The authors of this article had the privilege of representing Kraus-Anderson Construction Company ("KA") through the five-year Village Lofts litigation (2015-2020), which recently concluded with a decisive win for the construction industry at the Minnesota Supreme Court. The lawsuit arose from alleged defects in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning ("HVAC") systems in condominium buildings. The resulting district court, Minnesota Court of Appeals, and Minnesota Supreme Court decisions provide guidance and clarity both for contractors performing work in Minnesota and for construction litigators. These decisions offer valuable insight into how the 10-year "improvement to real property" statute of repose, Minn. Stat. § 541.051, subd. 1(a), applies to common-law claims, and claims alleging breach of the warranties in Minn. Stat. § 327A.02, subd. 1 ("327A claims"), in the context of condo-defect claims. Moreover, and more broadly applicable, the Court of Appeals (affirming the district court) gave rare published insight into the law governing "Two Harbors settlements."
This article will analyze and parse out the key points from Village Lofts.