Stutman Law Achieves $4 million recovery against design professionals even though statute of repose technically barred the claim

A big box supermarket and shopping center was designed with an elaborate wooden façade and overhang to make it blend in architecturally with the historic surrounding area. Unfortunately, the large wooden façade and overhang was not protected with sprinkler heads as required by the code. A fire of unknown cause started in the mulch underneath the overhang, spread to a bush and then to the wooden overhang and façade. Pennsylvania has a twelve year Statute of Repose for improvements to real property, and the original construction of the façade and the building occurred more than twelve years before the fire. Several design professionals and contractors did, however, perform additions and renovations less than twelve years before the fire. The designer and installer of the sprinkler system also conducted yearly inspections from the time of the original construction, up to the year of the fire. Stutman Law achieved a $4 million recovery against these parties, despite the twelve year Statute of Repose, based upon their continued involvement with the building. A private plan review and code enforcement company hired by the town to review and approve plans also contributed to the settlement.

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