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Civil Code

Book III. Of the Different Modes of Acquiring the Ownership of Things

Title XXIV. Prescription

Chapter 1. General Principles

Section 1. Prescription

Art. 3445. Kinds of prescription

There are three kinds of prescription: acquisitive prescription, liberative prescription, and prescription of nonuse.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3446. Acquisitive prescription

Acquisitive prescription is a mode of acquiring ownership or other real rights by possession for a period of time.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3447. Liberative prescription

Liberative prescription is a mode of barring of actions as a result of inaction for a period of time.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3448. Prescription of nonuse

Prescription of nonuse is a mode of extinction of a real right other than ownership as a result of failure to exercise the right for a period of time.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3449. Renunciation of prescription

Prescription may be renounced only after it has accrued.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3450. Express or tacit renunciation

Renunciation may be express or tacit.  Tacit renunciation results from circumstances that give rise to a presumption that the advantages of prescription have been abandoned.

Nevertheless, with respect to immovables, renunciation of acquisitive prescription must be express and in writing.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3451. Capacity to renounce

To renounce prescription, one must have capacity to alienate.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3452. Necessity for pleading prescription

Prescription must be pleaded.  Courts may not supply a plea of prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3453. Rights of creditors and other interested parties

Creditors and other persons having an interest in the acquisition of a thing or in the extinction of a claim or of a real right by prescription may plead prescription, even if the person in whose favor prescription has accrued renounces or fails to plead prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3454. Computation of time

In computing a prescriptive period, the day that marks the commencement of prescription is not counted.  Prescription accrues upon the expiration of the last day of the prescriptive period, and if that day is a legal holiday, prescription accrues upon the expiration of the next day that is not a legal holiday.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3455. Computation of time by months

If the prescriptive period consists of one or more months, prescription accrues upon the expiration of the day of the last month of the period that corresponds with the date of the commencement of prescription, and if there is no corresponding day, prescription accrues upon the expiration of the last day of the period.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3456. Computation of time by years

If a prescriptive period consists of one or more years, prescription accrues upon the expiration of the day of the last year that corresponds with the date of the commencement of prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3457. Prescription established by legislation only

There is no prescription other than that established by legislation.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Section 2. Peremption

Art. 3458. Peremption;  effect

Peremption is a period of time fixed by law for the existence of a right.  Unless timely exercised, the right is extinguished upon the expiration of the peremptive period.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3459. Application of rules of prescription

The provisions on prescription governing computation of time apply to peremption.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3460. Peremption need not be pleaded

Peremption may be pleaded or it may be supplied by a court on its own motion at any time prior to final judgment.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3461. Renunciation, interruption, or suspension ineffective

Peremption may not be renounced, interrupted, or suspended.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Chapter 2. Interruption and Suspension of Prescription

Section 1. Interruption of Prescription

Art. 3462. Interruption by filing of suit or by service of process

Prescription is interrupted when the owner commences action against the possessor, or when the obligee commences action against the obligor, in a court of competent jurisdiction and venue.  If action is commenced in an incompetent court, or in an improper venue, prescription is interrupted only as to a defendant served by process within the prescriptive period.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3463. Duration of interruption;  abandonment or discontinuance of suit

An interruption of prescription resulting from the filing of a suit in a competent court and in the proper venue or from service of process within the prescriptive period continues as long as the suit is pending. Interruption is considered never to have occurred if the plaintiff abandons, voluntarily dismisses the action at any time either before the defendant has made any appearance of record or thereafter, or fails to prosecute the suit at the trial.

A settlement and subsequent dismissal of a defendant pursuant to a transaction or compromise shall not qualify as a voluntary dismissal pursuant to this Article.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983; Acts 1999, No. 1263, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2018, No. 443, §1.

Art. 3464. Interruption by acknowledgment

Prescription is interrupted when one acknowledges the right of the person against whom he had commenced to prescribe.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3465. Interruption of acquisitive prescription

Acquisitive prescription is interrupted when possession is lost.

