§657-7  Damage to persons or property.  Actions for the recovery of compensation for damage or injury to persons or property shall be instituted within two years after the cause of action accrued, and not after, except as provided in section 657-13. [L 1907, c 113, §1; am L 1913, c 19, §1; RL 1925, §2645; RL 1935, §3916; RL 1945, §10427; RL 1955, §241-7; am L 1957, c 138, §1; HRS §657-7; am L 1972, c 105, §1(e)]


Attorney General Opinions


  Statute does not run against State.  Att. Gen. Op. 63-36.


Law Journals and Reviews


  Where complaint is filed on last day of two-year limitation period and counterclaim is filed within three months thereafter, counterclaim is late and subject to dismissal.  4 HBJ, no. 3, at 32 (1966).

  Tort and Insurance "Reform" in a Common Law Court.  14 UH L. Rev. 55 (1992).

  Latent Disease and Toxic Torts in Hawai`i:  Analysis of the Statute of Limitations, the Rule Against Splitting Causes of Action and Nonidentification Theories of Liability.  15 UH L. Rev. 137 (1993).

  Interspousal Torts:  A Procedural Framework for Hawai`i.  19 UH L. Rev. 377 (1997).


Case Notes


  When claim accrues, discussed.  818 F.2d 210 (1987).

  Claim against asbestos manufacturer was not time-barred because action accrued when plaintiff had knowledge that defendant's negligence may have caused injury.  871 F.2d 891 (1989).

  Where plaintiff alleged that the state department of human services (DHS) violated plaintiff's due process rights by listing plaintiff on the state's child protective services central registry without notice, appellate court affirmed dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §1983 action against DHS as time-barred.  Under this section, the two-year statute of limitations began to accrue from the date plaintiff was aware that plaintiff had been placed on the registry, some three years before plaintiff filed the complaint.  935 F.3d 738 (2019).

  Counterclaim filed more than two years after accident not barred, where arising from the incident which gave rise to the complaint.  252 F. Supp. 988 (1966).

  Not applicable to action for taking and converting personal property.  256 F. Supp. 204, 214 (1966), aff'd 378 F.2d 888 (1974).  See also 78 F. Supp. 421 (1947).

  Statute of limitations begins to run the moment person discovers or should have discovered the negligent act, the damage, and the causal connection; certification of other plaintiffs' claims as class action did not toll statute of limitations.  611 F. Supp. 1285 (1985).

  Where plaintiff knew all that was necessary to trigger the statute of limitations on plaintiff's strict liability claims on date that plaintiff filed worker's compensation claim, plaintiff's strict liability claims were not filed within two years of that date and were accordingly time-barred under this section; defendants' motions for summary judgment on issue of statute of limitations denied as to plaintiff's negligence action, where defendants failed to show that plaintiff had actual or imputed knowledge of defendants' negligence or breach of duty.  854 F. Supp. 702 (1994).

  Two-year limit applied to personal injury claims of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, claims of discriminatory employment practices under §§378-2 and 378-62, 42 U.S.C.  §1983 claim, and claim of discrimination under Title IX.  Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §1983, Title IX, and state law claims barred, where neither the collective bargaining proceedings nor the equal employment opportunity proceedings tolled the statute of limitations.  874 F. Supp. 1095 (1994).

  If plaintiff's multiple sclerosis was a separate and distinct disease from optic neuritis or plaintiff's earlier demyelination, plaintiff's cause of action did not accrue until plaintiff discovered or should have discovered that plaintiff had multiple sclerosis and that injections of vaccine, negligently manufactured by defendant or containing a dangerous defect, caused the multiple sclerosis.  875 F. Supp. 701 (1995).

  Retaliatory discharge claim dismissed as untimely where no genuine issue of equitable tolling on basis of mental incapacity found.  938 F. Supp. 1503 (1996).

  Accrual of plaintiff's causes of action and tolling of limitations period discussed, where plaintiff's claims for personal injury against defendant were barred by operation of two-year statute of limitations.  945 F. Supp. 1334 (1996).

  Where defendant contended that claim for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing was barred by two-year statute of limitations governing damage to persons and property (§657-7), since there is no element in the cause of action for bad faith that requires a plaintiff to suffer personal injury, it is not in reality a cause of action based upon a "personal injury", and the applicable statute of limitations is six years and is found in the catchall provision of §657-1 (§657-1(4)).  986 F. Supp. 1334 (1997).

  It could not be disputed that by the time the underinsured motorist benefits were paid, plaintiff either knew or should have known that defendant's alleged refusal to engage in settlement negotiations caused plaintiff injury; any claims for emotional distress were time-barred. 11 F. Supp. 2d 1204 (1998).

  Limitations period applicable to cause of action for bad faith, discussed; where complaint was not filed until almost one year after the limitations period had lapsed, to the extent that complaint alleged a claim for the tort of bad faith denial of benefits, summary judgment granted in favor of defendant as to plaintiff's claim for tort of bad faith.  11 F. Supp. 2d 1204 (1998).

