septic system was installed incorrectly causing leakage, had to completely redo. is there a statute of limitations on suing the general contractor?

Christian county, Mo. House was built 11 years ago. the system was diagnosed and completely redone. it was found to be flowing uphill, the perforated pipes were facing downward rather than up, plus several other problems. basically one lateral has been used over 11 years. Leaking on our drive below. It has ended up costing 67,000 to redo. our current septic contractor has been documenting with photos.

Asked on June 24, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In your state, the relevant statutes of limitions (negligence, or carelessness, in construction; breach of contract, for not building to the contract; fraud) all have 5 or less year long statutes of limitations: that is, claims would have to be brought within 5 years of construction. Sometimes, you can extend the time to sue if you did not and reasonably could not have discovered the defect until later. Unfortunately, your state also has a 10-year statute of "repose" for this sort of case: even when you can't discover the damage/defect until later, you can't sue the builder after 10 years. Based on what you write, it appears that too much time has passed for a lawsuit; that said, with $67,000 at state, it's well worth your while to consult in person and in detail with a local attorney who handles construction defect claims, to see if there's any way to still file the claim. If you are going to do this, do so NOW, before mor time passes.

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