A decade may seem like a long time, but it may not be long enough for Florida contractors to avoid liability for latent construction defects. In this brief article, a Ft. Myers construction defect attorney will be discussing the nuances of recent changes to the Florida statute of repose laws. If you are ever forced to defend yourself from a latent construction defect claim, do so with the aid of an aggressive Ft. Myers construction defect lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Under Prior Florida Law
Florida Statute 95.11 (3)(c) sets forth guidelines for how property owners and contractors should handle the discovery of patent and latent construction defects. When we covered this topic previously, the statute of repose was 10 years from the date that owners take possession of the property, the certificate of occupancy is issued, the project is abandoned, or when the project is completed or terminated. This meant that a lawsuit pertaining to a construction defect could not be asserted after a period of 10 years.
Current Statute of Repose Laws
A 2018 amendment to Florida Statute 95.11 (3)(c) extends the statute of repose period beyond the previous 10-year deadline for certain circumstances. The statute now states that “counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party claims that arise out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out or attempted to be set out in a pleading may be commenced up to 1 year after the pleading to which such claims relate is served, even if such claims would otherwise be time barred.”
The above could extend the period for which a contractor can be held liable for a construction defect far beyond a decade, especially if other parties get involved or claimants follow pre-suit procedures before filing a lawsuit or demanding arbitration. There’s no telling how long a contractor can be swept up in proceedings when you take into account the fact that involved parties often agree to extend deadlines to allow time for an investigation, negotiations, and remedial work.
Partner with a Professional
With the above law in place, it is more important than ever that contractors in the Sunshine State protect themselves from litigious owners and outrageous claims. A construction firm may not be capable of contributing the time, manpower, and resources necessary to address a latent construction defect. Cash flow issues and even bankruptcy can hound a construction firm that isn’t prepared to defend themselves in and out of court. Partner with a Ft. Myers construction defect attorney to ensure that your rights are always protected in the event of a construction defect claim.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.