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Homeowner Can't Use Construction Statute of Limitations to Avoid Roofer's Suit for Payment

05/12/06

Last month we discussed the applicability of the construction statute of limitations in a case involving Walsh.  Here is another 2006 decision that went the other way.

Prate Installations sued the Thomases, homeowners, for payment on a roofing job.  The job was finished on October 31, 2000, and the Thomases were billed promptly, but refused to pay.  Prate filed its complaint on March 1, 2005.  The Thomases moved to dismiss, arguing that this was a suit involving construction, and was filed too late.  The construction provision of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure section of statutes of limitation allows suits within four years of the alleged breach.  The provision enumerates various duties the commission of which trigger the four-year SOL.  735 ILCS 5/13-214(a)

Prate responded that the ten-year statute of limitations covering written contracts applied, since this was a claim for payment.

An appeals court earlier this year took Prate's side.  The Thomases' activities as customer to Prate did not fall within the various construction duties at issue under the four-year provision.  The Thomases, in other words, must have been engaging in the "professional planning, supervision, or management of a construction project or the construction of an improvement to the property" (quoting from the statute).

"As defendants are not being sued for their act or omission in a construction-related activity, section 13-206's 10-year limitations period for written contracts applies."  So Prate won.

Prate Installations, Inc. v. Richard Thomas and Rebecca Thomas (2nd District 2006), Case No. 05-s-AR-352