Statute of Limitations

Rad and D’Aprile, Inc. v. Arnell Construction Corp, No. 502464/14, 2019 BL 131606 (NY. Sup. Ct. April 3, 2019)

In June of 2001, Arnell Construction Corp. (“Arnell”) entered into a prime contract to build two sanitation garages in Brooklyn for the New York City Department of Sanitation (the “City”).  Arnell subcontracted the project’s masonry work to Rad and D’Aprile, Inc. (“Rad”).  After execution of the subcontract, Rad was informed that the start of work would be delayed because the City had not yet obtained ownership or access to all portions of the site.  When its work did commence, only limited portions of the site were available.  This caused inefficiencies in Rad’s work and caused it to incur increased costs.

Continue Reading New York Court Holds Contractor’s Failure to Timely Pass Through Subcontractor Delay Claim to the Owner Constitutes Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Dep’t of Transp. v. Seattle Tunnel Partners, 2019 BL 36988, 2 (Wash. App. Div. 2 Feb. 05, 2019)

On January 8, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the State of Washington reversed and remanded in part a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in a tunnel-boring construction case.  Specifically, the Court clarified that the three-year statute of limitations for negligence claims begins to run as soon as the aggrieved party becomes aware of the factual elements of the claims.  It does not matter whether the underlying cause of the claims remains disputed.

Continue Reading The Washington Court of Appeals Clarifies When the Statute of Limitations for a Negligence Claim Begins to Run Under the Discovery Rule

Strickland v. Arch Ins. Co., No. 17-10610, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 504 (11th Cir. Jan. 9, 2018)

Strickland provided sand to a paving company (“Douglas”) for a Georgia Department of Transportation (“GDOT”) road improvement project (the “Project”).  Arch Insurance Company (“Arch”) issued payment and performance bonds on Douglas’s behalf.  In 2007, GDOT declared Douglas in default and removed it from the Project.  In accordance with the performance bond, Arch arranged for a third-party contractor to complete Douglas’s work on the Project. Strickland did not supply sand after Douglas’s removal.
In August 2010, GDOT determined that the Project was substantially complete, and in September 2010, performed final inspection and generated a punch list.  Arch’s contractor completed the punch list by September 2011.  In March 2012, GDOT accepted Project maintenance responsibilities because the Project had been satisfactorily completed as of September 2011.  GDOT made semi-final payment to Arch in July 2012.

In September 2012, Strickland sent a demand for payment on Arch’s payment bond.  Arch acknowledged the claim and asked for additional documentation.  Strickland did not respond.  In 2014, Strickland learned that GDOT was preparing to close out the Project and filed a lawsuit against Arch.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Holds That the Statute of Limitations on Payment Bond Claim Under Georgia Law Commences at Substantial Completion Rather Than Final Acceptance

Hensel Phelps Constr. Co. v. Thompson Masonry Contractor, Inc., et. al., No. 151780, 2016 Va. LEXIS 166 (Va. Nov. 3, 2016)

The dispute arose from the construction of a student health and fitness center at Virginia Tech. The prime contractor, Hensel Phelps, and its subcontractors substantially completed their work in 1998, and Virginia Tech made final payment in 1999. In April 2012, Virginia Tech discovered defects in the work, elected to repair them, and then sought to recover the costs from Hensel Phelps. Despite the significant passage of time between completion of the work and Virginia Tech’s assertion of its claims, Hensel Phelps could not invoke the statute of limitations because under Virginia Code § 8.01-231, statutes of limitation do not apply to claims asserted by Commonwealth agencies such as Virginia Tech.  Ultimately, Hensel Phelps paid $3,000,000 to Virginia Tech to settle the defective work claims.

Hensel Phelps, in turn, sought to recover from the subcontractors that performed the defective work. When the subcontractors refused to pay, Hensel Phelps commenced an action alleging, among other things, breach of contract against the subcontractors and their sureties. All of the defendants argued that Hensel Phelps’ claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The lower courts agreed. On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed.


Continue Reading Virginia Supreme Court Holds That Subcontractors Did Not Waive Statute of Limitations, With The Result That The General Contractor Was Liable To Owner For Defective Work But With No Recourse Against Subcontractors Who Performed The Work

United States of America ex rel D&M General Contracting, Inc v. Arch Ins. Co.
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111260 (D. Md. Aug. 5, 2013)

This action arose out of subcontractor’s claim for increased costs allegedly incurred as a result of delays on a federal government project. NTVI Enterprises, LLC (“NTVI”), as general contractor, entered into an agreement with the government to upgrade the chiller plant for a National Security Agency facility (the “Project”). NTVI posted a labor and material payment bond for the Project (the “Bond”) issued by Arch Insurance Company (“Arch”). NTVI then subcontracted with D&M General Contracting, Inc. (“D&M”) to perform electrical work on the Project. Midway through the Project, D&M alleged that the sequence of its work was altered by the government resulting in an additional $206,674.07 in costs to D&M. Pursuant to the Miller Act, D&M filed suit against Arch, as surety, to recover under the Bond its increased costs allegedly incurred.


Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Maryland Holds One-Year Statute of Limitations Under Miller Act Did Not Commence Until After Required Testing Performed by Subcontractor

Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. City of Mont Belvieu
2010 U.S. App. Lexis 14277 (5th Cir. July 13, 2010)

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently held that a Texas City’s bond claim was time barred under the statute of limitations and equitable remedies based on estoppel were unavailable to revive claims on the bond.

Hartford Fire Insurance Company issued a performance bond for a contractor constructing a public recreational facility for the City of Mont Belvieu, Texas. The bond was a requirement under Texas public work contracts. By statute, the bond was subject to a one-year limitations period commencing from project final completion. The project progressed with numerous delays and changes. However, the City issued a certificate of occupancy in mid-2001, taking possession and operating the facility by July 2002.

At that time, numerous punch list items remained and several subcontractors owed payment by contractor filed claims on a payment bond. Hartford advised the City to be cautious when releasing further payment to contractor. Thereafter, in July 2002, City paid contractor almost $675,000 as an equitable adjustment via a change order. Critically, the change order stated that the project’s completion date was July 19, 2001.


Continue Reading U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Holds Performance Bond Claim Time Barred – Estoppel Excuse Not Available to City

James J. Gory Mechanical Contracting Inc. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co.
2010 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. Lexis 20 (Phila. CCP Feb. 8, 2010)

In February 2005, Surety issued payment bond of over $45 million on behalf of the general contractor for construction of student housing project at Temple University. Under terms of the payment bond, any claim, suit or action had to be brought within two years of bond’s issuance. General contractor entered into plumbing subcontract with Plaintiff, who certified that its work was 100% complete in October 2006. However, general contractor only paid Subcontractor for 95% of the work it completed.


Continue Reading Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Upholds Payment Bond Contractual Limitation Period

Steadfast Insurance Co v. Brodie Contractors, Inc.
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88448 (October 31, 2008 W.D. Va.)
Steadfast Insurance Co., as subrogee of Skanska USA Building Co., the general contractor, alleged claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty against Brodie Contractors, Inc., a masonry subcontractor, concerning replacement of brick veneer on the Danville Regional Medical Center. Brodie moved for summary judgment alleging that the lawsuit was barred by Virginia’s statute of limitations.
Continue Reading United States District Court in Virginia Holds That Prime Contract Provision Concerning Accrual of Statute of Limitations “Flowed Down” to Afford Subcontractor Defense to Defective Work Claim

Waynesborough Country Club of Chester County v. Diedrich Niles Bolton Architects, Inc.
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45980 (E.D. Pa. July 21, 2008)
The case arose out of the design and construction of a new clubhouse for Waynesborough. Diedrich Niles Bolton Architects (“DNB”) provided professional architectural services to Waynesborough for the project and Ehret Construction served as the project’s general contractor and construction manager. Structural problems arose after the clubhouse was complete, and Waynesborough sued DNB alleging, as a result of DNB’s professional negligence and breach of contract, significant water leaks developed at various places throughout the interior of the clubhouse. DNB joined Ehret as a third party defendant. Ehret, in turn, filed a counterclaim against DNB for negligent misrepresentation, claiming that DNB’s architectural work was deficient and that Ehret’s work was delayed, disrupted and inefficient as a result of having relied upon inaccurate drawings and other architectural documents supplied by DNB during construction.
Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Holds Bilt Rite Claim Subject to Discovery Rule for Limitations Purposes

Regent Ins. Co. v. Storm King Contr., Inc.
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16513 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2008)
In June 1999, the owner of The Emerson Inn hired Storm King to act as its general contractor in the remodeling and rebuilding of the Inn. Under their agreement, Storm King was not responsible for the design of the project or for compliance with applicable law, building codes, or regulations, and it was agreed that the remedy for any defective work would be limited to correction of the defects. Storm King entered into a subcontract with Sullivan Fire Protection for the installation of a fire sprinkler system. The subcontract incorporated the terms of the agreement between the owner and Storm King. Its scope of work section provided that Sullivan’s work was to be performed in accordance with the plans and specifications prepared by the design professional.
Continue Reading U.S. District Court in New York Draws Distinction Between Damages Recoverable for Defective Work in Tort and for Breach of Contract – Where Tort Claim Barred By Statute of Limitations, Owner Could Not Recover for Cost of Replacement of Structure Destroyed By Fire Allegedly Resulting From Defective Work of Renovation Contractor