Gene Markin of Stark & Stark recently argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court in The Palisades at Fort Lee Condominium Association Inc. v. 100 Old Palisades LLC, a case involving the statute of limitations for construction defects claims.
A trial court held that the condominium association filed its construction defects lawsuit too late. A state appeals panel reversed that finding, holding that the statute of limitations clock began to run in May 2002, when the renovation of the 538-unit, mixed-use complex was completed. The condominium association filed its complaint against contractors in March 2009 and successfully argued that the clock only began ticking in June 2007, when the association learned of the alleged deficiencies in defendants’ construction work. The appellate panel agreed with the condominium association that the construction defects weren’t discovered until the unit owners gained full control of the board in July 2006 and retained an engineering group to conduct an evaluation of the property. The Supreme Court granted the petition for certification.
Before the Supreme Court, representing amicus curiae Community Associations Institute, Mr. Markin argued that the six-year statute of limitations begins running when the construction project is deemed complete, not when plaintiffs learn of the damage. It was the unit owners, not the developer, that who were the injured parties. He argued that the unit owners couldn’t sue prior to taking over the board because the developer’s contract was with the association, not the individual property owners.