Kentucky U.S. District Court Rejects Expansion of the Discovery Rule to Real Property Damage Claims

April 15, 2016
Lexington, Kentucky

Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP’s (HPTY) client, a national retailer, was granted the dismissal of a real property damage claim by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The claimant alleged real property damage in excess of $100,000 related to a series of merchandise deliveries using commercial vehicles. 

Eric A. Ludwig and S. Christopher Collier of the Atlanta office defended the claim for the Georgia based retailer. HPTY immediately removed the action from a county court based on diversity jurisdiction. Contemporaneously, Eric and Chris moved to dismiss asserting a statute of limitations defense based on the factual allegations in the Complaint.

The Court awarded a complete dismissal “with prejudice” based on the applicability of the Statute of Limitation (K.R.S. § 413.120). The court further rejected claimant’s discovery rule argument that the claim is viable because the property damage was only recently discovered. The Court agreed with HPTY’s client’s position that applying the discovery rule to property damages claims is strictly limited to environmental causes of action under federal statutes, not simple negligence. The Court noted, “Kentucky does not generally apply the discovery rule for property damage torts…Historically, ‘Kentucky’s Courts have cautioned against efforts to expand the discovery rule without legislative authorization.’” (Opinion at 3, internal citations omitted).    

No. 5:15-cv-00267 (E.D.K.Y. April 15, 2016)

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