In a recent unpublished decision – Tadych v. Noble Ridge Construction, Inc.– the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One, held that a one-year contractual claim limitations clause was valid and enforceable. The Tadych decision is important because it reiterates the strict approach courts will take to a claim limitations clause less than the statutory six years for breach of contract claims prescribed by RCW 4.16.040(1). In other words, when the parties agree to shorten the limitations period, the agreement will be enforced barring any procedural or substantive unconscionability.
In Tadych, plaintiff owners (the Tadychs) contracted with defendant contractor (Noble Ridge Construction, Inc., or NRC) for the construction of a custom home in 2012. The contract provided a one-year claim limitations clause in which claims could be raised, and that all claims not raised in the one-year period would be waived. In December 2013, as the project neared completion, the Tadychs met with NRC to identify any outstanding project issues. The Tadychs noted several, including rainwater pools at the landing at the bottom of the stairs and several nicks and cracks on the stucco exterior walls.