Trigger Date for Claims against Subcontractors in Michigan Breach of Contract Claims

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Trigger Date for Claims against Subcontractors in Michigan Breach of Contract Claims

A recently published case in the Michigan Court of Appeals (Miller-Davis Company v. Ahrens Construction, Inc.), has determined the statute of limitations on breach of contract claims against a subcontractor involved in a construction project is not at the time of substantial completion of the project or when the owner takes possession, but when the individual work performed by the subcontractor is complete. In this case, the subcontractor completed its work in February of 1999. The construction project was certified as being substantially complete on June 11, 1999. Plaintiff did not file suit until May 12, 2005, and the Court looked to the February date for determination of whether the 6-year statute of limitations had lapsed instead of the date of substantial completion for the project. As such, the Court dismissed the breach of contract claims.


As such, the important date when analyzing a claim involving a subcontractor's breach of contract is the date it completes its work on the project and not when substantial completion on the entire project, or when the site is turned over to the owner.

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