PA 15-28—sSB 1032

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE APPLICABILITY OF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS TO CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN ACTIONS BROUGHT BY THE STATE OR A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE

SUMMARY: This act subjects the state and its political subdivisions to a statute of limitations for bringing certain actions and claims arising out of construction-related work involving the improvement of real property. Under the act, the period of time for bringing such actions and claims depends on the date the improvement is substantially completed and the nature of the action or claim.

To recover damages for a deficiency arising out of construction-related work or personal or property injury or wrongful death arising out of any such deficiency, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim in contract, tort, or otherwise:

1. within 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017 or

2. by October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017.

For a contribution or indemnity arising out of construction-related work, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim by the later of three years after the date an action or claim against the state or its political subdivision has been determined or:

1. 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017 or

2. October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017.

The act exempts certain actions and claims from these time limitations.

It also prohibits any additional limitation to actions brought in the name or for the benefit of the state and any claim of right based on the lapse of time against the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

CONSTRUCTION-RELATED WORK

Under the act, "construction-related work" means the design, construction, construction management, planning, construction administration, surveying, supervision, inspection, or observation of construction of improvements to real property.

IMPROVEMENT SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE

Under the act, with certain exceptions, an improvement to real property is substantially complete when the property is first (1) used by the state, its political subdivisions, or a tenant or (2) available for use after having been completed in accordance with the contract or agreement covering the improvement, including any agreed changes to the contract or agreement, whichever is earlier. Improvement to public highways, bridges, or railroad right-of-ways or ferry, port, or airport infrastructure is substantially complete when a certificate of acceptance of the work is issued by the state or its political subdivisions that relieves the contractor of maintenance responsibility.

EXCEPTIONS

The statute of limitations established by the act does not apply to an action or claim:

1. on a written warranty, guarantee, or other agreement, including a tolling agreement, that expressly provides for a longer effective period;

2. based on willful misconduct in connection with the performance or furnishing of construction-related work;

3. under any environmental remediation law or contract entered into by the state or its political subdivision in carrying out its responsibilities under any environmental remediation law; or

4. under any contract for enclosure, removal, or encapsulation of asbestos.

Under the act, a "tolling agreement" is a written agreement between (1) the state or any of its political subdivisions and (2) a person performing or furnishing construction-related work, a surety, or an insurer, to extend the limitation period within which the state or its political subdivision may bring an action or claim against such person, surety, or insurer.

BACKGROUND

Related Court Case

In State of Connecticut v. Lombardo Brothers Mason Contractors, Inc. , et al. , the Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously held that the state could proceed with an action for damages against contractors of the UConn Law School library, notwithstanding the statute of limitations that would otherwise apply. The Court also held that the public works commissioner lacked statutory authority to waive the state's rights by contract, as he had done in this instance (307 Conn. 412 (2012)).

Statute of Limitations for Nongovernmental Parties

By law, the statute of limitations for actions by nongovernmental parties against design professionals is generally seven years after the improvement is substantially complete. But, in the case of an injury to property or persons or wrongful death arising from an injury when the injury occurred during the seventh year after substantial completion, an action in tort to recover damages may be brought within one year after the date of injury but no more than eight years after substantial completion of the improvement (CGS 52-584a).

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