A civil statute of limitations applies to a non-criminal legal action, including a tort or contract case. If the statute of limitations expires before a lawsuit is filed, the defendant may raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense to seek dismissal of the charge. The exact time period depends on both the state and the type of claim (contract claim, personal injury, fraud etc.). Most fall in the range of one to ten years, with two to three years being most common.
Does the statute of limitations apply if the company to be sued wasn't operating in the U.S.?
Let's say that a company in China wasn't located in the U.S. for 12 years and 12 years before it created a headquarters in the U.S., the plaintiff was victim of a contract breach from that company, can the the plaintiff still sue the company because the company could not be sued before that even if the statute of limitation would suggest the company cannot be sued anymore? Assume the plaintiff is in the United States in California.