Plaintiff who waited two years to sue cannot avoid statute of limitations based on doctrine of equitable estoppel
In Doe v. Racette, the Plaintiff attempted to sue the perpetrator of repeated sexual abuse after the perpetrator was sent to prison. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1995 and 2000, but was not disclosed to police until December of 2010, because of threats to "murder the victim and his family." A civil action was filed two years later and the perpetrator defended by raising the statute of limitations.
The victim argued that the perpetrator should be precluded from raising the limitation period by the doctrine of equitable estoppel: i.e, by his own threats he prevented the victim from acting within the limitations period. The court of appeals ruled that equitable estoppel could have applied, but that he waited too long after disclosing the activity to police before taking legal action. Therefore his action was dismissed because too much time had passed: "following his public disclosure, plaintiff 'had a primary obligation to secure prompt resolution of his claim in the courts.' "