In D’Allesandro v. Lennar Hingham Holdings, LLC, 486 Mass 150, 2020 Mass. LEXIS 721, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts answered a certified question regarding how to apply the Massachusetts statute of repose, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 2B, in regards to phased construction projects. The court held that, in this context, the completion of each individual “improvement” to its intended use, or the substantial completion of the individual building and the taking of possession for occupancy by the owner or owners, triggers the statute of repose with respect to the common areas and limited common areas of that building. Additionally, the court held that where a particular improvement is integral to, and intended to serve, multiple buildings (or the development as a whole), the statute of repose is triggered when the discrete improvement is substantially complete and open to its intended use.
In D’Allesandro, the action arose out of the construction, marketing, sale and management of the Hewitts Landing Condominium (the Condominium) project. Ultimately, 150 units were constructed over 24 phases of construction, enclosed in 28 different buildings. Throughout construction, the project’s architect submitted declarations to the Town of Hingham swearing that the individual units were “substantially complete” and could be occupied for their intended use. The Town of Hingham then issued certificates of occupancy for the unit or building.