As reported in The State Journal-Register, a Macoupin County school district can’t sue an architectural firm for building a school on an underground coal mine that later collapsed, because the school district waited too long to file its lawsuit.
In a 7-0 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Gillespie Community School District’s claim of “fraudulent misrepresentation” against the builder, Wight and Company, was barred by a five-year statute of limitations.
Wight built the new elementary school in 2002 on the former site of a coal mine, but in 2009, the school’s walls began to crack and the floors buckled. The school was closed that spring after it was declared unsafe, displacing hundreds of students until a new school could be built. The school district filed a lawsuit against Wight in Macoupin County Circuit Court in August 2009 alleging that the company did not properly warn the school district about the dangers of building on the site. The circuit court, and later an appellate court, ruled in favor of Wight, noting that because the work was completed in the fall of 2002, the 5 year statute of limitations had long since passed. The school district, in turn, argued the lawmakers intended for no statute of limitations to apply to construction-based fraudulent misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment causes of actions. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ rulings and described the school district’s arguments as premised on the erroneous conclusion that no statute of limitations applied to fraudulent misrepresentations.
This case is a reminder that you should not delay in filing your claims in court or, contacting an attorney immediately after you are injured. Waiting too long could result in your claim being dismissed regardless of its merits, and it could mean that valuable evidence such as videotape of an incident suddenly is no longer available. That potential damaging evidence is now gone, and so could your case.
To talk about your case, the attorneys at DeBlasio & Gower LLC can be reached at (630) 560-1123 or via our website at http://dd-lawfirm.com/contact.php.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not legal advice and should not be relied on by anyone as legal advice in their particular situation. Furthermore, while DeBlasio & Gower LLC welcomes communications via its website, please be aware that communicating any information to DeBlasio & Gower LLC or any of its attorneys through its web site or via any other method without a formal engagement with the Firm does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between you (or any other users, senders or recipients) and DeBlasio & Gower LLC or any of its attorneys. For your protection, please do not send us confidential information until you have spoken with one of our lawyers and received authorization to send that information to our Firm. Thank you.