In Southern States Chemical, Inc. v. Tampa Tank & Welding, Inc., 2019 WL 5616691, the Georgia Court of Appeals recently held that the Georgia Statute of Repose (statute prohibits recovery of damages in construction cases to eight (8) years from the date of substantial completion), codified at O.C.G.A. § 9-3-51(a), is applicable to contractual claims as well as negligence claims. In Southern States, it appears there was only a contractual one (1) year warranty for the renovation project that was completed in 2002; the lawsuit was brought in 2012. However Southern argued that there was a 43 year warranty based upon on the useful life of the renovated acid storage tank, not based upon any contractual written warranty. Even if taken as true, the Court of Appeals stated that “whether in tort or contract, the statute precludes any action to recover damages brought outside the eight year period of repose.” The outcome of the case could mean that warranty provisions in contracts that last more than eight years, i.e., mechanical equipment, roofing, etc. might not be enforceable based upon the Court of Appeals interpretation of the statute. It is still too early to tell but this case is worth monitoring.
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