Knowledge of defects linchpin in airport construction lawsuit

Air travel has become a fast and efficient mode of transportation for both business and pleasure. Furthermore, international airports serve as a gateway to welcome people from across the globe. Thus, when media stories about airports make the news, the story attracts attention.

Louisiana residents may find it interesting to learn that according to recent reports a lawsuit was filed against construction companies by one city that is home to a major international airport. The lawsuit concerns alleged construction defects in a runway, which was built approximately five years ago. The city alleges that the concrete used for construction of the runway did not meet project requirements as agreed, and now the runway is experiencing early wear and tear. The construction companies argue that because the city waited nearly five years to file the lawsuit, the lawsuit is untimely.

When it comes to construction projects where defects are latent, not obvious or not realized right away, the right to file a lawsuit is subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the time period allowed under law to bring a legal action. They vary based on the type of case and from state to state. In the construction litigation case above, the companies argue that the city should have identified fault and defect with the runway right way, and a patent defect has a shorter statute of limitations. However, if the defects with the runway were latent and the cracking runaway was not obvious then a 10-year statute of limitations would apply to this case.

Clearly, construction litigation is a very challenging and complex area of law for various reasons, especially when determinations must be made as to when a statute of limitations starts tolling and what is and is not a latent or patent defect. Any company involved in a potential construction lawsuit may want to consult with an attorney well-versed in construction law.

Source: Daily Breeze, “LAX runway lawsuit could hinge on timing of what was known when,” Brian Sumers, Dec. 21, 2013