Ohio Adopts a Statute of Repose (Again)
Kegler Brown Construction Alert January 12, 2005
Unlike virtually every other state, for the last several years, Ohio has had no valid Statute of Repose for construction related claims. Most states have a Statute of Repose which bars certain claims which are asserted a certain number of years (for example, 10 to 15) after substantial completion of the project. However, Ohio's Supreme Court has previously declared Ohio's Statute of Repose unconstitutional. The Ohio legislature has tried again and has enacted a ten year Statute of Repose for construction-related claims for a ten year period beginning from the date of "substantial completion" of the project, as part of a new "Tort Reform Bill". Ohio Revised Code §2305.131.
If this newly enacted Statute of Repose isn't ultimately determined to be unconstitutional by Ohio courts, it should give relief to the Ohio construction industry in that construction employers will finally be able to dispose of records dealing with "old projects", which were constructed more than ten years ago, as well as reduce the risk of legal claims being asserted by plaintiff's lawyers far after construction has been completed. However, given the uncertainty concerning the constitutionality of this type of legislation here in Ohio, we are still recommending to our clients that they continue to maintain their records for as long as practical, in that there is still a possibility that you will have to defend a claim filed more than ten years after you substantially completed the project.