not after. (Added 1977, No. 244 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 1, 1978.)
§ 521. Medical malpractice
Notwithstanding section 512 of this title, and except as provided in sections 518 and 551 of this title, actions to recover damages for injuries to the person arising out of any medical or surgical treatment or operation shall be brought within three years of the date of the incident or two years from the date the injury is or reasonably should have been discovered, whichever occurs later, but not later than seven years from the date of the incident. No statute of limitations shall limit the right to recover damages for injuries to the person arising out of any medical or surgical treatment or operation where fraudulent concealment has prevented the patient's discovery of the negligence. Where the action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the patient's body, which is not discovered within the period of limitation under this section, the action may be commenced within two years of the date of the discovery of the foreign object. (Added 1977, No. 248 (Adj. Sess.).)
§ 522. Actions based on childhood sexual abuse
(a) A civil action brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within six years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or six years of the time the victim discovered that the injury or condition was caused by that act, whichever period expires later. The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury.
(b) If a complaint is filed alleging an act of childhood sexual abuse which occurred more than six years prior to the date the action is commenced, the complaint shall immediately be sealed by the clerk of the court. The complaint shall remain sealed until the answer is served or, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, until the court rules on that motion. If the complaint is dismissed, the complaint and any related papers or pleadings shall remain sealed. Any hearing held in connection with the motion to dismiss shall be in camera.
(c) As used in this section, "childhood sexual abuse" means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than 18 years of age at the time of the act and which act would have constituted a violation of a statute prohibiting lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault in effect at the time the act was committed. (Added 1989, No. 292 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 523. Trade secrets
An action for misappropriation of trade secrets under 9 V.S.A. chapter 143 shall be commenced within six years after the cause of action accrues, and not after. The cause of action shall be deemed to accrue as of the date the misappropriation was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. (Added 1995, No. 90 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2013, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)
§ 524. Actions based on residential building energy standards
(a) Except in the case of fraud, an action under 30 V.S.A. § 51(g) shall be commenced within six years after the cause of action accrues, and not after.
(b) The cause of action shall be deemed to accrue as of the date of the recording of a copy of the certificate in the town land records, the date of filing with the Department of Public Service, or the date of occupancy, whichever comes first.
(c) This section shall apply only to actions under 30 V.S.A. § 51(g), and shall not be construed to affect other rights and remedies provided by statute or common law. (Added 1997, No. 20, § 3.)
- Subchapter 003: COMPUTATION OF TIME; TOLLING OF STATUTE
§ 551. Minority, incapacity, or imprisonment
(a) When a person entitled to bring an action specified in this chapter is a minor, lacks capacity to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability, or is imprisoned at the time the cause of action accrues, such person may bring such action within the times in this chapter respectively limited, after the disability is removed.
(b) If a person entitled to bring an action specified in this chapter becomes unable to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability after the cause of action accrues but before the statute has run, the time during which the person is unable to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability shall not be taken as a part of the time limited for the commencement of the action. (Amended 1979, No. 112 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. date, see note set out below; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)
§ 552. Absence from State
If a person is out of the State when a cause of action of a personal nature mentioned in this chapter accrues against him or her, the action may be commenced within the time limited therefor after such person comes into the State. If a person is absent from and resides out of the State after a cause of action accrues against him or her and before the statute has run, and he or she has not known property within the State which can by common process of law be attached, the time of his or her absence shall not be taken as a part of the time limited for the commencement of the action. The provisions of this section shall not extend to a cause of action accruing in another state or government, when the parties thereto at the time of the accruing of such cause of action are residents of such other state or government.
§ 553. Member of Armed Services; tolling statute of limitations
When an inhabitant of this State is in the Military or Naval Service of the United States or is a member of the Vermont National Guard and has been ordered to State active duty and, at the time of entering such service or duty, had a cause of action against another person, or another person had a cause of action against him or her, the time spent in such Military or Naval Service outside this State or the time spent in State active duty shall not be taken as part of the time limited for the bringing of an action by or against him or her founded on such causes. The limitation period for a cause of action shall be tolled during the duration of the person's out-of-state Military or Naval Service, or State Active Duty Service, plus an additional 60 days. (Amended 2011, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 5a.)
