Court Applies Delaware’s Borrowing Statute in Granting Defendants’ Summary Judgment on Statute of Limitations

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to several defendants’ asbestos-containing products while he was working in Michigan. The plaintiff and his wife filed their claim in Delaware and all defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the action was untimely under the Delaware statute of limitations, which they claimed applied pursuant to Delaware’s “Borrowing Statute,”10 Del. C. 8121.

The court agreed and granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The court pointed out that the parties had agreed that Delaware law would govern procedural issues and Michigan law would govern substantive issues of the case. Regarding the Borrowing Statute, the court held: “Under the Borrowing Statute’s clear and unambiguous terms, the Court must apply to such claims ‘the shorter of the Delaware statute of limitations or the statute of limitations of the state where the cause of action arose. . . .’ So, when a personal injury cause of action that arose outside of Delaware is time-barred under the Delaware statute of limitations, the Court must apply the Delaware statute of limitations. Put another way, when a plaintiff alleges personal injury, the maximum limitations period allowable to that plaintiff is Delaware’s two-year statute of limitations. And if the Court determines that Delaware’s two-year statute of limitations bars a plaintiff’s claims, it must then grant summary judgment for the defense.”

Read the full decision here.