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Breach of Construction Contracts Must Be Filed Within Ten Years of Substantial Completion

In the case of Martins Ferry City School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Colaianni Constr., Inc., 2023-Ohio-2285, an appellate court held that the school’s claim for a breach of contract was barred by R.C. 2305.131 when the ten-year statute of repose had expired and the school claimed a fraud exception, but failed to plead fraud with particularity.

In this case, the school argued that (1) the claims were not barred by the ten-year statute of repose because the claim accrued before the ten years expired, despite the claim not being raised within that time period and (2) the contractors engaged in fraud, which would provide an exception to the statute of repose. In response, the contractors argued that (1) the statute barred claims that were not filed within ten years and (2) the school did not raise allegations of fraud in the amended complaint, so they were barred from arguing fraud on appeal. The appellate court agreed with the contractors.

In support of its decision in favor of the contractors, the appellate court explained that the statute of repose removes all liability of a construction project after the ten-year period has expired, barring all claims whether they had accrued or not. The appellate court further explained that the school attempted to plead fraud by pointing out numerous errors committed by the contractors, but this alone is insufficient to plead fraud with particularity.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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