  Plaintiff may rely on events which occurred prior to the limitations period in order to establish intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, as long as the incidents are constant and closely related to the violations which occurred within the period of limitations.  75 F. Supp. 2d 1113 (1999).

  Where plaintiff alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. §198l which occurred within two-year statute of limitations period, plaintiff may rely on events which occurred outside the limitations period in order to establish a pattern of conduct and/or intent of defendant. 75 F. Supp. 2d 1113 (1999).

  Plaintiff brought forth evidence of a continuing series of conduct which affected plaintiff and plaintiff's work environment; plaintiff's sexual harassment claims may proceed using the evidence, even though much of it predated limitations period; plaintiff may not rely on other proffered evidence because to extent those actions raised claims, statute of limitations had passed.  125 F. Supp. 2d 1224 (2000).

  Applying Hawaii's statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which court found was most analogous to plaintiffs' claims under, inter alia, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and where limitations period began at conclusion of administrative proceedings, plaintiffs were within limitations period.  141 F. Supp. 2d 1243 (2001).

  Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §1983 cause of action for false arrest did not accrue while the criminal charges were pending against plaintiff.  165 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (2001).

  Two-year statute of limitations applied in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act case, where plaintiff sought only attorney's fees and costs for prevailing at the administrative level, not a substantive review of the administrative proceedings.  234 F. Supp. 2d 1156 (2002).

  Where plaintiffs contended that most of their claims were governed by this section, all of plaintiffs' claims were governed by the limitations period established in §663-3; the statute of limitations began to run, as per the terms of §663-3, upon the death of plaintiffs' wife and mother.  396 F. Supp. 2d 1150 (2005).

  Plaintiff neglected to file the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against defendants within the two-year tort statute of limitations; among other things, the charge plaintiff filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Hawaii civil rights commission charge did not toll the statute of limitations for the claim.  468 F. Supp. 2d 1210 (2006).

  Where defendants argued that the intentional infliction of emotional distress/negligent infliction of emotional distress claims were time-barred because the time began to run on the date of discharge, there was a triable issue of fact as to when plaintiffs-intervenors discovered the cause of their alleged emotional distress.  535 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (2008).

  Whether the appropriate analogous statute of limitations in actions for attorney's fees under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was this statute or §657-1(4), discussed.  621 F. Supp. 2d 1013 (2008).

  Where defendants argued that the intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims were time-barred, there was a triable issue of fact as to when plaintiffs discovered the cause of their alleged emotional distress; "discovery rule" applied to the statute of limitations for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims.  795 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (2011).

  Court concluded that plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence claims against apartment association, based on association's alleged refusal to allow owner to have a service dog, were time-barred.  Plaintiff failed to bring claims within the two-year statute of limitations, which began to run, under the discovery rule, on the date that plaintiff received letter from association denying plaintiff's request to keep a service dog.  185 F. Supp. 3d 1247 (2016).

  Court concluded that the last act of alleged discrimination or retaliation that plaintiff, a condominium owner, relied upon in plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim and other negligence claims was the filing of a lien on plaintiff's unit by defendant, an apartment association.  However, plaintiff did not allege any allegedly unlawful acts within the two-year statute of limitations period before the filing of the complaint. Thus, court concluded that plaintiff's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violation of §514B-105 were time-barred.  Summary judgment was granted in favor of defendants.  185 F. Supp. 3d 1247 (2016).

  Where plaintiff claimed that plaintiff was entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations because of defendant's efforts to settle dispute without requiring plaintiff to file a civil suit, the court concluded that it did not apply.  Even though plaintiff was pursuing a claim with the Hawaii civil rights commission, and attempts were made at settlement negotiations, defendants' participation in such negotiations did not create circumstances beyond plaintiff's control that made it impossible for plaintiff to file a complaint within the statute of limitations.  185 F. Supp. 3d 1247 (2016).

  Plaintiff, a consultant, alleged negligence against defendant, interim executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, for, among other things, failing to forward plaintiff's invoices for payment.  Because plaintiff may not have become fully aware of defendant's allegedly negligent acts until after defendant's role as interim executive director had ended, defendant's motion to dismiss was denied, where running of the statute of limitations was not apparent based upon the face of the complaint.  236 F. Supp. 3d 1267 (2017).

  Applies to trespass on land.  20 H. 237 (1910).

  Amendment to complaint concerning punitive damages may be made, when.  30 H. 17 (1927).

  Action to cancel release and prevent its use in action for injuries not subject to defense of laches when action for the injuries not barred.  32 H. 936 (1934), aff'd 75 F.2d 74 (1935).

  Revival of cause of action by statute, whether intended.  33 H. 379 (1935), reh'g den.  33 H. 409 (1935).

