Gov. Dayton Signs Bill Delaying Statute of Limitations in Construction Injury Cases
On May 8, 2018, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law house bill H.F. 2743, which will delay the starting point of the statute of limitations when an injury occurs in connection with a major construction project. The new legislation significantly broadens the potential liability for damages of contractors, architects, design professionals and many others in the building industry. The effective date of the amendment is May 9, 2018 and applies to claims accruing on or after that day.
According to the new law, if an injury to real property is discovered before substantial completion of a project, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until substantial completion, termination, or abandonment of the construction. The purpose of the amendment is to give those involved in major construction projects time to negotiate without being compelled to immediately file suit to preserve their rights.
The new law effectively reverses a precedent set in 328 Barry Ave., LLC v. Nolan Properties Grp., LLC, which held that the statute of limitations for improvements to real property began running upon discovery of an injury, even if the injury was discovered before substantial completion of the project. Substantial completion is the date when the owner can "occupy or use the improvement for [its] intended purpose." However, the statute of limitations still continues to run immediately upon discovery of the injury for claims relating to bodily injury or wrongful death.