Additional case insights are included in the Construction Employers Association article by Partner Marc Sanchez
"Frantz Ward Construction Group Wins in Ohio Supreme Court"
July 31, 2019
Frantz Ward LLP’s Construction Group is pleased to announce that its client, Ohio Farmers Insurance Company, was successful in overturning a Third Appellate District decision.
Today, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with Frantz Ward LLP’s Construction Group and found that Ohio’s 10-year construction statute of repose is not limited to tort actions, but also applies to contract claims. The ruling puts a hard stop on tort, as well as contract claims against construction professionals and sureties at 10 years after a project’s substantial completion.
Because Ohio’s state agencies are not subject to Ohio’s general statutes of limitations, there has never been a time limit on their construction claims. Although not specifically decided by the majority, the New Reigel
decision should now bar state agencies from bringing stale claims after this 10-year period. This is no small matter as ODOT awards billions of dollars in construction work every year and the OFCC awards hundreds of millions.
The decision will go a long way in preventing stale claims by owners, where witnesses are unavailable and critical documents have long ago been lost or destroyed. Most importantly for Ohio Farmers Insurance Company and other sureties in Ohio, performance bonds on public jobs will no longer be lifetime guarantees of a contractor’s work.
New Riegel Local School Dist. Bd. Of Edn. v. Buehrer Group Architecture & Eng
., Inc., Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-2851.
Marc A. Sanchez, Michael J. Frantz, Jr. and Allison T. Reich briefed this appeal and have worked with Ohio Farmers Insurance Company on this matter starting with the trial court and on the appeal to the Third District and the Ohio Supreme Court.