William & Mary Law Review


Statutes of limitation are deadlines. Although psychologists have discovered a great deal about how people respond to deadlines during the past thirty years, the basic structure of statutes of limitation has not changed since at least 1623. This Article explores the question of whether the received model of statutes of limitation remains optimal in light of what we now know about procrastination, the planning fallacy, loss aversion, intertemporal discounting, the student syndrome, and other features of human cognition. It concludes by suggesting a more modern approach to statutes of limitation that is based on a better understanding of how people actually behave. Specifically, the archaic "all-or-nothing" approach should be abandoned in favor of a more modern, incremental approach that gradually decreases the value of untimely claims as the duration of the plaintiff's delay in filing increases.

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