Georgia Supreme Court Victory in Construction Case
On March 18, 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld summary judgment in favor of a defendant builder represented by Dave Root and Cheryl Shaw. Plaintiff claimed personal injuries stemming from a deck collapse eleven years after original construction by builder. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims in their entirety based on Georgia’s statute of repose which prevents such claims from being asserted more than eight years after substantial completion. Plaintiff appealed, claiming that the manner in which the builder had attached the deck to the house constituted fraud which estopped the builder from asserting the statute of repose as a defense. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s dismissal, but Plaintiff appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.In a case of first impression, Dave and Cheryl argued that their client was not estopped from asserting the statute of repose, and that this (construction) case was different from other (medical negligence) cases where the doctrine of “equitable estoppel” had been used to extend the time in which plaintiff could assert his claim. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed, holding that the plaintiff’s injury must occur within the repose period in order for equitable estoppel to apply. Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration was denied on April 12, 2011. Rosenberg v. Falling Water, Inc., 289 Ga. 57, 709 S.E.2d 227 (2011).