A 2-year statute of limitations for claims in tort may apply, rather than the 4-year statute of limitations for claims in contract, where the defect alleged by the plaintiff revolves around a dangerous product instead of a defective product. Seguros Popular v. Raytheon Aircraft, Case No. 05-1002-JTM, U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, Aug. 30, 2005.

An airplane manufactured by the defendant crashed on Jan. 7, 2003. On Jan. 4, 2005, the plaintiff commenced an action including claims of breach of warranty, negligent design, and negligent manufacture. The defendant was served on May 2, 2005 and subsequently moved to dismiss under the 2-year statute of limitations for torts. The plaintiff argued that a 4-year statute of limitations for claims in contract applied. The district court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim. It held that the line between tort and contract must be delineated by considering the nature of the defect, the type of risk, and the manner in which the injury or damage arose. It held that in cases where a defective product causes mere economic damage, a claim for breach of warranty, rather than tort, would be appropriate. However, in cases where a defect creates a danger of sudden and imminent hazard to human life, the action sounds in tort and therefore must comply with the 2-year statute of limitations.

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