JANINA SPROCH, individually and as the Administratix of the Estate of WOJCIECH G. NYKAZA, DECEASED, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. JOHN DOE, as Administrator of the Estate of JACK REMIGUISZ MAZUREK, JACK AIR, LLC, CESSNA AIRCRAFT COMPANY, AVIATION ENTERPRISES, CONTINENTAL MOTORS, LLC, AND JOHN MOE COMPANY, Defendants–Respondents.
Plaintiff Janina Sproch, individually and as administratrix of the estate of Wojciech G. Nykaza, appeals from orders dismissing her complaint against defendants Aviation Enterprises, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Continental Motors, LLC. We affirm.
On February 15, 2010, a plane crashed killing the decedent, plaintiff's husband. On March 6, 2012, plaintiff filed this wrongful death and survivorship action, twenty days after the two- year statute of limitations expired. Judge Dennis F. Carey III dismissed plaintiff's complaint as time-barred.
On appeal, plaintiff argues that the judge erred because (1) the discovery rule extended the accrual of the cause of action and therefore the complaint was timely filed, and (2) she substantially complied with the statute of limitations. We disagree, and affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Carey in his well-reasoned oral opinion. We add the following brief comments.
The pertinent text of the Wrongful Death Act is clear: “Every action brought under this chapter shall be commenced within [two] years after the death of the decedent, and not thereafter.” N.J.S.A. 2A:31–3 (emphasis added). The Survivor's Act contains identical language. N.J.S.A. 2A:15–3. Under the “discovery rule,” which is inapplicable here, “a cause of action will be held not to accrue until the injured party discovers, or by an exercise of reasonable diligence and intelligence should have discovered that he may have a basis for an actionable claim.” Lopez v. Swyer, 62 N.J. 267, 272 (1973). We have held that the discovery rule does not apply to claims under the Wrongful Death Act because it contains its own limitation period that runs from the death of the decedent, rather than from an unspecified date of accrual. Presslaff v. Robins, 168 N.J.Super. 543, 546 (App.Div.1979). Presslaff is controlling in this case because both of the applicable statutes contain limitation periods that run from the date of the decedent's death.