Lujan, a California resident, held a Chase credit card. His account agreement contained a Delaware choice of law clause. The Delaware 3-year limitations period applied to and barred Chase’s (and its debt collector plaintiff’s) suit to collect amounts Lujan owed on the credit card even though the suit was brought in California where but for the choice of law clause, the suit would have been timely under California’s 4-year limitations provision. Plaintiff could not evade the limitations bar by pleading common counts for a book account or account stated rather than for breach of contract. The limitations period is governed by the gravamen of the suit not the legal theory of the complaint. Also, Delaware’s statute tolling the limitations period while the defendant is outside Delaware is not enforced as it would effectively eliminate the statute of limitations.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2 (Tucher, J.); May 22, 2018 (partial publication); 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 467