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House passes construction-related lawsuit fix that would adjust statute of limitations

In response to a 2015 lawsuit over leaky windows that went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the House passed a bill Wednesday that would amend the statute of limitations for recovering damages in construction-related cases to avoid what proponents call “unnecessary litigation.”

Under HF2743, as amended, the statute of limitations would be delayed in property damage cases so contractors or developers could correct issues without long legal processes in projects lasting more than two years. Cause of action, under the bill, would accrue when someone found the property injury or when the construction project is abandoned.

The bill, passed 126-0, specifies that in cases for bodily injury or wrongful death, the cause of action would accrue from the time of the discovery of the injury.

It heads to the Senate where Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) is the sponsor.

Rep. Dennis Smith (R-Maple Grove), the bill sponsor, said the measure “will allow parties to avoid unnecessary litigation.” The Minnesota State Bar Association helped craft the bill, which Smith said had no opposition.

When the House Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee heard the bill earlier this year, supporters pointed to a case known as “328 Barry” where individuals were forced to sue each other before the construction project was completed. 

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