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Florida’s New Statute of Repose for Construction Defect Claims

On June 15, 2017, Governor Rick Scott ratified H.B. 377, which amends Florida’s statute of repose for construction defect claims to include, for the first time, a definition for contract completion.  The new version of F.S. 95.11(3)(c) provides that:

An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest; except that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In any event, the action must be commenced within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest. Completion of the contract means the later of the date of final performance of all the contracted services or the date that final payment for such services becomes due without regard to the date final payment is made. . . .This act applies to causes of action that accrue on or after July 1, 2017.

(Amendment indicated in bold text).  Owners, developers, and contractors doing business in Florida should consider that, in addition to impacting the commencement of the statute of repose, this addition will likely also come to bear on 1) how long insurance should be maintained for a project, and 2) the commencement of the completed operations period.

The amendment takes effect on July 1, 2017.

For more information, please contact Greg Podolak (Managing Partner/SDV Southeast) at gdp@sdvlaw.com or 239-315-4215, or Hannah Austin (SDV Southeast) at hea@sdvlaw.com or 239-316-7238.

Greg Podolak web ps

Hannah Austin web ps

Jul 07, 2017
Gregory D. Podolak

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