A ruling by the Washington Supreme Court could result in significant changes to the construction industry. In a 5-4 decision, the state’s high court struck down contractual time limitations in contracts involving residential construction.
In Tadych v. Noble Ridge Construction, a majority of judges found the provision in a contract providing a one-year limitation period for filing a construction defect lawsuit as being “unconscionable” and unenforceable.
The ruling struck down the Washington Court of Appeals’ affirmation of the trial court’s ruling due to benefits to the contractor at the homeowners’ expense and overall right to bring a legitimate claim. The Revised Code of Washington specifically allows a six-year statutory limitation and repose period.
A homeowner’s nightmare
Following the execution of their contract with NRC, the Tadychs moved into their house in 2012. In February 2015, they discovered shifting in the structure, with the flooring becoming unlevel. They reached out to NRC and gave the assurance that the home was not damaged and they would fix the flooring problem. Over the course of two years, other issues arose, and the Tadychs relayed that information. Promises to fix never came to fruition.
On the first day of August 2017, they filed suit for breach of contract. After the construction company moved for summary judgment, the trial court granted their motion, awarding NRC nearly $160,000 in attorney fees and other costs. The Tadychs pursued an appeal, which they lost. However, the Supreme Court accepted the review and reversed the ruling.
Homeownership is a dream that can turn into a nightmare with various scenarios. Trying to interpret legalese presents challenges for laypersons. In the end, legal help from an attorney with knowledge of construction law can smooth the path that leads to moving into a new house.