Construction Defect: 15 year Statute of Limitations Applies

Posted on August 18th, 2014 by sutteroconnell

The defense of construction defect claims just got more difficult in the State of Ohio.  In Cook v. Probuild Holdings. Inc., 2014-Ohio-3518, the defendants obtained Summary Judgment based upon the fact that the construction defect claim had not been filed until more than six years after the cause of action accrued, thereby violating Ohio’s four-year statute of limitations under  R.C. 2305.09(D). On appeal, the issue centered on whether the claims for breach of contract and failure to perform in a workmanlike manner were subject to the four-year or the 15-year limitation.

The Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court. The Court of Appeals found that the breach of contract and the failure to perform in a workmanlike manner claims arose out of the contractor agreements entered into between the general contractor and the subcontractor for construction services.  Concluding that “the nature of the liability is ex contractu”, the claims fall under the gamut of the 15-year statute of limitations.

The decision could open the floodgates for a vast number of claims wherein attorneys or litigants believed the matters  were time barred. The defendants in Cook have 45 days to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. Keep an eye on the Defensive Line Blog for updates.

For a copy of the opinion click here.