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Todd & Weld prevails in appeal that sets time limit for filing claims in construction defect cases

Issue:  In a case involving multiple construction defect claims asserted by a condominium trust, a federal judge certified a question to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concerning when the six-year Statute of Repose time limit for filing claims is triggered in the context of a multi-building, multi-phase condominium project.

Challenge: In the absence of controlling precedents, the firm, representing the project developer, faced the challenge of persuading the SJC that the six-year period for asserting claims starts when a building is substantially complete or is open for its intended use – regardless of how many buildings or how many development phases exist in a condominium complex.

Solution: Adopting the argument asserted by the firm, the SJC held that each building in a multi-building complex is a discrete "improvement" such that the Statute of Repose specific to the common areas of a building is triggered when each building is open for its intended use, or when a building is substantially completed and the owner or owners take possession for occupancy.  The court rejected the argument of the condominium trust that the Statute of Repose is triggered only when the entire development is complete.  As a result, the trust’s claims related to six of the 28 buildings in the complex were time-barred as they fell outside the six-year time period.

Attorneys: Christopher Weld Jr., Tyler E. Chapman, Maria T. Davis, and Kristine C. Oren