Like the end of 87e As the Texas Regular Legislative Session approaches, it looks like we are on the verge of having new shortened rest statutes for design and construction claims by certain government entities in Texas. This is important because the rest statutes “provide a final date beyond which an action cannot be filed”. Galbraith Eng’g Consultants, Inc. v Pochucha, 290 SW3d 863, 866 (Tex. 2009).

“Unlike the traditional limitation provisions, which begin to run upon the constitution of a cause of action, a rest period runs from a specified date without regard to the accumulation of a cause of action. action. Identifier. “Rest then differs from limitations in that rest not only cuts off rights of action once they are acquired, but can also remove rights of action before they accumulate.” Identifier. “And while statutes of limitation operate procedurally to prevent the application of a right, a statute of rest completely removes the right, creating a substantive right to be exonerated from liability after a specified time.” Identifier. “Thus, the purpose of a rest statute is to provide absolute protection to certain parties against the burden of potential indefinite liability.” Identifier.

Current statutes – 10-year limitation period and possible 2-year extension

The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.008 currently requires a person to sue a registered or licensed architect, engineer, interior designer, or landscape architect no later than 10 years after the substantial completion of the improvement that gives rise to the lawsuit. . Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.009 imposes a similar requirement on claims against a person who constructs or repairs an improvement to real property. Under both laws, if a person makes a written claim for damages, contribution or indemnity to the contractor or design professional within the 10-year limitation period, the period is extended by 2 years. from the date of presentation of the complaint.

Proposed change – 8 year limitation period and possible one year extension

Internal Bill 3069 would amend Articles 16.008 and 16.009 to require a government entity to prosecute a registered or licensed architect, engineer, interior designer or landscape architect or a person who constructs or repairs an improvement to a building no later than 8 years after the completion of the improvement that gives rise to the continuation. The bill would also shorten the possible extension associated with filing a claim during the 8-year period from 2 to 1 year. That said, not all government construction projects would be subject to the new laws because they do not apply to a claim arising from: (1) a contract entered into by the Texas Department of Transportation; (2) a project that receives money from the state road fund or from a federal fund for road and transit spending; or (3) a civil engineering project, as that term is defined in the Texas Government Code § 2269.351.[1]

Current Status – Action pending from Senate and Governor

House Bill 3069 was passed by the House on May 4, 2021 and the Senate on May 23, 2021. From this post, it was reported inscribed and signed in the House. All that remains is to sign the bill in the Senate and send it to the governor for action. If the governor signs the bill, it will take effect immediately. If the governor allows it to become law without signing it, the bill will come into force on the date the governor files it with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. The new shortened periods will then apply to government design and construction contracts entered into after the new laws come into force.

For the current status of House Bill 3069, please see here.

[1] Under Texas Government Code § 2269.351 (1), “civil engineering project” means: (A) roads, streets, bridges, utilities, water supply projects, water treatment plants, treatment plants wastewater, water and wastewater distribution facilities, desalination projects, wharves, airport runways and taxiways, storm drainage and flood control projects or public transport projects ; (B) the types of projects or installations related to those described in paragraph (A) and associated with civil engineering construction; and (C) buildings or structures accessory to projects or installations described in paragraphs (A) and (B) and which are mainly civil engineering construction projects.

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