FLORIDA – Construction – Statute of Repose

In Manney v. MBC Engineering, Inc., the Florida 5th DCA ruled that the statute of repose under section 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes (2017) does not apply to certain inspection services.

Manney hired MBV to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of a new residential home in 2002. MBV’s report indicated that the home was in excellent shape.  In 2016 Manney discovered significant latent structural defects that were corroborated by another structural engineer. Manney filed suit against MBV alleging that MBV negligently performed its review and inspection of the home, on which she relied in deciding to purchase the home.

MBV moved for summary judgment, arguing that the claims were barred by § 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes, which provides that no cause of action relating to the “design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property must be commenced within 10 years.”  Manney argued that a two year statute of limitations for professional malpractice under section § 95.11 (4)(a), Fla. Stat. (2017) applied. The two year statute of limitations begins to toll when the cause of action is discovered.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of MVB.

The 5th DCA reversed and remanded the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court ruled that the ten year statute of repose under § 95.11(3)(c) is not applicable due to the fact that the inspection services performed by MVB did not constitute design, planning, or construction. The Court went further in explaining that the fact a claim has mere relation to the construction of new property does not bring it within the applicability of § 95.11(3)(c).

Manney v. MBV Eng’g, Inc. (May 10, 2019)

Read the full opinion here…

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