The interruption is considered never to have occurred if the possessor recovers possession within one year or if he recovers possession later by virtue of an action brought within the year.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3466. Effect of interruption

If prescription is interrupted, the time that has run is not counted.  Prescription commences to run anew from the last day of interruption.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Section 2. Suspension of Prescription

Art. 3467. Persons against whom prescription runs

Prescription runs against all persons unless exception is established by legislation.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3468. Incompetents

Prescription runs against absent persons and incompetents, including minors and interdicts, unless exception is established by legislation.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1984; Acts 1991, No. 107, §1.

Art. 3469. Suspension of prescription

Prescription is suspended as between: the spouses during marriage, parents and children during minority, tutors and minors during tutorship, and curators and interdicts during interdiction, and caretakers and minors during minority.

A "caretaker" means a person legally obligated to provide or secure adequate care for a child, including a tutor, guardian, or legal custodian.

Acts 1988, No. 676, §1.

{{NOTE:  SEE ACTS 1988, NO. 676, §2.}

Art. 3470. Prescription during delays for inventory;  vacant succession

Prescription runs during the delay the law grants to a successor for making an inventory and for deliberating.  Nevertheless, it does not run against a beneficiary successor with respect to his rights against the succession.

Prescription runs against a vacant succession even if an administrator has not been appointed.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3471. Limits of contractual freedom

A juridical act purporting to exclude prescription, to specify a longer period than that established by law, or to make the requirements of prescription more onerous, is null.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3472. Effect of suspension

The period of suspension is not counted toward accrual of prescription.  Prescription commences to run again upon the termination of the period of suspension.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Chapter 3. Acquisitive Prescription

Section 1. Immovables:  Prescription of Ten Years in Good Faith and Under Just Title

Art. 3473. Prescription of ten years

Ownership and other real rights in immovables may be acquired by the prescription of ten years.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3474. Incompetents

This prescription runs against absent persons and incompetents, including minors and interdicts.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983; Acts 1991, No. 107, §1.

Art. 3475. Requisites

The requisites for the acquisitive prescription of ten years are: possession of ten years, good faith, just title, and a thing susceptible of acquisition by prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3476. Attributes of possession

The possessor must have corporeal possession, or civil possession preceded by corporeal possession, to acquire a thing by prescription.

The possession must be continuous, uninterrupted, peaceable, public, and unequivocal.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3477. Precarious possessor;  inability to prescribe

Acquisitive prescription does not run in favor of a precarious possessor or his universal successor.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3478. Termination of precarious possession;  commencement of prescription

A co-owner, or his universal successor, may commence to prescribe when he demonstrates by overt and unambiguous acts sufficient to give notice to his co-owner that he intends to possess the property for himself.  The acquisition and recordation of a title from a person other than a co-owner thus may mark the commencement of prescription.

Any other precarious possessor, or his universal successor, may commence to prescribe when he gives actual notice to the person on whose behalf he is possessing that he intends to possess for himself.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3479. Particular successor of precarious possessor

A particular successor of a precarious possessor who takes possession under an act translative of ownership possesses for himself, and prescription runs in his favor from the commencement of his possession.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3480. Good faith

For purposes of acquisitive prescription, a possessor is in good faith when he reasonably believes, in light of objective considerations, that he is owner of the thing he possesses.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3481. Presumption of good faith

Good faith is presumed.  Neither error of fact nor error of law defeats this presumption.  This presumption is rebutted on proof that the possessor knows, or should know, that he is not owner of the thing he possesses.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3482. Good faith at commencement of prescription

It is sufficient that possession has commenced in good faith; subsequent bad faith does not prevent the accrual of prescription of ten years.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3483. Just title

A just title is a juridical act, such as a sale, exchange, or donation, sufficient to transfer ownership or another real right.  The act must be written, valid in form, and filed for registry in the conveyance records of the parish in which the immovable is situated.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3484. Transfer of undivided part of an immovable

