What should a defendant do if he or she believes that the statute of limitations period on the plaintiff's lawsuit has run out? Tell the judge. Do this in court as part of stating your defense. Or, if your state is one of the few that requires a defendant to make a written response to the plaintiff's claim before the hearing date, then include in your response a statement that the statute of limitations bars the plaintiff's claim. Sometimes, a judge will figure this out without a reminder, but often he or she won't. Don't ever assume that because the clerk has filed the papers and you have been properly served, this means that the suit was started on time. Clerks rarely get involved in statute of limitations questions.