This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged Statute of Repose.

hourglass on sandduneStatute of limitations defenses are a hotly litigated and important aspect of construction law.  This is particularly true in Virginia where the clock often starts ticking based on a literal bright line trigger.  This means the time for filing suit can often start running in Virginia before anyone even knows there is a case.  In construction litigation, where problems can stem from latent defects which do not manifest for an extended period, these rules can be pivotal in limiting risk.

In a recent Fairfax Circuit Court case, Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Simpson Unlimited, Inc., the court wrestled with the issue of what exactly constitutes an “improvement” under Virginia’s statute of repose found in Virginia Code Section 8.01-250.

Three Flint Hill Partnership, RLLP designated Simpson Unlimited Inc. to act as in independent contractor on a building construction project, requiring Simpson to repair and replace exterior building components, including removing and replacing terrace soffits on the eighth floor, as well as cleaning other building surfaces. Simpson submitted its application for final payment on December 4, 2002, and was paid for its work on December 16, 2002.

Washington Snowstorm Lincoln MemorialSo, here in the Washington, DC area we are buried under a couple feet of snow.  You know we have a lot of snow when the Lincoln Memorial steps have been transformed into a good tobogan run.  Unfortunately, so much snow means a ton of dead load placed on roof structures.  There are a number of roof collapses reported around the area.  So far, the major blessing is it appears that none of these events have led to any serious personal injuries.  You can definitely expect that these significant collapse events will trigger equally significant property damage claims, business interruption issues, and perhaps threaten the long-term viability of some businesses.  These events include:

Here is a news report on the Baileys Crossroads roof collapse from WJLA:


With the threat of more snow potentially on the way, the region may not have seen the last of these problems.  Building owners may face some significant hurdles to full recovery, including finding out the limitations of their insurance policies, facing problems with statutes of limitations and/or statutes of repose, and finding that responsible parties are casualties of the current economic crisis and thus are judgment proof.  All of these factors point to a few very important lessons:

  • Know and understand your insurance coverage and its limitations before you have problems
  • When shopping for insurance, evaluate risk and consider not just shopping for the lowest price; you may find that going cheap on insurance ultimately costs you far more
  • Know and understand applicable statutes of limitations and statutes of repose prior to entering into design, construction, or property purchase agreements
  • Factor in the impacts of these time limitation issues when you asses the appropriate levels and types of insurance your purchase
  • Do your homework - conducting detailed inspections prior to purchase and properly evaluating the strength and credentials of your consultants and contractors is an investment of time and money, but it is worth it in the long run rather than face a catastrophic loss in the future

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