  In malpractice action statute begins to run when plaintiff discovers, or acting reasonably should have discovered, defendant's alleged negligence.  50 H. 150, 433 P.2d 220 (1967); 2 H. App. 506, 635 P.2d 244 (1981).

  Statute begins to run for negligent injury to real property when the plaintiff knows or should have discovered that an actionable wrong has been committed.  50 H. 397, 441 P.2d 636 (1968).

  Under HRCP rule 15(c), claim asserted in amended pleadings after statute has run will not be barred if it arose out of a timely pleaded factual situation.  52 H. 563, 481 P.2d 310 (1971).

  Waiver of statute; where one lulls another as by a stipulation into allowing the statute to run out, one cannot assert the statute as a bar.  52 H. 563, 481 P.2d 310 (1971).

  Statute of limitations begins to run the moment person discovers or should have discovered the negligent act, the damage, and the causal connection.  65 H. 84, 648 P.2d 689 (1982).

  Two-year statute of limitations governs actions brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 rather than six-year catchall limitations period of §657-1(4).  73 H. 578, 837 P.2d 1247 (1992).

  Claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability for personal injury from pacemaker governed under statute of limitations in §490:2-725 rather than this section.  74 H. 1, 837 P.2d 1273 (1992).

  Plaintiff's lack of knowledge regarding a legal duty, the breach of which may have caused plaintiff's injury, did not justify application of "discovery rule"; plaintiff's failure to seek legal advice from an attorney did not toll statute of limitations.  81 H. 391, 917 P.2d 718 (1996).

  Where all that had not been discovered by plaintiff was identity of defendant, discovery rule did not apply to toll this section.  82 H. 461, 923 P.2d 403 (1996).

  Issue of when childhood sexual abuse victim discovered, or should have discovered, that alleged injuries were caused by defendant's alleged actions was question of fact for jury; reasonable jury could find that victim filed suit within two years of discovering alleged injuries and cause of those injuries.  83 H. 28, 924 P.2d 196 (1996).

  Reading this section in pari materia with §1-29, the computation of time under the prescribed two-year statute of limitations would exclude the first day on which the cause of action accrues and include the last day, two years thereafter; thus, plaintiff's complaint, filed on the second anniversary of plaintiff's alleged injury, was "within two years after the cause of action accrued", and therefore, timely.  99 H. 281, 54 P.3d 452 (2002).

  Where genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether association of apartment owners, through the use of reasonable diligence, should have discovered the negligent act, the damage, and the causal connection between the two more than two years prior to the initiation of the action, and whether the association exercised reasonable diligence in pursuing its claims, trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendants on the association's negligence claims based on this section.  115 H. 232, 167 P.3d 225 (2007).

  Section 657-5 controls over HRCP rule 5(a); thus, notice of a proposed extension of a judgment pursuant to §657-5 must be provided to the judgment debtor prior to the granting of the extension, even if the debtor is in default and is not required under rule 5(a) to be served with pleadings; although failure to provide notice under this section was error, error was harmless where debtor never appeared to defend debtor's self, had an opportunity to be heard at a HRCP rule 60(b) hearing, and offered no defense on the merits to the original judgment or extension, and thus failed to demonstrate any prejudice.  120 H. 1, 200 P.3d 370 (2008).

  The statutory scheme and legislative history of §386-8 indicated that the phrase "except as limited by chapter 657" was not intended to restrict an employee's right to intervene in a lawsuit that was timely filed by his or her employer; thus, employee was not barred by the statute of limitations under this section to intervene in plaintiff insurer's timely filed suit, and the circuit court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment.  126 H. 406, 271 P.3d 1165 (2012).

  A class action filed in another jurisdiction will toll the applicable Hawaii statute of limitations.  137 H. 217, 368 P.3d 959 (2015).

  Cross-jurisdictional tolling ends when a court in the other jurisdiction issues an order expressly denying a motion for class certification; or expressly denying the last such motion, if there is more than one motion.  Where there is no such express order, cross-jurisdictional tolling ends when that court enters final judgment dismissing the class action.  137 H. 217, 368 P.3d 959 (2015).

  As action for bad faith against insurer is an independent tort, the proper limitation provision for bringing an action should not be that provided in the insurance policy, but rather that provided in this section, which limits causes of action for torts to two years.  88 H. 442 (App.), 967 P.2d 639 (1998).

  Plaintiff's lawsuit for injuries to plaintiff's person while a passenger on defendant's plane was governed and barred by the personal injury statute of limitations embodied in this section notwithstanding that the form of the pleading was a claim in contract.  111 H. 67 (App.), 137 P.3d 381 (2006).

  Cited:  978 F.2d 493 (1992); 198 F. Supp. 78, 90 (1961); 22 H. 140, 141 (1914); 24 H. 258 (1918).

  Discussed:  792 F. Supp. 2d 1111 (2011).