This is a brief excerpt from the document you requested from IFAR’s Art Law & Cultural Property Database.


California Statute - Civil Procedure Code § 338(c), Statutory liability; Injury to property; . . . Three years


CAL. CIV. PROC. CODE § 338(c).


Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §338(c) provides that an action to recover property or damages for the taking of property must be commenced within three years. A 1983 amendment provided that for thefts involving "any art or artifact,"  the three year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the discovery of the whereabouts of the goods.  In 1989, the California Legislature replaced "art or artifact" with the phrase "article of historical, interpretive, scientific, or artistic significance." 

In 2010, California Assembly Bill 2765 further amended § 338(c) by extending the limitations period for claims against museums, galleries, auctioneers, or dealers for the return of fine art stolen after 1910.  In such instances, the limitations period was set at six years from the date of actual discovery of the identity and the whereabouts of the work of fine art.  The amendments applied to all claims commenced on or before December 31, 2017, including claims that previously had been dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. On May 24, 2012, the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in Cassirer v. Kingdom of Spain, held that the amendments contained in California Assembly Bill 2765 were unconstititional.
   That decision, however, is being appealed.

Click here to subscribe to IFAR's Art Law & Cultural Property Database to access this and other documents about U.S. and international legislation and case law concerning the acquisition, authenticity, export, ownership, and copyright of art objects.