The manufacturer’s “direct-applied exterior finish system” was advertised as “fully warranted” for twenty years, and this express warranty induced the homeowners to select this product for installation on their home. Unfortunately, the home suffered extensive damage when the product failed. The homeowners sued the manufacturer and the installer, and the defendants moved to dismiss, pleading the statute of repose pursuant to N.C.G.S. 1-50(a)(5), which provides no action to recover damages may be brought more than six years after the defendants’ last act or omission. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, and the homeowners appealed. The Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the statute of repose barred any claim brought after six years, an express warranty notwithstanding. Judge Robert N. Hunter, in dissent, opined that treating the statute of repose as an absolute bar impaired the parties’ freedom to contract for an express warranty longer than the repose period.
Matthew D. Quinn, of the Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice, Jr., and Jonathan McGirt, appeared on behalf of North Carolina Advocates for Justice as amicus curie, arguing that a manufacturer should not be allowed to shelter under the six-year statute of repose when it has expressly undertaken a warranty obligation for a longer term. Allowing a manufacturer to avoid an express promise in that manner subverts the limited public policy rationale for the statute of repose and encourages deceptive trade practices against unwitting consumers.