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John Inserra
John Inserra
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Continuing Tort and the Statute of Limitations

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The Nebraska Supreme Court defines the issue of a continuing tort action and its relation to the statute of limitations.

We reaffirm our statement in Wischmann and conclude that a claim for damages caused by a continuing tort can be maintained for injuries caused by conduct occurring within the statutory limitations period. Seen in this light, the “continuing tort doctrine” is not a separate doctrine, or an exception to the statute of limitations, as much as it is a straightforward application of the statute of limitations: It simply allows claims to the extent that they accrue within the limitations period. A “continuing tort” ought not to be a rationale by which the statute of limitations policy can be avoided. But when there are continuing or repeated wrongs that are capable of being terminated, a claim accrues every day the wrong continues or each time it is repeated, the result being that the plaintiff is only barred from
recovering those damages that were ascertainable prior to the statutory period preceding the lawsuit.

We conclude, therefore, that in a continuing tort case, where the discovery rule is not applicable, § 25-207 applies according to its terms: A claim for damages from a continuing tort may be brought to the extent that the claim accrued within the statutory limitations period.