This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
There is one important class of exceptions to the general rule that exceptions to the statute of limitations must of themselves be statutory. This class of exceptions is said by some courts to be those arising out of " invincible necessity,"1 an expression which, though suggestive, is not exact enough to serve as a definite rule. Included within this principle are cases where it is impossible to sue, not on account of any personal disqualification or disability of either party, but because the action of the state in some way has prevented or delayed the institution and progress of litigation. If in some way the paramount authority of the state forbids a suit to be brought, limitations does not run against the plaintiff until such prohibition ceases, and it becomes possible once more to maintain the action.2 So under a statute which prevents suit from being brought against the executor or administrator upon any liability of the decedent for a certain period after the appointment of such executor or administrator, such period of time is usually not counted in determining whether limitations has run.3 If the state has abolished the charter of a city, and has not granted a new one for some time thereafter, limitations does not run against a cause of action against the city during such period.4 If a state of war exists in the jurisdiction where the action would have to be brought, and the civil courts are thereby suspended, such period of time cannot be counted in determining whether limitations have run.5 This rule applies to claims of private citizens6 and to claims of the United States.7 So if for any other reason the state furnishes no court of appropriate jurisdiction for determining the validity of the claim in question, limitations does not run until such court is furnished. So if a suit to recover a tax once paid can be maintained only after an appeal to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the time necessary for such appeal cannot be counted in determining whether limitations has run.8 If the plaintiff is prevented by an injunction issued at the instance of the defendant from prosecuting his cause of action, the time during which the plaintiff was so enjoined cannot be counted in determining whether limitations has run.9 So if the institution of proceedings in bankruptcy prevents the prosecution of claims against the bankrupt, the time during which such prosecution is so prevented is not counted in determining whether limitations has run.10
13 Schofield v. Woolley, 98 Ga. 548; 58 Am. St. Rep. 315; 25 S. E. 769.
14 Riddlesbarger v. Ins. Co., 7 Wall. (U. S.) 386; Arthur v. Homestead F. Ins. Co., 78 N. Y. 462; 34 Am. Rep. 550; Wilkinson v. First Nat. F. Ins. Co., 72 N. Y. 499; 28 Am. Rep. 166; Hocking v. Howard Ins. Co., 130 Pa. 170; 18 Atl. 614; National Ins. Co. v. Brown, 128 Pa. 386; 18 Atl. 389; Farmers' Mut. F. Ins. Co. v. Barr, 94 Pa. 345; Brown v. Hartford Ins.
Co., 7 R. I. 301; Guthrie v. Indemnity Association, 101 Tenn. 643; 49 S. W. 829..
1 Thus inability of the creditor to sue " happening by an invincible necessity constitutes an exception from the statute of limitations and is to be taken to have the same effect as those disabilities which are expressly excepted from the statute." Hill v. Phillips, 14 R. I. 93.
2 Braun v. Sauerwein, 10 Wall. (U. S.) 218.
3 Goldsmith v. Eichold, 94 Ala. 116; 33 Am. St. Rep. 97; 10 So. 80; Blaskower v. Steel, 23 Or. 10G; 31 Pac. 253.
4 Broadfoot v. Fayetteville, 124 N. C. 478; 70 Am. St. Rep. 610; 32 S. E. 804.
5 The Protector. 9 Wall. (U. S.) 687; Hanger v. Abbott, 6 Wall. (U. S.) 532; Selden v. Preston. 11 Bush. (Ky.) 191; Yancy v. Yancy,
5 Heisk. (Tenn.) 353; 13 Am, Rep. 5.
6 The Protector, 9 Wall. (U. S.) 687; Hanger v. Abbott, 6 Wall. (U. S.) 532.
7 United States v. Wiley, 11 Wall. (U. S.) 508.
8 Braun v. Sauerwein, 10 Wall. (U. S.) 218.
9 North British, etc.. Ins. Co. v. Lathrop. 70 Fed. 429; Rose v. Foord, 96 Cal. 152; 30 Pac. 1114.