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Tennessee

Civil Statute of Limitations

  • 1-year SOL For All Personal Tort Actions : There is no special statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse. Personal tort actions must be brought within one year of the date the cause of action accrued (began to run, in most instances, when the injury was inflicted). Tenn. Code. Ann. 28-3-104 (West 2008).
     
  • Tolling If The Person Injured Was Under 18 : The suit can be brought within one year of reaching 18 (i.e., the limitations period will expire the day before a victim's 18th birthday). Tenn. Code. Ann. 28-1-106 (West 2008).
     
  • Common Law Discovery Rule : While the discovery rule is applied in common law, it is strictly applied. Hunter v. Brown, 955 S.W.2d 49 (Tenn. 1997) (statute of limitations begins to run when injury is discovered, or in the exercise of due care and diligence, plaintiff discovers that he or she has a right of action; limitations period is tolled only during period when plaintiff has no knowledge at all that a wrong has occurred and, as a reasonable person, was not put on inquiry.) Note that because the Plaintiff in Hunter had continuous memory of her abuse, the court stated that the case did not fairly raise the issue of repressed memory and specifically reserved decision on the applicability of the discovery rule to repressed memory "for another day."
     
Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • SOL Depending on the Nature of the Offense; 15-Year SOL for a Class A Felony; 8-Year SOL for a Class B Felony; 4-year SOL for a Class C or Class D Felony : See Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008). Class A felonies include aggravated rape of a child ( 39-13-531) and rape of a child more than three (3) years of age but less than thirteen (13) years of age ( 39-13-522). Class B felonies include aggravated rape ( 39-13-502) and Rape ( 39-13-503). Class C and D felonies include statutory rape by an authority figure ( 39-13-532) Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008), Sexual battery by an authority figure of a child 13 yrs or older but less than 18 yrs old ( 39-13-527), Incest ( 39-15-302).
     
  • Tolled until age 18 or 4 years after the offense was committed if committed against a child prior to July 1, 1997 : and offense is Aggravated rape ( 39-13-502), Rape ( 39-13-503), Aggravated sexual battery ( 39-13-504), Sexual battery ( 39-13-505), or Incest ( 39-15-302) unless the offense was committed prior to November 1, 1989. Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008).
     
  • Tolled until age 21 if committed against a child prior to July 1, 1997 : and offense is Aggravated rape ( 39-13-502), Rape ( 39-13-503), Aggravated sexual battery ( 39-13-504), Sexual battery ( 39-13-505), Incest, or Rape of a child more than three but under 13 ( 39-13-522). Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008).
     
  • SOL of 25 years after victim turns 18: for any offense committed against a child on or after June 20, 2006 : that constitutes any of the following criminal offenses: Aggravated rape ( 39-13-502), Rape ( 39-13-503), Aggravated sexual battery ( 39-13-504), Sexual battery ( 39-13-505), Rape of a child more than three (3) years of age but less than thirteen (13) years of age ( 39-13-522), Sexual battery by an authority figure of a child 13 yrs or older but less than 18 yrs old ( 39-13-527) or Incest ( 39-15-302). Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008).
     
  • SOL of 25 years after victim turns 18: for any offense committed against a child on or after July 1, 2007 : that constitutes Aggravated rape of a child (where victim is 3 years of age or less) ( 39-13-531) or Statutory rape by an authority figure ( 39-13-532). Tenn. Code. Ann. 40-2-101 (West 2008).
     


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At-a-Glance

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