A just title to an undivided interest in an immovable is such only as to the interest transferred.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3485. Things susceptible of prescription

All private things are susceptible of prescription unless prescription is excluded by legislation.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Section 2. Immovables:  Prescription of Thirty Years

Art. 3486. Immovables;  prescription of thirty years

Ownership and other real rights in immovables may be acquired by the prescription of thirty years without the need of just title or possession in good faith.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3487. Restriction as to extent of possession

For purposes of acquisitive prescription without title, possession extends only to that which has been actually possessed.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3488. Applicability of rules governing prescription of ten years

The rules governing acquisitive prescription of ten years apply to the prescription of thirty years to the extent that their application is compatible with the prescription of thirty years.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Section 3. Movables:  Acquisitive Prescription of Three Years or Ten Years

Art. 3489. Movables;  acquisitive prescription

Ownership and other real rights in movables may be acquired either by the prescription of three years or by the prescription of ten years.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3490. Prescription of three years

One who has possessed a movable as owner, in good faith, under an act sufficient to transfer ownership, and without interruption for three years, acquires ownership by prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Art. 3491. Prescription of ten years

One who has possessed a movable as owner for ten years acquires ownership by prescription.  Neither title nor good faith is required for this prescription.

Acts 1982, No. 187, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1983.

Chapter 4. Liberative Prescription

Section 1. One Year Prescription

Art. 3492. Delictual actions

Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year.  This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.  It does not run against minors or interdicts in actions involving permanent disability and brought pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act or state law governing product liability actions in effect at the time of the injury or damage.

Acts 1992, No. 621, §1.

Art. 3493. Damage to immovable property;  commencement and accrual of prescription

When damage is caused to immovable property, the one year prescription commences to run from the day the owner of the immovable acquired, or should have acquired, knowledge of the damage.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 1-A. Two-Year Prescription

Art. 3493.10. Delictual actions;  two-year prescription;  criminal act

   Delictual actions which arise due to damages sustained as a result of an act defined as a crime of violence under Chapter 1 of Title 14 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, except as provided in Article 3496.2, are subject to a liberative prescription of two years. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.

            Acts 1999, No. 832, §1; Acts 2016, No. 629, §1.

Section 2. Three Year Prescription

Art. 3494. Actions subject to a three-year prescription

The following actions are subject to a liberative prescription of three years:

(1) An action for the recovery of compensation for services rendered, including payment of salaries, wages, commissions, professional fees, fees and emoluments of public officials, freight, passage, money, lodging, and board;

(2) An action for arrearages of rent and annuities;

(3) An action on money lent;

(4) An action on an open account; and

(5) An action to recover underpayments or overpayments of royalties from the production of minerals, provided that nothing herein applies to any payments, rent, or royalties derived from state-owned properties.

Acts 1986, No. 1031, §1; Acts 2018, No. 471, §1.

Art. 3495. Commencement and accrual of prescription

This prescription commences to run from the day payment is exigible.  It accrues as to past due payments even if there is a continuation of labor, supplies, or other services.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3496. Action against attorney for return of papers

An action by a client against an attorney for the return of papers delivered to him for purposes of a law suit is subject to a liberative prescription of three years.  This prescription commences to run from the rendition of a final judgment in the law suit or the termination of the attorney-client relationship.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3496.1. Action against a person for abuse of a minor

An action against a person for abuse of a minor is subject to a liberative prescriptive period of three years.  This prescription commences to run from the day the minor attains majority, and this prescription, for all purposes, shall be suspended until the minor reaches the age of majority.  This prescriptive period shall be subject to any exception of peremption provided by law.

Acts 1992, No. 322, §1.

