My wife signed 3 promissory notes to her ex-husband. All 3 were signed under duress. There is a history of domestic violence by him against her, including guns being held to her head.
She has had 2 separate EPO's out on him. They were all signed in before 1997 but the Kentucky Statute of Limitations for a promissory note is 15 years. Between the signing of the notes and now the 2 of the have made several verbal agreements regarding money that were to be deducted from the Promissory Notes. He never ammended the notes and now has filed a suit against her to claim the full monies. We plan to answer the summons with affirmative defense of Duress, but does the affirmative defense of Laches apply in this instance?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Promissory Note
Technically, probably not. Laches is usually used as a defense to a suite in equity, not at law. That is from the old, old days, when there still existed an observed distinction between Law and Equity.
The theory is that laches does not apply because there is a statute of limitations by which the Legislature set forth the limit on when suits could be brought. Laches is the common law counterpart to statutes of limitations to suits brought in equity.
All of which is probably incomprehensible to most people.
The short answer is that it likely does not apply. Then again, particularly in a pro se answer, there is not a real downside in listing it.
Other potential defenses (not intended to be exhaustive) that you might want to consider are fraud and lack of consideration. Neither may apply to your facts and even if they do, they may not prevail.
Re: Promissory Note
Laches would apply if there were interest specified in the note. It might apply for other reasons as well but I can't say without knowing more.
Be sure to answer on time -- the 20 day deadline is strictly enforced in Kentucky.
You will want to add counterclaims and ask for damages to be paid by the Plaintiff for medical treatment, distress, any expenses paid to move to a safe location, other issues depending on the circumstances.