In a unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Gildea, the Minnesota Supreme Court today affirmed two lower court decisions that claims alleging damages arising from the replacement of a broken, asbestos-insulated boiler with a new, asbestos-free heating system are subject to the 2-year statute of limitations in Minn. Stat. § 541.051, subd. 1(a) (2016). TLO partner Jennifer A. Thompson co-wrote the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Construction Law Section’s amicus brief in the case after the Section accepted the Court’s invitation to participate as amicus curiae. The Court’s reasoning followed very closely to what the Construction Law Section advocated for – viewing construction as the entire process of a project, rather than specific, isolated items of work; not arbitrarily distinguishing between additive and subtractive work on a project; not creating absurd results where different contractors on the same project might be subject to different statutes of limitations; and overruling the holding in Brandt v. Hallwood Management Co. that the definition of “construction” cannot include “demolition.” The Section’s contribution to the Court’s consideration of the issue is acknowledged on page 13 of the opinion.
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