Minnesota Appeals Court Clarifies Construction Defect Statute of Limitation

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN statute of limitation, 541.051.

Philip Rosso v. Hallmark Homes of Minneapolis, Inc. MN statute of limitation, 541.051

Minnesota Statute 541.051, subd. 1(a) provides that actions for damages relating to construction must be brought within two years after the discovery of the injury. It also provides that in any case, the case must be brought within ten years after "substantial completion of the construction." According to the statute, this is the date when the construction is sufficiently completed so that the owner can occupy and use the improvement for its intended purpose.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals, in an opinion authored by Judge David Minge, held that the issuance of a certificate of occupancy is not relevant for this determination. The ten years expires after occupation is possible, even though the certificate of occupancy is issued later.

The appeals court affirmed the decision of the Carver County District Court, Judge Kevin W. Eide.

No. A13-1304 (Minn. Ct. App. Mar. 10, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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