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Florida Construction Litigation: The Importance of the Statute of Limitations

Recently, Florida’s Court of Appeal for the Fifth District released an instructive opinion on a statute of limitations case. The case was in relation to a construction litigation dispute. The decision, Lawrence and Laura Brock v. Garner Window and Door Sales, involved a homeowner’s construction defect claim, and was decided in early May. The court reaffirmed that Florida’s construction litigation statute of limitations will be applied very strictly. If you are involved in construction dispute, there is no time to waste. You need to consult with an experienced commercial litigation attorney as soon as possible.

Damage From Poorly Installed Windows

In 2009, the Brocks contracted with Garner Window and Doors to have new windows installed on their home. Soon after the installation was completed, the windows began leaking. As a result, substantial water damage was sustained. The Brocks contended that the window leaks were caused by a latent construction defect. Based on that, they sued the window company seeking compensation for the corresponding water damage. However, they brought this legal action 4.5 years after they initially discovered the damage. The timing of this lawsuit made this case particularly complex. Under Florida law, there are different statute of limitations for different types of cases. Specifically, in this case, there was a dispute over which one of the following limitations controlled the case:

  • Claims based on written contracts: All claims based on the breach of a written contract must be brought within five years of the discovery of the damage.
  • Claims based on construction defects: All claims related to construction or the improvement of a project must be brought within four years of the discovery of the damage.

The Brocks argued that their claim was timely, as it was based on a written contract. The company countered that their claim violated the statute of limitations, as construction litigation must be brought within fours year. In the end, the Florida court found in favor of the company, even though the company was not an officially licensed construction contractor.

Construction Litigation: Pay Attention to the Four Year Statute of Limitations

You may have a viable construction lawsuit based solely on the merits of the case, but your claim will almost certainly be thrown out if too much time has passed. Please do not let this happen to your claim. The last thing you want is to lose out on your legal rights simply because of a statutory technically. It is important to remember that the statute of limitations clock starts ticking from the date that the damage was, or should have been, discovered. If you believe that your property or business interests have been damaged by poor construction, you should contact an experienced construction litigation attorney immediately. Let your attorney comprehensively review your case and determine how to best protect your legal rights and business interests.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter how small the construction project, there is always the risk that a problem might arise. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our experienced West Palm Beach business law attorneys have a deep understanding of construction litigation. If you or your business is involved in a construction dispute, please contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm represents clients throughout Southeast Florida, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

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