Defense prevails in multi-party construction defect action
The decision was later affirmed by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, and we successfully argued both the summary judgment motion and the appeal. The plaintiff, a condominium association, filed suit against the sponsor of a newly constructed mixed-use residential and commercial building in Hoboken, New Jersey. The plaintiff also sued the property management company, the general contractor and various subcontractors involved in the construction. A temporary certificate of occupancy was issued in March 2004 and the plaintiff did not commence litigation until June 2014—more than ten years after substantial completion. Therefore, the claims were barred by the ten-year Statute of Repose, N.J.S.A. § 2A14-1.1. The former property manager for the building and the sponsor entity had common ownership. The plaintiff argued the sponsor maintained control of the property by virtue of its continued involvement through the property management entity, and that the Statute of Repose did not apply to a party in actual possession and control of the property at the time that the defective and unsafe condition caused the injury or damage at issue. The Appellate Division held that the plain language of the Statute of Repose precludes any “action, whether in contract, in tort, or otherwise, to recover damages for any deficiency in the design, planning, surveying, supervision or construction of an improvement to real property, [and] any action for contribution or indemnity for damages sustained on account of such injury . . . more than [ten] years after the performance or furnishing of such services and construction.” N.J.S.A. 2A14-1.1(a). The court found that the claims were also barred by the six-year statute of limitations as the plaintiff alleged that the first repairs at the building were undertaken in 2004, and the complaint was not filed until 2014.