Court of Appeals Upholds Design-Construction Statute of Repose
Posted on Jun. 5, 2015

Attorneys defending design professionals and contractors have long argued that Utah Code section 78B-2-225 is a statute of repose rather than a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations defines the timeframe in which a lawsuit must be filed from the date of the injury or damage. It may be equitably tolled in some circumstances if the plaintiff does not know it has been injured or damaged. In contrast, a statute of repose defines the maximum timeframe for bringing suit, regardless of when the injury or damage occurs or is known.

Utah Code section 78B-2-225(3)(a) states that a lawsuit against a design professional or contractor based on a contract must be brought within six years of completion or abandonment of the project (unless a contract provides otherwise). Plaintiffs in construction cases have often argued that they are allowed more than six years to bring a breach of contract claim if they did not discover a design or construction defect for a number of years after completion of the project.

The Utah Court of Appeals recently clarified in Willis v. DeWitt that Utah Code section 78B-2-225(3)(a) is indeed a statute of repose and that breach of contract claims must be made within six years of completion. In that case, the Court of Appeals found that homeowners’ breach of contract claims were barred because those claims were brought more than six years after completion of the construction of their home. It did not matter that the homeowners did not discover the defects until three years after completion.

Construction Law
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About Adam

Attorney Adam T. Mow

Adam is a trusted resource for architects, engineers and other members of the construction industry in litigation, risk management, contract negotiations and mechanics’ liens. Adam is also a licensed architect and a past president of the Utah chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He has been elected by his peers to the Utah Legal Elite since 2009.

Awards and Recognition

AV Rating

Excellence in the Study of Architecture, American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit, 1999

CALI Award for Excellence in Mediation and Advanced Negotiation, 2003

Community Mediator of the Year, Utah Dispute Resolution, 2007

Graduate of the Last Decade, Ball State University, 2008

Utah Business Magazine, Legal Elite, 2009-Present

Mountain States Rising Stars (Construction Litigation), 2009-Present