CCP 351 applies "when the cause of action accrues against a person" who is out of state, or when "after the cause of action accrues, he departs from the State." The cause of action accrues against the defendant, not the plaintiff. So according to that section, the statute of limitation does not run while the defendant is absent from California.
Section 351 usually applies to defendants, not plaintiffs. But yes, it means that if someone wronged you and then left the state, the time he was out of state can be subtracted from the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations could be tolled for a Plaintiff who could not bring their claim due to a barrier that prevented them from bringing their claim.
CCP 351 Only applies to a California resident who is outside the state and not out of state involved in interstate commerce. It extends the statute of limitations to sue a California resident if you can show for example that he was away on vacation.
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