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The Statute of Repose and the Construction Defect Claim: Is the Bright Light Marked by a Bright Line?
POSTED DECEMBER 14, 2015
Written by Denise M. Montgomery of Sweeney & Sheehan, P.C. for the 2015 Fall/Winter issue of USLAW Magazine.
Construction defect claims are time consuming, expensive and often daunting to defend. The Statute of Repose is a draconian doctrine unique to construction claims. It is not a statute of limitations. By its definition, it provides a date upon which an action no longer exists. It is generally impervious to the discovery rule, the favored savior of sleeping claimants. Most states provide exceptions for latent defects or fraudulent concealment. It may be the light at the end of tunnel for design and construction professionals involved in large scale projects with damages occurring over years. Often the design and construction defendants responsible for the actual construction are gone, and key witnesses such as project managers are missing. Piecing together a time-line of who completed the work and when, can be a challenge. The purpose of the Statute of Repose is to limit the expanding liability of contractors, builders, planners, and designers of a property improvement. Recently, several jurisdictions have expanded their analysis as to who may seek its refuge, and when the doctrine begins to run…READ MORE.