July 17, 2015 Practice Points

Unlicensed Contractors Not Entitled to Statutory Protections

The New Mexico Court of Appeals held that the strong public policy against unlicensed contractors not only prevents unlicensed contractors from using the court system to collect for work performed, but also denies them the benefit of statutory protections such as statutes of limitation

by Sean R. Calvert

The New Mexico Court of Appeals held that the strong public policy against unlicensed contractors not only prevents unlicensed contractors from using the court system to collect for work performed, but also denies them the benefit of statutory protections such as statutes of limitation or repose. S. Louis Little v. Paulette Jacobs, 2014-NMCA-105, 336 P.3d 398. In this case involving a 13-year-old deck, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts grant of summary judgment based on application of the 10 year statute of repose applicable to all construction projects.

In 2000, the appellant unlicensed contractor constructed a deck on rental property owned by defendant Jacobs. In 2009, the plaintiff stayed at the rental property and was injured when he fell off the deck and into a ditch. The plaintiff brought suit against the landlord in 2011 and upon learning in 2013 of the appellant’s involvement in the construction of the deck, amended the complaint to name the appellant as a party.

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