Art. 3496.2. Action against a person for sexual assault

A delictual action against a person for any act of sexual assault, as defined in R.S. 46:2184, is subject to a liberative prescription of three years. This prescription commences to run from the day the injury or damage is sustained or the day the victim is notified of the identity of the offender by law enforcement or a judicial agency, whichever is later. This prescriptive period shall be subject to any exception of peremption provided by law.

            Acts 2016, No. 629, §1.

Section 3. Five Year Prescription

Art. 3497. Actions subject to a five year prescription

The following actions are subject to a liberative prescription of five years:

An action for annulment of a testament;

An action for the reduction of an excessive donation;

An action for the rescission of a partition and warranty of portions; and

An action for damages for the harvesting of timber without the consent of the owner.

This prescription is suspended in favor of minors, during minority.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984; Acts 2009, No. 107, §1.

Art. 3497.1. Actions for arrearages of spousal support or of installment payments for contributions made to a spouse's education or training

An action to make executory arrearages of spousal support or installment payments awarded for contributions made by one spouse to the education or training of the other spouse is subject to a liberative prescription of five years.

Acts 1984, No. 147, §1, eff. June 25, 1984; Acts 1990, No. 1008, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1997, No. 605, §1, eff. July 3, 1997.

Art. 3498. Actions on negotiable and nonnegotiable instruments

Actions on instruments, whether negotiable or not, and on promissory notes, whether negotiable or not, are subject to a liberative prescription of five years.  This prescription commences to run from the day payment is exigible.

Acts 1993, No. 901, §§1 and 2, eff. July 1, 1993; Acts 1993, No. 948, §§6 and 9, eff. June 25, 1993.

{{NOTE: ACTS 1992, NO. 1133, §1 ADDED SECTION 3-A OF CHAPTER 4, TITLE XXIV, BOOK III CONTAINING ART. 3498.  THIS PROVISION WAS REPEALED BY ACTS 1993, NO. 901, §2, EFF. JULY 1, 1993, AND BY ACTS 1993, NO. 948, §9, EFF. JUNE 25, 1993.}}

Section 4. Ten Year Prescription

Art. 3499. Personal action

Unless otherwise provided by legislation, a personal action is subject to a liberative prescription of ten years.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3500. Action against contractors and architects

An action against a contractor or an architect on account of defects of construction, renovation, or repair of buildings and other works is subject to a liberative prescription of ten years.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3501. Prescription and revival of money judgments

A money judgment rendered by a trial court of this state is prescribed by the lapse of ten years from its signing if no appeal has been taken, or, if an appeal has been taken, it is prescribed by the lapse of ten years from the time the judgment becomes final.

An action to enforce a money judgment rendered by a court of another state or a possession of the United States, or of a foreign country, is barred by the lapse of ten years from its rendition; but such a judgment is not enforceable in this state if it is prescribed, barred by the statute of limitations, or is otherwise unenforceable under the laws of the jurisdiction in which it was rendered.

Any party having an interest in a money judgment may have it revived before it prescribes, as provided in Article 2031 of the Code of Civil Procedure.  A judgment so revived is subject to the prescription provided by the first paragraph of this Article.  An interested party may have a money judgment rendered by a court of this state revived as often as he may desire.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3501.1. Actions for arrearages of child support

An action to make executory arrearages of child support is subject to a liberative prescription of ten years.

Acts 1997, No. 605, §1, eff. July 3, 1997.

Section 5. Thirty Year Prescription

Art. 3502. Action for the recognition of a right of inheritance

An action for the recognition of a right of inheritance and recovery of the whole or a part of a succession is subject to a liberative prescription of thirty years.  This prescription commences to run from the day of the opening of the succession.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Section 6. Interruption and Suspension of Liberative Prescription

Art. 3503. Solidary obligors

When prescription is interrupted against a solidary obligor, the interruption is effective against all solidary obligors and their successors.

When prescription is interrupted against a successor of a solidary obligor, the interruption is effective against other successors if the obligation is indivisible.  If the obligation is divisible, the interruption is effective against other successors only for the portions for which they are bound.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, Jan. 1, 1984.

