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    Contractors and design professionals who subcontract with other entities will no longer be forced to scramble to investigate and file claims against third-parties when faced with plaintiffs which wait until the eleventh hour to bring suit. Florida Statute 95.11 provides the statute of repose for an action “founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property” must be commenced within 10 years from various triggering events. Florida Statute 95.11 previously permitted a plaintiff to sue a contractor or design professional within 9 years and 364 days after the “triggering event,” thereby leaving the contractor or design professional virtually one day to assess third-party claims and bring suit against its subcontractors or risk forfeiting the claims entirely. Prior to the amendment, this timing nuance put contractors and design professionals at risk for absorbing all liability without apportionment to subcontractors or subconsultants if third-party claims were not timely filed.

    However, on July 1, 2018, House Bill No. 875 goes into effect and permits counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party claims which arise from the “conduct, transaction, or occurrence” to be brought within one year from the triggering pleading. This amendment protects contractors and design professionals by providing a fixed period of time to investigate an owner’s claim and bring counter, cross, or third-party claims against implicated subcontractors and subconsultants which might otherwise be time barred.

    Natalie Yello
    GrayRobinson, P.A.
    301 East Pine Street
    Suite 1400
    Orlando, Florida 32801
    P: 407-843-8880
    F: 407-244-5690

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