Tolling (law)

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Tolling is a legal doctrine which allows for the pausing or delaying of the running of the period of time set forth by a statute of limitations. Certain traditional conditions will toll a statute of limitations if:

  • Plaintiff is a minor.
  • Plaintiff has been deemed insane.
  • Plaintiff has been convicted of a felony and is imprisoned; a major component of the AEDPA.
  • Defendant is in bankruptcy.
  • Defendant is not physically present in a state.
  • Filing of an action which is later voluntarily dismissed.
  • Parties were engaged in good-faith negotiations to resolve the dispute.

The effects of tolling can be curtailed by a statute of repose, which creates an absolute deadline for filling an action, irrespective of reasons for tolling the statute of limitations.

Many jurisdictions have particular peculiarities with regard to tolling. For example, in the state of Virginia, where a party brings an action, and then declares a nonsuit, the statute of limitations is extended for six months.


In certain professional sports leagues, such as in the National Hockey League, the tolling of a player's contract to allow for the pausing or delaying of the commencement of a contract can occur under certain conditions when a player signs his first NHL contract. This tolling is defined as an "entry-level slide", which can occur for a maximum of two seasons. This is demonstrated in Exhibit 16.4 of the current NHL collective bargaining agreement.[1]

In addition, a player's contract can be tolled if a player does not satisfy his end of the playing contract (i.e., refuses to report while his contract is in force).


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