On May 26, 2017, the Kansas Supreme Court in Lozano v. Alvarez, (No. 113,060) 2017 Kan. LEXIS 287 (May 26, 2017) tested the Kansas saving statutes, which states:
If any action be commenced within due time, and the plaintiff fail in such action otherwise than upon the merits, and the time limited for the same shall have expired, the plaintiff, or, if the plaintiff die, and the cause of action survive, his or her representatives may commence a new action within six (6) months after such failure.
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-518. The statute allows a case that has been dismissed for a reason other than the merits to be refiled within 6 months of the dismissal, notwithstanding that the statute of limitations has expired.
The Kansas Supreme Court held that the dismissal of an action that was filed during K.S.A. 60-518's 6-month grace period does not trigger another 6-month grace period. Thus, a third lawsuit does not relate back to the original filing and may be barred by the statute of limitations.
Lozano filed a civil action against the Alvarezes alleging injuries as a result of a battery. Lozano I was dismissed without prejudice by the Ford County District Court for lack of prosecution. Lozano refiled his case less than 6 months later using the Kansas savings statute. The district court dismissed Lozano II without prejudice on December 31, 2013, once again for a lack of prosecution.
Lozano refiled the action on June 18, 2014, attempting to invoke K.S.A. 60-518 a second time. (Lorenzo III). The Alvarezes moved to dismiss Lorenzao III with prejudice, claiming the savings statute did not permit the refiling.
The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Lorenzo III with prejudice and declined to apply the saving statute in serial fashion, because “the 6-month grace period in the savings statute applies only to an action that was commenced during the statute of limitations period.” Id. at *12. The Court reasoned,
the dismissal of an action that was filed during K.S.A. 60-518's 6-month grace period does not trigger another grace period because it is not an "action" to which K.S.A. 60-518 applies. In short, a plaintiff is limited to one 6-month period of grace to get a determination on the merits; refilings beyond that 6-month period are barred by the statute of limitations. Id. at *12-13.