On October 27, 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision which could have a substantial impact on the enforceability of contract clauses that require litigation to be commenced within a stated period of time from project completion. In Tadych v. Noble Ridge Construction, Inc.,the Supreme Court held that the contractual one-year statute of limitations for bringing claims against the contractor was substantively unconscionable and reversed the Court of Appeals.
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 included a one-year claim limitations clause that required claims to be raised within a one year period from project completion and that any claims not raised during 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.
The Tadychs moved into the home on April 8, 2014, and the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development conducted its final site inspection on April 15 and approved the residence for occupancy on April 23. In January or February of 2015, the Tadychs began to notice a shift in their home. In February of 2015, the Tadychs engaged the Construction Dispute Resolution (CDR) to review NRC’s work. CDR raised concerns about the adequacy of the home’s construction and prepared a written report in March 2015 indicating several deviations from the architectural plans and building codes. The Tadychs sent this report to NRC, who assured the Tadychs that NRC’s work followed all requirements and rejected any claims that there were deviations from the plans. The Tadychs continued to notice issues with the home through October 2016.