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Video Transcribed: Oklahoma attorney Brian Carter with the Tulsa Construction Lawyer.com and in this video I’m going to talk about what the difference is between a statute of limitations and a statute of repose is. Most folks have a generalization of what a statute of limitations is.
For example, in Oklahoma actions based in tort and for purposes of this video I’m going to focus on the negligence. There is a two year statute of limitations whereas contracts or if a written contract, it’s a five year statute. If it is a oral contract, it’s three and then intentional acts have a short statute of one year. Statute of limitations begins to run upon the date that the harm is discovered.
So a two year period for negligence would begin to run when the negligent act is discovered and obviously this doesn’t apply to actions based in contract where, as a contract statute would begin to run upon completion of the contract. Some things that can toll the statute of limitations is fraud or concealment. There are other situations that can affect that time as well.
For a statute of repose it’s a little different. It’s an absolute, whereas the statute of limitations can begin to run at different time periods, whereas a statute of repose, no action can be brought in tort negligence, for our purposes. And this is a statutory definition for any deficiency in design, planning, supervision or observation of construction or construction of improvement to real property.
For injury to property real or personal arising out of any such deficiency or for energy to persons or for wrongful death arising out of such deficiency shall be brought against a person owning, leasing or in possession of such an improvement or performing or furnishing the design, planning, supervision or observation of construction or construction of such improvement for more than 10 years after substantial completion of the improvement.
So what that means is, that 10 year mark for substantial completion is a firm deadline there where no action can be brought after that point, regardless of when the harm is discovered. So what that means, a good example of the crossroads between the statute of limitations and the statute of repose is if you were to discover a negligent act in the ninth year since a substantial completion, you would only have one year to take action.
Whereas if it was discovered in the fifth year, then you would have two years from the date of discovery. So it’s designed to give reassurances that a contractor isn’t going to be on the hook for defect indefinitely, and it gives certainty for all parties involved.