When Does the Relationship End?

Statutes of limitation exist so that everyone may (someday) get on with their life.  Humans need to have a known parameter after which all claims from the past are null and void.  In legal malpractice, the statute of limitations is 3 years. The starting date of those three years is open to argument and analysis.  In transactional work, the date upon which malpractice occurred may be unclear.  Beyond trying to determine the date of the departure, there is the concept of continuous representation, which holds that a client is not required to sue his attorney while that attorney continues to represent the client, and may be trying to fix the mistake.

So, we look at Board of Mgrs. of 255 Hudson Condominium v Hudson St. Assoc., LLC  2012 NY Slip Op 32669(U)  October 22, 2012  Sup Ct, NY County  Docket Number: 101578/12  Judge:  Manuel J. Mendez, for guidance from another area of the law, albeit, professional negligence of another stripe.

"Plaintiff brought this action as the governing body of a condominium association, and seeks to recover damages caused to 255 Hudson Street Condominium by those individuals and entities responsible for its construction. The damages alleged include water leaks, malfunctioning heating and cooling units and missing sprinkler heads. This action was commenced on February 14, 2012, against Hudson Street Associates, LLC (hereinafter referred to as the "Sponsor"), Chistopher Matorella and Richard Mack (principals of the Sponsor); Gotham Greenwich Construction Co., LLC, (hereinafter referred to as "Gotham") as the contractor and construction manager; Ettinger Consulting Engineering (hereinafter referred to as "Ettinger") as an engineering consulting firm; Handel 'Architects, LLP (hereinafter referred to as "Handel"), as the architect and DeSimone Consulting Engineers, PLLC (hereinafter referred to as "DeSimone") as structural engineers. The complaint asserts causes of action for breach of contract against all defendants;
negligence in performance of services against the contractor, engineers and architect; and breach of express warranty only as against the Sponsor. The plaintiff entered into a contract with the Sponsor, it alleges incorporated the agreements with all the other parties. "

"The statute of limitations on a claim against an architect that is essentially stated as breach of the ordinary professional obligations, pursuant to CPLR §214[6), has a three year statute of limitations, regardless of whether it is asserted as breach of contract or negligence (R.M. Klimment & Frances Halsband, Architects v. McKinsey & Company, 3 N.Y. 3d 538, 821 N.E. 2d 952, 788 N.Y.S. 2d 648 [20041). The statute of limitations on a claim against a design professional pursuant to CPLR §214[61, has a three year statute of limitations, regardless of whether it is asserted as breach of contract or malpractice. The three year statute of limitations begins to run from the date of termination of the professional relationship between the parties and the  completion of, "performance of significant (i.e. non-ministerial) duties under the the parties contract"(Sendar Development Co., LLC v. CMA Design Studio, P.C., 68 A.D. 3d 500, 890 N.Y.S. 2d 534 [N.Y.A.D. 1" Dept., 20091 citing to Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas v. EnergyPro Constr. Partners, 271 A.D. 2d 233, 707 N.Y.S. 2d 30 [N.Y.A.D. 1" Dept., 20001). The date of the final certificate of occupancy, is not controlling for statute of limitations purposes, where there is no contractual responsibility for its issuance. Additional billing or a minimal amount of subsequent
work does not alter the completion date for the project (State of New York v. Lundin, 60 N.Y. 2d 987, 459 N.E. 2d 486, 471 N.Y.S. 2d 261 [1983). "

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