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Virginia Statute of Limitations Bill Advances Through General Assembly
Posted in Legislation
Virginia Statute of Limitations Bill Advances Through General Assembly

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee, in a rare showing of bipartisan support, voted unanimously 13-0 on Wednesday night (February 5, 2020) to advance the new “state contract statute of limitations” bill to the Senate Finance Committee for further review and approval. This follows unanimous (and bipartisan) approval of a substantially similar companion bill on Monday afternoon (February 3, 2020) by the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Civil Subcommittee. The House bill will also go to the House Finance Committee for review and approval.

The Senate bill, which is substantially similar to the companion House bill, would impose on the Commonwealth a fifteen-year limitations period in which to bring lawsuits against contractors and design professionals on state projects. (Current state law imposes absolutely no limitations period on the Commonwealth, so that in theory the state could bring a lawsuit fifty or even one hundred years after completion of work – it’s good to be the King!)

The proposed new statute would retain the five-year limitation period on lawsuits against performance sureties and adds: (1) a five-year limitation period on the Commonwealth following discovery and written notice by the Commonwealth of a design or construction defect (in the case of latent, undiscovered defects the 15-year period would apply), and (2) the ability of general contractors and design professionals to pass down the same 15-year limitation period to subcontractors and subconsultants, thus remedying the problem presented by the Hensel Phelps and Radiance Capital cases. 

The Hirschler Construction Team supported both the House and Senate bills in the General Assembly and we expect the new statute to be signed by the Governor and to become law on July 1, 2020.

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