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Justices To Decide If Church Can Sue Contractor

April 29, 2014, 6:17 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Justices To Decide If Church Can Sue Contractor

The South Dakota Supreme Court is deciding if it's too late for a Sioux Falls church to sue its contractor.

Next Incorporated was the general contractor for a $3 million addition to East Side Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.  When construction was completed in 2003, staff started noticing leaks and ice issues with the new roof.

Next Inc. said it would fix the issues but finally confessed in 2008 that it had botched the job.

A Sioux Falls judge threw out a 2010 lawsuit saying that it exceeded South Dakota's six year statute of limitations.

An attorney for East Side Lutheran argues church staff didn't file a lawsuit when they first noticed water problems because they thought it would be fixed.

"They say, 'Don't worry. I'm taking care of that.  This is going to be resolved.  We're going to take care of this.  You don't have to do anything.' That can lead someone improperly to sit on their rights even if the person is not intending to lie," church attorney Ron Parsons said.

"You have to protect your rights. The plaintiff should not be able to wait and sit on it until they're discovered all these other issues to commence their lawsuit otherwise it guts the meaning of our six year statute of limitations," Next Inc. Attorney Paul Tschetter said.

East Side Lutheran wants the Supreme Court to send the case back to circuit court for a jury trial.  The justices will make their decision later.?

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