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How Florida's extension of construction defect deadline could play out

Regular readers of our legal blog know that back in March, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill to extend the Statute of Repose. The statute is, of course, the ultimate deadline for latent construction defect claims. Some observers believe the extension will result in higher insurance premiums for developers, contractors and the real estate industry.

The extension essentially increased the 10-year deadline to file a lawsuit for a latent construction defect claim by a year. But, in some cases, the extension could be for longer than a year.

Suppose a condominium association files a lawsuit against a developer for latent construction defects just before the previous 10-year Statue of Repose deadline. Now the developer has an additional year to file a lawsuit against the contractor and designers, for instance. And if the contractor and design professionals file a lawsuit against subcontractors just before the end of that additional year, the total time elapsed since final completion of the project is about 12 years.

And the extensions can continue, because the subcontractors can assert claims against others potentially liable for the alleged defect: suppliers, consultants, other subcontractors and so on.

This domino effect probably wasn't what the legislature had in mind when extending the Statute of Repose. Nonetheless, it could very well turn out to be a common scenario.

For more information on the deadlines in construction defect cases, contact a lawyer who focuses on this area of Florida law.

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