The Risk Manager, Winter 2008

What follows is an update of a heads- up item we print in our Newsletter in leap years:

What does the extra day, February 29, in 2008 mean to Kentucky lawyers when computing time deadlines? At least one state (Oregon) stung a lawyer by using 365 days as the measure of a one year limitation period even though the year in issue was a leap year with 366 days.

KRS 446.010, Construction of Statutes, Definitions, provides that “Year” means calendar year. The Kentucky case we located which considered the Leap Year question reasoned that since “Year” means calendar year it is immaterial that Leap Year includes an extra day. Proceedings were, therefore, not barred because a party got the benefit of an extra day to get to court (Rice v. Blair, 158 Ky. 680, 166 S.W. 180, (1914)).

What about when the 28th and 29th of February occur during a limitations period to be computed of less than one year? We are unaware of consideration of this question by Kentucky legal authority. One secondary authority provides that when these two days occur in any period of days less than one year they must be computed as two days (Sec. 10. Day, 74 Am Jur 2d. Time).

The key is to be safe, not sorry. When calendaring a deadline, count a year time limitation as 365 days and the 28th and 29th of February 2008 as two days. That way you can’t go wrong.