§ 554. Alien enemies in time of war
When a person is disabled to prosecute an action by being a subject or citizen of a country at war with the United States, the time of the continuance of such war shall not be deemed part of the respective periods limited in this chapter for the commencement of actions.
§ 555. Fraud
When a person entitled to bring a personal action is prevented from so doing by the fraudulent concealment of the cause of such action by the person against whom it lies, the period prior to the discovery of such cause of action shall be excluded in determining the time limited for the commencement thereof.
§ 555a. Fraudulent transfers
Limitations of actions with respect to fraudulent transfers or obligations under 9 V.S.A. chapter 57, subchapter 1, shall be governed by the provisions of 9 V.S.A. § 2293. (Added 1995, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)
§ 556. Injunction staying action
When the commencement of an action is stayed by injunction, the time during which such injunction is in force shall not be deemed a part of the time in this chapter limited for the commencement of such action.
§ 557. Death of party
(a) If a person, by or against whom an action may be brought, dies before the expiration of the time within which such action may be commenced as provided by this chapter or dies within 30 days after the expiration of such times, the period of limitation as to such action shall cease to operate at the date of his or her death. After the issuance of letters testamentary or of administration, such action, if the cause of action survives, may be commenced by or against the executor or administrator within two years, and not after.
(b) If commissioners are appointed on such estate and the claim against the decedent is a claim proper for the consideration of the commissioners, the same shall be presented to the commissioners within the time allowed other creditors to present their claims. Such claim may be presented to the commissioners any time within 15 years after the date of such death, and not after, but such claim shall be presented in accordance with the provisions of 14 V.S.A. chapter 65.
§ 558. New action after failure of original action
(a) The plaintiff may commence a new action for the same cause within one year after the determination of the original action, when the original action has been commenced within the time limited by any statute of this State, and the action has been determined for any of the following reasons:
(1) where the action is dismissed for insufficiency of process caused by unavoidable accident or by default or neglect of the officer to whom the process was committed;
(2) where the action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the subject matter or person, improper venue, or failure to join an indispensable party;
(3) where the action is defeated or avoided by the death of a party thereto;
(4) where judgment for the plaintiff is reversed on appeal on one of the grounds listed in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.
(b) If the cause of action survives, the plaintiff's executor or administrator may commence the action within one year after the determination of the original action. If an executor or administrator is not appointed within that time, then the new action may be commenced within one year after letters testamentary or of administration are granted. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 34, eff. March 29, 1972; 1973, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. date, see note set out below.)
§ 559. Rights not affected by a descent cast
The right of a person to the possession of real estate shall not be impaired or affected by a descent being cast in consequence of the death of a person in possession of such estate.
§ 560. Childhood sexual abuse
When a person entitled to bring an action for damages as a result of childhood sexual abuse is unable to commence the action as a direct result of the damages caused by the sexual abuse, the period during which the person is incapacitated shall not be taken as a part of the time limited for commencement of the action. (Added 1989, No. 292 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
- Subchapter 004: NEW PROMISE AND PAYMENT
§ 591. New promise must be in writing and signed
An acknowledgment or promise shall not be held to affect a defense made under the provisions of this chapter, unless such acknowledgment or promise is in writing signed by the party affected thereby.
§ 592. Indorsement or memorandum of payment
This chapter shall not alter or take away the effect of the payment of any principal or interest; but an indorsement or memorandum of such payment made upon a promissory note, bill of exchange, or other writing, unless in the handwriting of the party making the payment, shall not be proof of the payment sufficient to take the cause out of the provisions of this chapter.
§ 593. Joint promisors-Promise or payment by one
When there are two or more joint contractors, or joint executors, or administrators of a contractor, such joint contractor, executor, or administrator shall not lose the benefit of the provisions of this chapter, so as to be chargeable by reason of an acknowledgment, promise, or payment made or signed by any other of them.
§ 594. Recovery where action not barred as to all
In actions against two or more joint contractors, or joint executors or administrators of a contractor, if it appears on the trial that the plaintiff is barred by the provisions of this chapter as to any of the defendants, but is entitled to recover against any other of them by virtue of a new acknowledgment or promise, or otherwise, judgment shall be given for the plaintiff as to any of the defendants against whom he or she is entitled to recover, and for the other defendant or defendants against the plaintiff.
§ 595. Repealed. 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 237, eff. March 29, 1972.