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  • William Hawkins

Construction Cases in Tennessee TCPA Constructive Notice

Constructive Notice is sufficient to trigger the running of the statute of limitations because there is a statute that provides the means for a plaintiff to have discovered their alleged injury.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 62-6-513 specifically provides a means for a person in Tennessee to discover the status of a licenses issued by the board of licensing contractors. Id. Thus, constructive notice is sufficient to trigger the running of the statute of limitations for a plaintiff's TCPA claims based on unlicensed contracting, because a plaintiff would havea constructive notice of what type of license a defendant may or may not have had, and the monetary limits of the same.

As stated by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, information contained in public records that relate to an alleged injury sustained by a plaintiff impute constructive notice of that injury onto the plaintiff. Frinks v. Horvath, No. E2016-00944-COA-R3-CV, 2017 WL 782720, at *13 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 28, 2017) (holding that constructive notice of the information contained in a document was imputed on a plaintiff when that document was a matter of public record). Further, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s ruling when the trial court found, in part, that the statute of limitations for a TCPA claim started to run, and stated that knowledge of information contained in a public records was sufficient to trigger the running of the statute of limitations. Wise Const., LLC v. Boyd, No. E2009-01899-COA-R3-CV, 2011 WL 864388, at *3 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 24, 2011) (“As admitted, the Boyds could have checked the public records of Tennessee to determine the holder of the contractor’s license for the contractor’s number set forth on the parties’ agreement. . . The Boyds could also have checked the records to determine at any time if Mr. Wise individually was a licensed contractor.”).

Records regarding the status of licensure of individuals and/or legal entities which are regularly maintained by the [board of licensing contractors] are public records . . .” Therefore, the statute of limitations started running at the moment a Plaintiff enters into the contract with a contractor who is not properly licensed, whose licensure status is publically available.

Because the information contained in public record related to an alleged injury imputes constructive notice onto the plaintiff claims filed beyond one year under the TCPA regarding licensure are subject to dismissal.

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