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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: November 17, 2017 09:56 AM
From: Representative Paul Schemel
To: All House members
Subject: Statute of Limitations on Actions on Instruments under Seal
A section of the Judicial Code which provides for a 20-year statute of limitations on actions on instruments under seal is set to expire in 2018, and I intend to introduce legislation repealing this sunset.

“Instruments under seal” are written agreements that are marked with the words “seal” or “under seal” near the signature line. This simple yet important designation makes such agreements enforceable in a court of law for 20 years, rather than the standard four for ordinary contracts. Because of the seal’s legal significance, any consumer contract under seal must also include, next to the “seal” designation, an express explanation of the 20-year statute of limitations.

The longer statute of limitations for instruments under seal is a part of the common law and, as such, dates to pre-colonial times. The modern legal history of the seal in Pennsylvania reveals no notable abuses or other issues of concern, and it continues to be a useful tool in business and commercial financial transactions. For these reasons, I am satisfied that removing the sunset at this point is both reasonable and appropriate.

I invite you to join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1979