Owner SOL When Mandatory Mediation Didn’t Toll Statute of Limitations

In Washington D.C., a private Owner sued its Designer alleging professional negligence arising from the construction of $10 million tennis and education facility.  Among other issues, the court held the Owner’s professional negligence claim was late as it was filed more than three years after accrual (D.C. Code § 12-301(3)).

The contract required:

  • a request for mediation before filing a lawsuit and
  • that any lawsuit must be filed within three years.

The Owner unsuccessfully argued that only its request for mediation was necessary within three years.  Yet, a related provision of the contract stated that a mediation request could be made at the same time as the filing of a lawsuit.  If a mediation request tolled the statute, this related provision would be meaningless.

Contract interpretation strives to find the meaning of all parts together.  So, when you think you’ve found the right answer in your contract, keep reading all parts together to be certain.  (Read Related Post.)

Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, Inc. v. Clark Nexsen, Inc., 324 F.Supp.3d 128 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.C., Aug. 20, 2018)

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