McDonald v. Hovey,
110 U.S. 619 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McDonald v. Hovey, 110 U.S. 619 (1884)

McDonald v. Hovey

Argued January 30-31, 1884

Decided March 3, 1884

110 U.S. 619


The construction usually given to statutes of limitations, that a disability mentioned in the act must exist at the time the action accrues in order to prevent the statute from running, and that after it has once commenced to run, no subsequent disability will interrupt it, is to be given to Rev.Stat. § 1008, prescribing the time within which writs of error shall be brought or appeals taken to review in this Court judgments, decrees or orders of a circuit or district court in any civil action at law or in equity.

Where English statutes, such as the Statute of Frauds and the Statute of Limitations, have been adopted into our own legislation, the known and settled construction of those statutes by courts of law has been considered as silently incorporated into the acts, or has been received with all the weight of authority.

Page 110 U. S. 620

Upon a revision of statutes, a different interpretation is not to be given to them without some substantial change of phraseology other than what may have been necessary to abbreviate the form of the law. Pennock v. Dialogue, 2 Pet. 1, cited and approved.

The English and American cases construing statutes of limitations as affected by disability provisos reviewed.

The only question decided in this case relates to the taking of the appeal: it was not taken within the two years named in Rev.Stat. § 1008. The appellant set up the disability of imprisonment as cause for the delay.

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