Nothing can ruin your day quite like receiving notice of a construction defect. Knowing that your company could be facing litigation on a project you and your crew worked tirelessly on is enough to make any contractor reconsider their career. At Cotney Construction Law, we can’t abide by that. We’ve made it our goal to defend industry professionals against baseless construction defect claims, and we begin by providing contractors with the knowledge they need to navigate what would otherwise be a trying process.
In this brief article, we discuss what you can expect when an owner tries to sneak in a defect claim right at the deadline (the statute of limitations). Fortunately, Florida law has something to say about owners that try to bypass this deadline, and we’re here to tell you what that is. If you ever find yourself wrapped up in a construction defect claim and aren’t sure whom to turn to, a Ft. Myers construction defect attorney from Cotney Construction is standing by.
Florida Statute of Limitations
We’ve previously covered the deadlines for filing a construction defect claim in Florida, but as a brief recap: the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a construction defect with the court is four years from the end of the project — when the owner takes possession of the property, a certificate of occupancy is issued, or the contract is completed or terminated. However, not all defects are patent, and some can take years to emerge. For latent defects, the statute of repose is ten years from project completion. After this date, no lawsuit may be brought against you.
Of course, an owner will make every attempt to beat the buzzer and file a claim before the four- or ten-year deadline. In years past, it was enough for an owner to serve a notice of claim in order to beat the deadline. But that all changed with the Gindel v. Centex Homes ruling. Although the court accepted that a notice alone was enough to establish a claim, Florida law was quickly amended to prevent this tactic from being used again.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 558.004 an owner must serve a notice of claim 60 days (120 days in some cases) before filing any action (filing suit or demanding arbitration). An owner must give contractors notice of their intentions long before they file a lawsuit. This gives you time to prepare for either arbitration behind closed doors or a public, drawn-out legal battle.
Whether you are preparing for a lawsuit or arbitration, it would greatly benefit you to contact a Ft. Myers construction defect lawyer from Cotney Construction Law. Our attorneys are experienced in defending against construction defect claims in both a court setting and during alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as arbitration. For a legal team that won’t shy away from defending against baseless construction defect claims, consult the aggressive attorneys from Cotney Construction Law.
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.