Summary Judgment Upheld by Court of Appeals

The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment in a case of first impression regarding the interpretation of subsection (f) of the Arkansas statute of repose. The Court rejected an invitation to graft a judicially created exception to the statute of repose and stated that the language of the statute “could not be clearer. . . [T]he legislature chose a clear, uncomplicated prohibition on extension agreements, without exception.” The plaintiff in this construction case attempted to rely on a tolling agreement, executed before the expiration of the five-year window provided by statute, to overcome a statute of repose bar to a breach of contract suit against a local architectural firm. The Court applied the plain language of the statute to reject the tolling agreement and confirmed that a party cannot accomplish by equity, something which was proscribed by statute: “The parties cannot create through estoppel or waiver the very type of agreement prohibited by subsection (f).” Overton Anderson and Mark Wankum, with AMH, represented the local architectural firm sued in this case. The opinion can be found at here.

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