Congratulations to Isaac Lew who secured an appellate win in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of a subcontractor involved in the construction of an elaborate residential pool. The case originated when a homeowner sued the general contractor on the project, alleging faulty construction based on, among other things, a missing part that the subcontractor had not installed as it was not included in the subcontractor’s bid or scope of work. Two years after the homeowner initiated suit, and about six years after substantial completion of the pool, the general contractor filed a third-party complaint to bring the subcontractor into the case. The general contractor claimed that if the homeowner’s concerns were related to the subcontractor’s work, the subcontractor was contractually obligated to indemnify the general contractor.
Subsequently, the district court judge granted the subcontractor’s motion for summary judgment. The judge concluded that that the third-party claim for indemnification was precluded by Tennessee’s statute of repose, which mandates that all claims for deficient construction must be brought within four years of substantial completion of the construction project. Since the third-party claim was filed six years after substantial completion, it was deemed time-barred.
The general contractor appealed. Less than a month after hearing oral argument, a panel of three judges from the Sixth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment, agreeing that the general contractor’s indemnification claim was untimely under the statute of repose.