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Sunset Presbyterian Church v. Brockamp & Jaeger

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-12-2012
Case #: A146006
Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146006.pdf

Civil Procedure: Under the accrual clause of a contract, the statute of limitations for claims tolls until the date of substantial completion, which is the architect's certification date or where the work is sufficiently complete.

Sunset Presbyterian Church (Plaintiffs) appealed a grant of summary judgment to Brockamp & Jaeger, et al. (Defendants and general and subcontractors). Sunset hired general contractors and subcontractors to construct a new church facility. The trial court granted summary judgment for Brockamp & Jaeger, et al. Sunset appealed the summary judgment grant. The Court first looked at the general contractor's argument that Sunset's claims were time barred. Under the accrual clause, claims for acts before the accrual of substantial completion of a project, which means the work is in sufficient compliance with the contract documents, shall begin no sooner than the date of substantial completion" of the project. Because the general contractor had the burden to demonstrate evidence of the date of substantial completion, the accrual clause did not cause the statute of limitations to run. Regarding the subcontractors who claimed the ten-year repose period for negligence began to run after the act complained of, the correct statute was ORS 12.135 which stated the ten-year period did not begin running until substantial completion. A reasonable trier of fact exists as to whether there was substantial completion. Reversed and remanded.