BrownWinick Obtains Summary Judgment on Statute of Limitations in Case Alleging over $1 Million in Damages
BrownWinick attorney James White recently obtained summary judgment for several clients in a case where the plaintiffs alleged over $1 million in damages. The case arose out of a 2018 flood of a hotel. The plaintiff, a cleaning and restoration company, performed work at the hotel following the flood. After it was determined that the hotel did not have insurance coverage for the flood damage, the plaintiff sought recovery of over $1 million directly from BrownWinick’s clients. In November 2020, the plaintiff filed suit against the hotel and several individuals, alleging breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit.
In May 2021, BrownWinick filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of all defendants, arguing all of the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the one-year contractual statute of limitations. The contractual statute of limitations was contained in a form agreement that the plaintiff drafted and the parties signed. The District Court agreed with the defendants, and on September 26, 2021, entered a ruling granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissing all of the plaintiff’s claims. The Court found defendants’ interpretation of the contract was correct and the contractual statute of limitations applied to all claims. The Court also rejected a long list of arguments the plaintiff made in an attempt to avoid enforcement of the contractual statute of limitations.
This case serves as a cautionary tale to parties entering into commercial contracts. In this case, the plaintiff purportedly attempted to limit claims against it with a one-year contractual statute of limitations. However, because of imprecise language, the statute of limitations actually applied to all claims and barred the claims the plaintiff brought in this case. BrownWinick is pleased to have obtained this result for its clients.