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Monday, May 13, 2013

Village Lawsuit for Sinking Community Center Not Timely

The Village of Orland Hills sued the architect that designed its new community center building when the concrete floor of the building began sinking because it was built over peat.  The architect claimed the lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations had run.  The circuit court agreed, ruling for the architect and the Village appealed.  The appellate court also ruled in favor of the architect in J.S. Riemer, Inc. v. Village of Orland Hills, 2013 IL App (1st) 1120106. 
The Village had entered into a contract with the architect in 1999 to design a community center. The community center was completed in July of 2001.  In 2002, the Village discovered that the concrete floor of the building was sinking because it was built over peat that had not been excavated prior to construction.  In 2005, the excavation contractor sued the Village because it had not been paid in full for its work.  The Village filed a counterclaim to that lawsuit, alleging improper excavation.  The Village claims that it relied on statements by the architect that the sinking defect was the excavator's fault, not the architect's, so did not file a lawsuit against the architect until 2006, more than 5 years after completion of the building.   The architect claimed that the lawsuit was time-barred because state statute provides a 4 year statute of limitation for actions relating to the "design, planning, supervision, observation or management of construction, or construction of an improvement to real property."  The appellate court agreed with the architect, finding that the Village knew about the defect by March 2003 (well within the 4 year statute of limitations period), so the Village could have time filed its lawsuit within the statute of limitations period.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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