Miscellaneous Provisions

Section 491:22

    491:22 Declaratory Judgments. –
I. Any person claiming a present legal or equitable right or title may maintain a petition against any person claiming adversely to such right or title to determine the question as between the parties, and the court's judgment or decree thereon shall be conclusive. The taxpayers of a taxing district in this state shall be deemed to have an equitable right and interest in the preservation of an orderly and lawful government within such district; therefore any taxpayer in the jurisdiction of the taxing district shall have standing to petition for relief under this section when it is alleged that the taxing district or any agency or authority thereof has engaged, or proposes to engage, in conduct that is unlawful or unauthorized, and in such a case the taxpayer shall not have to demonstrate that his or her personal rights were impaired or prejudiced. The preceding sentence shall not be deemed to convey standing to any person (a) to challenge a decision of any state court if the person was not a party to the action in which the decision was rendered, or (b) to challenge the decision of any board, commission, agency, or other authority of the state or any municipality, school district, village district, or county if there exists a right to appeal the decision under RSA 541 or any other statute and the person seeking to challenge the decision is not entitled to appeal under the applicable statute. The existence of an adequate remedy at law or in equity shall not preclude any person from obtaining such declaratory relief. However, the provisions of this paragraph shall not affect the burden of proof under RSA 491:22-a or permit awards of costs and attorney's fees under RSA 491:22-b in declaratory judgment actions that are not for the purpose of determining insurance coverage.
II. The district court shall have concurrent jurisdiction over such claims arising under its subject matter jurisdiction authority in RSA 502-A except that the defendant shall have the right to remove said declaratory judgment action to the superior court, subject to conditions established by rule of court, if the claim exceeds $1,500. The court of probate shall have exclusive jurisdiction over such claims arising under its subject matter jurisdiction authority in RSA 547 and RSA 552:7.
III. No petition shall be maintained under this section to determine coverage of an insurance policy unless it is filed within 6 months after the filing of the writ, complaint, or other pleading initiating the action which gives rise to the question; provided, however, that the foregoing prohibition shall not apply where the facts giving rise to such coverage dispute are not known to, or reasonably discoverable by, the insurer until after expiration of such 6-month period; and provided, further, that the superior court may permit the filing of such a petition after such period upon a finding that the failure to file such petition was the result of accident, mistake or misfortune and not due to neglect. A petition for declaratory judgment to determine coverage of an insurance policy may be instituted as long as the court has personal jurisdiction over the parties to the matter, even though the action giving rise to the coverage question is brought in a federal court or another state court.

Source. 1929, 86:1. RL 370:20. RSA 491:22. 1967, 432:1. 1992, 284:13. 1994, 37:1. 1996, 185:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1997. 2012, 262:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2013.