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Lennartz v. Oak Point Assocs., P.A.

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

February 20, 2015

Jillian Lennartz
v.
Oak Point Associates, P.A. & a

Argued November 12, 2014.

Page 1160

Strafford.

Bussiere & Bussiere, P.A., of Manchester ( John P. Fagan on the brief and orally), for the plaintiff.

Donovan Hatem LLP, of Boston, Massachusetts ( Kelly Martin Malone and Michael E. Coghlan on the brief, and Mr. Coghlan orally), for defendant Oak Point Associates, P.A.

[167 N.H. 461] Desmarais, Ewing & Johnston, PLLC, of Manchester ( Debra L. Mayotte and Heather Silverstein on the brief, and Ms. Silverstein orally), for defendant Ambient Temperature Corporation.

DALIANIS, C.J. CONBOY, LYNN, and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 1161

Dalianis, C.J.

The plaintiff, Jillian Lennartz, appeals a decision of the Superior Court ( Tucker, J.) granting summary judgment to the defendants, Oak Point Associates, P.A. (Oak Point) and Ambient Temperature Corporation (Ambient), on the ground that RSA 508:4-b, I (2010) barred the plaintiff's claims against them. We affirm.

The following facts were recited by the trial court or are otherwise undisputed. The defendants were involved in various aspects of the design, construction, and installation of a ventilation system in a research laboratory at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). By November 2003, the project was substantially complete. In November 2009, the plaintiff suffered injuries while working in the laboratory due to a faulty vent pipe that exposed her to toxic fumes.

In February 2012, the plaintiff filed a negligence action against Oak Point, and in November 2012, she added Ambient as a defendant. The plaintiff also sued UNH, which owned the laboratory where the plaintiff was injured, but she eventually settled her claims with UNH.

The defendants subsequently filed motions for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of repose found in RSA 508:4-b, I. See Winnisquam Reg. Sch. Dist. v. Levine, 152 N.H. 537, 880 A.2d 369 (2005); Big League Entm't v. Brox Indus., 149 N.H. 480, 821 A.2d 1054 (2003). In response, the plaintiff argued that, as applied to her, RSA 508:4-b, I, violated her rights to a remedy, equal protection, and due process under the New Hampshire Constitution. See N.H. Const. pt. I, arts. 1, 2, 12, 14.

The trial court granted the summary judgment motions, concluding that RSA 508:4-b, I, barred the plaintiff's claims because she sued the defendants more than eight years after the ventilation system was substantially completed. The court also determined that, as applied, RSA 508:4-b, I, did not violate the plaintiff's constitutional ...


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