On October 1, 2018, Dennis Prince appeared before the Supreme Court of Nevada in the matter of Christopher Donnelly v. Anthony & Sylvan Pools Corporation, Case No 72547.
The appeal relates to the constitutionality of the six-year statute of repose outlined in NRS 11.202 governing injury claims arising from construction defects. In 2015, the Nevada Legislature amended the statutes of repose to implement a universal six-year statute of repose applicable to all types of construction defects (patent, latent, known). The Nevada Legislature also included a one-year grace period for claimants to file their actions beginning February 24, 2015. Anthony & Sylvan Pools prevailed on its Motion to Dismiss filed with the district court because Donnelly did not timely file his action within the statute of repose period or the grace period.
On appeal, Mr. Prince argued that NRS 11.202 is unconstitutional because the statute fails to provide fair notice to all potential injury victims of when construction is “substantially completed” to trigger the running of the statute of repose. He relied on the definition of “substantial completion” under NRS 11.2055 to show the application of NRS 11.202 to third-party injury victims is ambiguous because only owners or occupiers can ever know when construction is “substantially completed.” Mr. Prince articulated that NRS 11.202’s disparate treatment of third-party personal injury victims forecloses their right to recover from not only contractors or designers, but also the owners of the property, before that right even accrues. This result is only unique to third-party personal injury victims injured by defective construction, which violates The Equal Protection Clause of the United States and Nevada Constitutions.
While a decision from the Supreme Court of Nevada is not expected for a few months, the Justices appeared to find Mr. Prince’s arguments persuasive. This was Mr. Prince’s third argument before the Supreme Court of Nevada this year.