Limitations of Actions and Suits

ORS 12.020
When action deemed begun


Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, for the purpose of determining whether an action has been commenced within the time limited, an action shall be deemed commenced as to each defendant, when the complaint is filed, and the summons served on the defendant, or on a codefendant who is a joint contractor, or otherwise united in interest with the defendant.


If the first publication of summons or other service of summons in an action occurs before the expiration of 60 days after the date on which the complaint in the action was filed, the action against each person of whom the court by such service has acquired jurisdiction shall be deemed to have been commenced upon the date on which the complaint in the action was filed. [Amended by 1973 c.731 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Where federal matter or federal cause of action is involved, time for commencement of action is not governed by this statute, but by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 2. Wells v. City of Portland, 102 FRD 796 (1984)

Substituted service under ORCP 7D was sufficient for court to acquire jurisdiction within period of limitation and mailing of the complaint was not also necessary. Korgan v. Gantenbein, 74 Or App 154, 702 P2d 427 (1985)

Limitations period of this section was not tolled by ORS 12.150 where defendant foreign corporation could have been served under the long arm statute. Bancorp Leasing and Financial Corp. v. Agusta Aviation Corporation, 813 F2d 272 (1987)

Action under federal maritime law, which is subject to federal statute of limitations, was commenced at time complaint was filed, and this section, which purports to make time of service time of commencement for limitations purposes, was inapplicable. Hurley v. Shinmei Kisen K.K., 98 Or App 180, 779 P2d 1041 (1989), Sup Ct review denied

With regard to commencement of action, specific procedures control over general procedures in this section. State v. 132.85 Acres, 114 Or App 339, 834 P2d 526 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

Where plaintiff is indigent person who is incarcerated in prison facility, civil action is deemed "filed" when complaint is received by court. Stull v. Hoke, 326 Or 72, 948 P2d 722 (1997)

Sixty-day period during which service of summons allows action to be deemed commenced on date complaint was filed is not affected by federal rule establishing longer maximum time for service. Torre v. Brickey, 278 F3d 917 (9th Cir. 2002)

Service of corrected summons within 60 days after filing of complaint does not relate back unless original summons providing notice was served on proper defendant prior to running of statute of limitations. Smith v. American Legion Post 83, 188 Or App 139, 71 P3d 136 (2003), Sup Ct review denied

Where amended complaint does not add additional parties, service of summons and copy of amended complaint within 60 days after filing of original complaint is sufficient to relate back to filing date of unserved original complaint. Kowalski v. Hereford L'Oasis, 190 Or App 236, 79 P3d 319 (2003), Sup Ct review denied

Provision that action commences upon filing if summons is served within following 60 days applies to claims under Oregon Tort Claims Act. Baker v. City of Lakeside, 343 Or 70, 164 P3d 259 (2007)

Chapter 12

Notes of Decisions

An action for personal injuries caused by breach of implied warranty is clearly one for which "different limitation is prescribed by statute" under ORS 12.010 and thus is not governed by provisions of this chapter. Redfield v. Mead, Johnson & Co., 266 Or 273, 512 P2d 776 (1973)


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Jun. 26, 2021