When a Louisiana business hires construction contractors to erect a building, or when a contractor works with a subcontractor to complete a construction project, it is expected that there will be no defects in the final structure. Unfortunately, mistakes are sometimes made or unsafe short-cuts are taken that lead to construction defects. Businesses, contractors, and subcontractors in such situations may wish to take legal action against the responsible parties. However, they should keep in mind that they have a limited amount of time in which to do so.
If a construction defect case is based on a contract dispute, there is a “statute of limitations” that will apply to the claim. Generally, the lawsuit needs to be filed within a particular amount of time after the defect was discovered or should have been discovered. Once this time period has passed, it is no longer possible to pursue a legal claim. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for breach of contract claims is 10 years.
However, in addition to a statute of limitations, there is also something known as the “statute of repose.” This is a limitation on the amount of time that a wronged party has to file a lawsuit. Basically, after a certain number of years have passed, a statute of repose prevents a wronged party from bringing a legal claim, even if the defect hadn’t been discovered yet. In Louisiana, the statute of repose is five years for breach of contract claims. However, it may be expanded to six years for harms suffered in the fifth year. Also, if the claim is being brought against a contractor, then the statute of repose for breach of contract claims in Louisiana is 10 years.
Understanding when and how the statute of limitations and statute of repose applies to your specific case can be complex, and answers cannot be gleaned from the general information provided in this post. Businesses, contractors, and subcontractors bringing breach of contract claims based on a construction defect may want to seek legal guidance. An attorney experienced in such issues can explain how the law applies to the facts at hand so that you can make informed decisions.