Bill to Revive Time-Barred Claims Passes House

A bill that would open a statutory two-year window to bring civil claims that are time-barred by the statute of limitations passed the House on April 7 by a vote of 149 to 52.

HB 951 appears to respond to the drama that ensued after a constitutional amendment passed by the House and Senate was determined to be ineligible to be on the May 18 ballot due to an error made by the Department of State. An attempt to pass an emergency measure to get the question on the ballot ended in March 2021 when Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward determined such a move did not meet the emergency status criteria required by the constitution.

Reviving time barred claims by passing a statute has long been the subject of debate in Harrisburg. Similar measures to HB 951 have previously passed the House but failed to make it through the Senate due in large part to constitutional concerns around vested rights and violation of the Remedies Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. That is why the legislature passed HB 14, to re-start the effort to amend the constitution. The effort to pass a statutory reviver of time barred claims flies in the face of the need to first amend the constitution.

HB 951 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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