Art. 3504. Surety

When prescription is interrupted against the principal debtor, the interruption is effective against his surety.

Acts 1983, No. 173, §1, eff. Jan 1, 1984.

Section 7. Extension of Liberative Prescription

Art. 3505. Acts extending liberative prescription

After liberative prescription has commenced to run but before it accrues, an obligor may by juridical act extend the prescriptive period.  An obligor may grant successive extensions.  The duration of each extension may not exceed one year.

Acts 2013, No. 88, §1.

Art. 3505.1. Formal requirements

An extension of liberative prescription must be express and in writing.

Acts 2013, No. 88, §1.

Art. 3505.2. Commencement of period of extension

The period of extension commences to run on the date of the juridical act granting it.

Acts 2013, No. 88, §1.

Art. 3505.3. Effect of extension on other obligors and obligees

An extension of liberative prescription is effective against only the obligor granting it but benefits all joint obligees of an indivisible obligation and all solidary obligees.

An extension of liberative prescription by a principal obligor is effective against his surety.  An extension of liberative prescription by a surety is effective only if the principal obligor has also granted it.

Acts 2013, No. 88, §1.

Art. 3505.4. Interruption or suspension during a period of extension

Prescription may be interrupted or suspended during the period of extension.

Acts 2013, No. 88, §1.

Title XXV. Of the Signification of Sundry Terms of Law Employed in This Code

Art. 3506. General definitions of terms

Whenever the terms of law, employed in this Code, have not been particularly defined therein, they shall be understood as follows:

1.  The masculine gender comprehends the two sexes, whenever the provision is not one, which is evidently made for one of them only:

Thus, the word man or men includes women; the word son or sons includes daughters; the words he, his and such like, are applicable to both males and females.

2.  The singular is often employed to designate several persons or things: the heir, for example, means the heirs, where there are more than one.

3.  Abandoned.--In the context of a father or mother abandoning his child, abandonment is presumed when the father or mother has left his child for a period of at least twelve months and the father or mother has failed to provide for the child's care and support, without just cause, thus demonstrating an intention to permanently avoid parental responsibility.

4.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

5.  Assigns.--Assigns means those to whom rights have been transmitted by particular title; such as sale, donation, legacy, transfer or cession.

6, 7.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

8. Children.  Under this name are included those persons born of the marriage, those adopted, and those whose filiation to the parent has been established in the manner provided by law, as well as descendants of them in the direct line.

A child born of marriage is a child conceived or born during the marriage of his parents or adopted by them.

A child born outside of marriage is a child conceived and born outside of the marriage of his parents.

9-11.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

12.  Family.--Family in a limited sense, signifies father, mother, and children.  In a more extensive sense, it comprehends all the individuals who live under the authority of another, and includes the servants of the family.

It is also employed to signify all the relations who descend from a common root.

13-22.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

23.  Repealed by Acts 1987, No. 125, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

24-27.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

28.  Successor.--Successor is, generally speaking, the person who takes the place of another.

There are in law two sorts of successors:  the universal successor, such as the heir, the universal legatee, and the general legatee; and the successor by particular title, such as the buyer, donee or legatee of particular things, the transferee.

The universal successor represents the person of the deceased, and succeeds to all his rights and charges.

The particular successor succeeds only to the rights appertaining to the thing which is sold, ceded or bequeathed to him.

29-31.  Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 503, §1.

32.  Third Persons.--With respect to a contract or judgment, third persons are all who are not parties to it.  In case of failure, third persons are, particularly, those creditors of the debtor who contracted with him without knowledge of the rights which he had transferred to another.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 607, §1; Acts 1981, No. 919, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; Acts 1979, No. 711, §1; Acts 1987, No. 125, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1990, No. 989, §7, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, No. 923, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 1317, §1, eff. July 15, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §2, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 503, §1; Acts 2004, No. 26, §1.