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Emergency Rule 9 and Construction Defect Cases
At the Naumann Law Firm, we strive to deliver high-quality legal services to our clients. The cornerstone of our service is to maintain regular and ongoing communication with clients.
There is recent news in the construction defect industry that has massive implications for property managers and homeowner associations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Judicial Council is taking necessary steps to allow affected persons and communities the ability to continue to file civil cases, including construction defect cases. Specifically, The Judicial Council enacted Emergency Rule 9 to effectively extend statute of limitations that would have expired during the time courts’ operations have been effected.
What is Emergency Rule 9 and what is its likely effect on statute of limitations for construction defect cases?
On April 6, 2020, near the beginning of the lockdowns and court closures caused by COVID-19, The Judicial Counsel adopted eleven Emergency Rules to respond to the effects of COVID-19 on court operations. Initially, Emergency Rule 9 tolled all statutes of limitations in Civil causes of action until 90 days after the state of emergency related to COVID-19 was lifted. On May 29, 2020, Emergency Rule 9 was amended to be more restrictive on the extension of statute of limitations by shortening the expiration of the extension. The Amended Emergency Rule 9 splits civil action statute of limitations into two categories:
a.) those tolling statutes of limitations over 180 days, and
b.) those tolling statutes of limitation of 180 days or less.
For construction defect cases, the first category is most applicable.
Emergency Rule 9(a) now states:
Tolling statutes of limitations over 180 days
Notwithstanding any other law, the statutes of limitations and repose for civil causes of action that exceed 180 days are tolled from April 6, 2020, until October 1, 2020.
April 6, 2020 to October 1, 2020 is a 178-day extension of time. Unfortunately, the Judicial Council has not provided any illustration or comment of how this rule will apply to deadlines falling within the April 6, 2020 and October 1, 2020 time period. Most legal scholars opining on the application of Emergency Rule 9(a) are in agreement that it is a 178-day extension to any statute of limitation over 180 days that would have tolled between April 6, 2020 and October 1, 2020. As an example, if a person’s right to bring a construction defect action was to expire on August 14, 2020, that individual’s new deadline to bring such an action would be February 8, 2021.
If you feel you are close to any statute deadlines or that your deadline may fall within the time period affect by Emergency Rule 9, you do not want to hesitate, call us immediately. Generally, if you have any questions relating to this new rule or other construction defect matters, please feel free to contact our offices.
The Naumann Law Firm represents homeowners associations, high/mid-rise condominium associations, single, multifamily and commercial property owners in construction defect litigation.
The Naumann Law Firm has over 35 years of experience handling significant construction cases with complex issues. Call us to set up a consultation.
If you have any questions regarding emergency repairs during the construction defect litigation process or about construction defect litigation in general, contact us at 844-492-7474 or visit our San Diego construction defect contact page.