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Dean v. Frank W. Neal & Assocs., Inc – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Dean v. Frank W. Neal & Assocs., Inc., 166 S.W.3d 352, 356 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 2005, no pet.), the plaintiffs contracted with the defendants to build their home. 166 S.W.3d at 354.

After moving into the house in 1996, the plaintiffs noticed cracks around the house and contacted the defendants to discuss possible remedies. Id. at 355.

When the defendants refused to pay for repairs, the plaintiffs sued for negligence, breach of warranty, and violation of the DTPA, among other causes of action, in January 2002. Id.

The trial court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs' claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Id.

The plaintiffs contended that they could not have discovered the full extent of the house's foundation problems until they hired an engineer to examine the house in late 1998. Id. at 356.

The Court held that the discovery rule did not toll the statute until the plaintiffs learned of the actual cause of the injury but that the limitations period instead began to run when the plaintiffs saw cracking in the house and knew of some movement in the foundation. Id. at 357.