January 14, 2016.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 3,
motion to dismiss was heard by Cornelius J. Moriarty,
J. Durst, of Ohio ( David V. Lawler with him) for the
Finamore for the defendant.
Hanlon, Sullivan, & Maldonado, JJ.
N.E.3d 687] Sullivan, J.
plaintiff, Richard Abrahamson, appeals from a judgment
dismissing his complaint because it was not filed within one
year of the date of death of the decedent, John LeBold, as
required by § 3-803( a ) of the Massachusetts
Uniform Probate Code (MUPC). See G. L. c. 190B, § 3-803(
a ). Abrahamson contends that his suit was timely
filed pursuant to the savings statute, see G. L. c. 260
§ 32, and, alternatively, he should have been granted
equitable relief from the one-year limitations period in the
MUPC. We conclude that G. L. c. 190B, § 3-803(
a ), governs, and G. L. c. 190B, § 3-803(
e ), bars, the award of equitable relief in the
following procedural history is undisputed on appeal.
Abrahamson first filed suit against John LeBold in the Court
of Common Pleas in Hamilton County, Ohio, in September of
2012. A little over two months later, on December 5, 2012,
LeBold died. The Ohio trial court dismissed the suit
for lack of personal jurisdiction on January 22, 2013, and
Abrahamson appealed. While the appeal was pending, on
February 13, 2013, LeBold's counsel filed a "
Suggestion of Death" with the trial court. Abrahamson
then successfully substituted LeBold's estate as the
defendant in the Ohio appeal. On December 6, 2013, a year and
a day after LeBold's death, the Ohio Court of Appeals
affirmed the dismissal on the ground of lack of personal
jurisdiction. Abrahamson did not file suit in Massachusetts
until July 3, 2014, over a year and a [47 N.E.3d 688] half
after LeBold's death. The estate filed a motion to
dismiss the Massachusetts action, which was allowed. In a
comprehensive and well-reasoned memorandum, the motion judge
ruled that Abrahamson's claims were barred as a matter of
law because LeBold had died more than a year before the
plaintiff filed suit in Massachusetts, thereby exceeding the
one-year period of limitations for actions against the
personal representative of the decedent set forth in G. L. c.
190B, § 3-803( a ). The judge concluded that,
although G. L. c. 260, § 32, would otherwise "
save" Abrahamson's action, the savings provision is
inapplicable to a special statute that contains an
inconsistent statute of limitations. See G. L. c. 260, §
19 ( " If a special provision is otherwise made relative
to the limitation of any action, any provision of this
chapter inconsistent therewith shall not apply" ).
Relying on O'Brien v. Massachusetts
Bay Transp. Authy., 405 Mass. 439, 442, 541 N.E.2d 334
(1989) ( O'Brien ), the motion judge concluded
that the one-year limitations period in G. L. c. 190B, §
3-803( a ), was a special statute, and that it was
inconsistent with the three-,
six-, and four-year limitations periods under G. L. c. 260
applicable to the tort, contract, and consumer protection
claims at issue. The judge further concluded that dismissal
was " consistent with the purpose" of G. L. c.
190B, § 3-803( a ), which, he found, " is