Archive: January 2013

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Evidence of Substantial Completion Critical to Statutes of Limitation and Repose Defenses

Evidence of Substantial Completion Critical to Statutes of Limitation and Repose Defenses

Sunset Presbyterian Church v. Brockamp & Jaeger, Inc., 254 Or. App. 24 (Or. Ct. App. 2012)

In 2009, plaintiff church sued defendants, a general contractor and a number of subcontractors, alleging negligence claims for defective work on a new church, where services began in 1999.  The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants based on expiration of statute of limitation and statute of repose time periods.

The general contractor “contended that the two-year statute of limitation . . . had begun to run in 1999 and barred plaintiff’s claims against it.”  It relied on a contractual provision that provided that all statutes of limitation for claims arising from the construction “would begin to run from the ‘date of substantial completion,’” which the contractor asserted occurred in 1999 “when plaintiff occupied and used the facility for its intended purpose.”  The trial court granted the contractor summary judgment dismissing the case.  The appellate court reversed, finding the general contractor failed to produce evidence of the certificate of substantial completion (distinguished from substantial completion by occupancy) as required by the contract, which was critical to commence of the statute of limitations.

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