The Advise and Consult (myconstructionexpert.com) blog focuses on legal matters relating to construction and provides us with plenty of food for thought.
For example, consider recent postings describing the impact of the implementation of a revised Statutes of Repose for Florida construction projects. A statue of repose, I learned, is a much more significant limitation on the rights to file a litigation claim — because it dates (in the case of construction projects) from the time of substantial completion, rather than the filing of a claim. Accordingly, a fairly short statute of repose could insulate building owners, contractors and materials suppliers from litigation even if serious defects and problems were discovered and reported in a timely manner upon discovery — but after the limitation period has expired.
The statute of repose differs from the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations establishes a time limit within which an action must be brought, measured from the time of accrual of the cause of action. In contrast, the statute of repose absolutely bars a claim after passage of the period of repose, regardless of the underlying circumstances. In other words, the statute of repose provides a substantive right to be free from liability after the expiration of the established period of time, regardless of when the cause of action accrued.
Of course the big advantage of a strong statute of repose is that contractors don’t need to worry about sleeper claims arising out of the woodwork. The other side of the fence — if you miss the repose deadline, you are stuck — may provide limited satisfaction for someone who has experienced serious problems, say asbestos-related illnesses from an older building.
A complicating fact here: The rules are state-driven; so the repose statute in one place may be very different from another. You’ll certainly want legal advice in dealing with and managing these limitations issues.
I think anyone who needs to monitor and manage litigation issues should bookmark this blog, and review its updates. Of course this is an excellent example of how providing useful information without cost or expectation of reward can still be good for business. If your responsibilities include understanding and managing construction litigation issues, there may be times when you need expert witnesses — something that Advise and Consult, Inc. can provide.