The Moving Finish Line: Statutes of Limitation and Repose Are Not Always What They Seem

3d characters crossing finish line

Determining the end date for liability can be more difficult than simply reviewing the applicable statutes of limitation and repose.

June 1, 2020
Kenneth E. Rubinstein & Nathan Fennessy - Construction Executive

Having an end date for risk is important to construction professionals who need to know when they can close their books and destroy files relating to old projects. While professionals typically look to the statute of limitations and repose, these deadlines can sometimes be harder to determine than one might think.

State Laws Prohibiting Alteration of Statutes of Limitation

Many contractors seek to control the extent of their risk by negotiating the length of their liability period. In some instances, contractors may seek to shorten the statute of limitations to protect against stale claims. While in other instances, owners periodically negotiate for longer periods to ensure that they will not be time barred from pursuing valid claims. While the majority of states enforce such contractual provision, a number of states hold such clauses unenforceable. In these instances, the state’s original statute of limitations will apply regardless of what the contract says.

Reprinted courtesy of Kenneth E. Rubinstein & Nathan Fennessy, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Mr. Rubenstein may be contacted at
Mr. Fennessy may be contacted at


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