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Arizona Supreme Court Confirms Eight-Year Limit on Construction Defect Lawsuits

July 18, 2011 — CDJ Staff

Acting on the case of Albano v. Shea Homes Ltd. Partnership, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that Arizona’s eight-year statute of repose applies. The case was referred to the court by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which had asked for a clarification of Arizona law. The case focused on three questions:

1. Does the filing of a motion for class certification in an Arizona court toll the statute of limitations for individuals, who are included within the class, to file individual causes of action involving the same defendants and the same subject matter? 2. If so, does this class-action tolling doctrine apply to statutes of repose, and more specifically, to the statute of repose for construction defects set forth in Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") § 12-552? 3. If the doctrine applies to statutes of repose, and specifically § 12-552, may a court weigh the equities of the case in determining whether, and to what extent, an action is tolled?

The litigation at hand has a lengthy history, starting with a case referred to as “Hoffman” in 2003. The Albano plaintiffs were not able to join in Hoffman, and they filed their own lawsuit in 2006. An additional lawsuit was filed by the Albano plaintiffs in 2007. The courts decided that the Albano plaintiffs’ lawsuit was untimely.

The Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the statute of repose was the appropriate standard for this case. They noted that “the eight-year statute of repose period began to run on November 6, 1997, the date of the Town of Gilbert’s final inspection. Albano II was filed on November 5, 2007.”

The court found that the plaintiffs had waited too long for start their suit. As a result, they found it unnecessary to answer the first or third questions. Justice A. John Pelander of the Arizona Supreme Court wrote the opinion, dated June 30, 2011.

Read the court’s decision…

Arizona Supreme Court Confirms Eight-Year Limit on Construction Defect Lawsuits