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Question
I moved from Arizona to New York.  Ex wife remains in Arizona and we have a personal loan we both signed for.  I have not paid it for awhile.  If my ex wife makes a payment, does that extend the statute of limitations for them to sue myself as well, or does it just affect her?  Also, which SOL would apply to me since I live in New York now?

Answer
James:

Good question.  No, you are not responsible.  A payment by one co-debtor does not revive the limitations period in an action against the other co-debtor.

In New York the partial payment of a debt by one of two or more joint debtors does not take the case out of the statute as to the others, and this whether such payment is made before or after the debt has been time barred.

Even if you knew what your ex did, it does not matter.  The law says it makes no difference that the payments were made with the knowledge of the other party liable for the same debt.  To make payments effective against a party to save a claim from the statute, they must have been made by him, or for him by his authorized agent.  That is to say, she must of been acting on your behalf when she paid the partial payment, which does not seem like the case here.  

In NY, the joint liability does not, of itself, make each of several joint debtors the agent of the others.  Prior authorization or subsequent ratification must be shown before statements or acts of your ex-wife will be received in evidence as admissions against you.

However, the payment by your ex-wife does revive the limitation period as to her because it implies that she acknowledges the debt.  

With regards as to which state's statute of limitations applies, NY CPLR 202 provides, in relevant part, that "[a]n action based upon a cause of action accruing without the state cannot be commenced after the expiration of the time limited by the laws of either the state or the place without the state where the cause of action accrued."  Therefore, "[w]hen a nonresident sues on a cause of action accruing outside New York, CPLR 202 requires the cause of action to be timely under the limitation periods of both New York and the jurisdiction where the cause of action accrued."  If the claimed injury is an economic one, the cause of action typically accrues "where the plaintiff resides and sustains the economic impact of the loss."

Another words, the SOL of NY or the state where the loan company is incorporated would apply, which ever is shorter.

Hope this answers your question.

Jason A. Shear, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Admitted in NY & NJ
Law Offices of Jason A. Shear
Consumer Protection Attorneys
Buffalo, New York
Phone: (716) 566-8988
www.jasonshearlaw.com  

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Jason Shear, Esq.

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I can answer questions for residents of New York and New Jersey regarding creditor harassment claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); credit reporting errors under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); debt collection defense/credit card defense; student loan law; and consumer class actions. I can also answer questions relating to consumer debt defense/collection agency defense, specifically pertaining to consumers being sued or harassed by collection agencies or NY collection attorneys. If you live in New York and have been contacted or sued by firms such as: Mel Harris & Associates, Forster & Garbus, Rubin & Rothman, Choi Law Office, Lacy Katzen, Malen & Associates, Solomon & Solomon, Daniels & Norelli, Cohen & Slamowitz, Pressler & Pressler or others; give us a call at (716) 566-8988.

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I have obtained settlements for consumers in NY and NJ under the FDCPA and FCRA. I have successfully defended consumers who were sued by collection agencies/debt purchasers in the New York State courts.

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BA/BS, Accounting & Political Science, Hunter College. Juris Doctor, Univ. at Buffalo Law School. LLM (Criminal Law), University at Buffalo.

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