There is a three year statute of limitations for malpractice claims against architects and other design professionals. These claims generally begin to accrue upon the completion of the work in issue. However, a cause of action against a design professional may be tolled based upon the “continuous treatment” doctrine if the plaintiff can show it relied upon a continuous course of service related to the original work performed. The Second Department recently issued an opinion which applied this doctrine to uphold, at the pleading stage, a claim based upon a contractual relationship which started more than ten years before the legal action was commenced.
In Anderson v. Pinn, 2020 WL 3554992, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 03636 (2nd Dep’t) the Plaintiff entered into a contract in 2005 with an architecture firm for the design of a construction project. Because Plaintiff lost its funding for the project, the physical construction work apparently stopped in 2008. Prior to that time, Plaintiff had discovered that the utilities in the two buildings being constructed would have to be installed separately. The Architect, according to the Complaint, stated this has been an “oversight” on its part, but that subdividing the property “would not be a problem.”
In 2015 and 2018, Plaintiff and the Architect entered into a new contract for the project. The Architect filed numerous unsuccessful applications with the Department of Buildings for the subdivision. The Architect died, and never completed the project.