Have you ever heard of the “continuing breach” doctrine?  Probably not.  It is not a doctrine commonly discussed. It’s a doctrine used to try to argue around the statute of limitations.

In an older Southern District Court of Florida case, Allapattah Services, Inc. v. Exxon Corp., 188 F.R.Ed. 667, 679 (S.D.Fla. 1999), the court explained: “Under this [continuing breach] doctrine, a cause of action for breach of a contract does not begin to accrue upon the initial breach; rather, on contracts providing serial performance by the parties, accrual of a breach of contract cause of action commences upon the occurrence of the last breach or upon termination of the contract.”

Recently, this doctrine came up in an opinion by Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal.  In Hernando County, Florida v. Hernando County Fair Association, Inc., 49 Fla.L.Weekly D947b (Fla. 5th DCA 2024), a plaintiff appealed the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice of its breach of contract claim based on the statute of limitations.  The plaintiff claimed the defendant breached the contract by its failure to substantially redevelop property. The trial court dismissed based on the statute of limitations. However, the complaint alleged the defendant’s failure to comply “with numerous other intertwined, ongoing, and continuing contractual duties and obligations.”  Hernando County, supra.   The Fifth District reversed based on the continuing breach doctrine: “Where the nature of the contract is continuous, statutes of limitations do not typically begin to run until termination of the entire contract.”  Id. quoting and citing Allapattah Servs., Inc.

This case is interesting because the continuing breach doctrine is not a doctrine that comes up a lot.  And when it does, it’s in the statute of limitations context.  Thus, because it was relied on by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in reversing a dismissal based on the statute of limitations, if you plead your case “right,” you may be able to plead it to survive a statute of limitations motion to dismiss under this doctrine.  Now, this does not mean the facts will play in your favor down the road.  But, it does mean you’ll live to fight the factual fight and you’ll focus on evidence to support this factual fight, which is ultimately the objective in any dispute.


Please contact David Adelstein at or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.