CPLR 214-c, Which Starts the Statute of Limitations Upon Discovery of the Injury, Applies Only to Toxic Torts—The Statute Does Not Apply to an Action Seeking Damages for the Allegedly Negligent Approval (by the Town) of a Defective Septic System
Plaintiffs sought replacement-cost damages for a defective septic system, alleging the town negligently approved the system prior to plaintiffs’ purchase of the property. Although the three-year statute of limitations for negligence had passed, the plaintiffs argued that CPLR 214-c applied. CPLR 214-c applies to latent defects and the statute starts running upon discovery of the injury. The Fourth Department determined CPLR 214-c did not apply, noting that the Court of Appeals has held the statute applies only to injury from “toxic torts:”
CPLR 214-c (1) provides that “the three-year period within which an action to recover damages for personal injury or injury to property caused by the latent effects of exposure to any substance or combination of substances, in any form, upon or within the body or upon or within property must be commenced shall be computed from the date of discovery of the injury by the plaintiff or from the date when through the exercise of reasonable diligence such injury should have been discovered by the plaintiff, whichever is earlier” … .
Here, plaintiffs do not seek “damages for personal injury or injury to property” (CPLR 214-c ); rather, they seek to be compensated for the cost of replacing an allegedly defective septic system. Thus, section 214-c is inapplicable to this action … . Moreover, the Court of Appeals, in interpreting section 214-c, has made clear that it applies only to toxic torts …, and plaintiffs’ claims have nothing do to with toxic substances. Instead, plaintiffs merely allege that the septic system was defective and that defendants failed to identify the defects during their inspections. We thus conclude that the court properly determined that the causes of action against the moving defendants are time-barred. Clendenin v Town of Milo, 2015 NY Slip Op 04976, 4th Dept 6-12-15