State is Exempt from 12 Year Statute of Limitation on Debt Collection 

Section 5-102 provides that an action on a judgment must be filed within twelve years from the date that the cause of action accrues. But it specifically exempts, from that limitations

period, actions on a judgment held by the State. Specifically, the section states, in part:

(a) Twelve-year limitation.—An action on one of the following specialties shall be filed within 12 years after the cause of action accrues, or within 12 years from the date of the death of

the last to die of the principal debtor or creditor, whichever is sooner:

(1) Promissory note or other instrument under seal;

(2) Bond except a public officer’s bond;

(3) Judgment;

(4) Recognizance;

(5) Contract under seal; or

(6) Any other specialty.

But most relevant to the issue before us is subsection (c) of section 5-102 which states, “This section does not apply to a specialty taken for the use of the State.” With this State exemption

in mind, we turn to Rule 2-625 that provides that a money judgment expires after twelve years, unless it has been renewed by the judgment holder. Missing from that rule is an exemption

for judgments held by the State as is found in section 5-102. Rule 2-625 states:

A money judgment expires 12 years from the date of entry or most recent renewal. At any time before expiration of the

judgment, the judgment holder may file a notice of renewal

and the clerk shall enter the judgment renewed.

Because the statute expressly exempts judgments held by the State and the rule does not, we are faced with the question of whether the rule, alone, may be properly invoked to extinguish

the State’s right to enforce its judgments after twelve years or whether it should be read so that it impliedly incorporates the State’s exemption pronounced in section 5-102. Our answer to

that question begins with the observation that the “cardinal rule” of statutory interpretation “is to ascertain and effectuate legislative intent,” Mayor of Baltimore v. Chase, 360 Md. 121,

128 (2000), and that “[t]he primary source from which we glean this intention is the language of the statute itself,” Subsequent Injury Fund v. Herman, 89 Md. App. 741, 747 (1992)

(quoting Mazor v. Dep’t of Correction, 279 Md. 355, 360 (1977)). “If the words of the statute, construed according to their common and everyday meaning, are clear and unambiguous and

express a plain meaning, we will give effect to the statute as it is written.” Jones v. State, 336 Md. 255, 261 (1994). Finally, we conclude by noting that these tenets of construction

apply not only to our statutes but to our rules as well. State v. Montgomery, 334 Md. 20, 24 (1994). 5We now turn to the legal axiom which provides the fulcrum for our analysis, which

is: Under the principle of sovereign immunity, state statutes of limitations do not apply to the state, unless a state statute provides otherwise. Central Collection Unit v. Atlantic

Container Line, 277 Md. 626, 629 (1976). In applying that doctrine, we observe that, in enacting section 5-102, the Legislature did not expressly waive the State’s immunity as to

limitations on actions taken on a judgment in the State’s favor. In fact, it did just the opposite. Apparently not content to rely on the principles of sovereign immunity, the

Legislature expressly exempted the State from the running of those limitations. Although, when the Court of Appeals adopted Rule 2-625, it did not expressly exempt

State judgments from the operation of that rule, it did not need to, as “any waiver of immunity must emanate from the legislature.” Bradshaw v. Prince George’s Cnty., 284

Md. 294, 300 (1979