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Florida Construction Law News

23MAR 2017

Useful Life: A Valuable Theory for Reducing Damages

by Brooke E. Beebe, Esq.

The situation is one all too familiar to construction defect litigants. A homeowner contracts with a roofing contractor to install a new roof with a life expectancy of ten years.[1] After only five years, the homeowner brings a claim for construction defects in the roof alleging that the roof requires complete replacement due to water intrusion. The homeowner seeks damages for the full replacement cost of the roof. However, under a “useful life” theory, the homeowner would not be entitled to damages for the full amount of the replacement cost. Instead, the homeowner would be entitled to one-half of the cost of the replacement roof, taking into account the fact that he or she had been deprived of only five, rather than ten, years of use.

17AUG 2016

Eleventh Circuit Considers Whether the Chapter 558 Process Is a “Suit”

by Matan A. Scheier, Esq.

Recently, in Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed an issue of first impression.[1] In Altman, the Eleventh Circuit evaluated whether an insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify an insured who receives a Notice of Claim pursuant to Chapter 558, Florida Statutes (“Notice of Claim”). The Southern District of Florida previously ruled that a Notice of Claim did not constitute a suit, and thus, does not trigger a duty to defend and indemnify. The insured then appealed that ruling to the Eleventh Circuit, which ruled that the terms “suit” and “civil proceeding,” as found in the subject Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policies, may be ambiguous as used in the policies.[2] Due to important public policy considerations, the Eleventh Circuit certified the following question to the Florida Supreme Court: “Is the notice and repair process set forth in Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes a ‘suit’ within the meaning of the GCL policies issued by C&F to ACI?”[3]

09SEP 2015

Amendments to Chapter 558 Become Effective on October 1, 2015

by Daniel R. Duello

On June 16, 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 87, which amends Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes.  The amendment takes effect October 1, 2015. The intent of Chapter 558 is to avoid the commencement of an action by providing a mechanism for the parties to enter into discussions with one another Read More…

05NOV 2013

Construction Law Trial Win: Complete Defense Verdict in Seven Day Jury Trial

by Thomas Shea

The Florida law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. is pleased to announce that two of its construction lawyers (George Truitt and Greg Willis) obtained a complete defense verdict in a seven day jury trial in Miami-Dade County. Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A. represented a geotechnical engineer who was sued for professional malpractice by Read More…

23JAN 2013

Liability Releases with Warranty Repairs – A Proactive Defense

by Daniel E. Levin, Esq.

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal recently issued an important opinion regarding a Developer’s and Contractor’s liability for claims by an Condominium Association’s property insurance carrier for a subrogation claim after the Developer and Contractor entered into a release with the Association pursuant to certain warranty repairs. The appellate court affirmed the decision of the Read More…

17JUL 2012

Appellate Rights for Arbitration Litigants

by Daniel Klein

            As those in the industry are aware, the standard AIA documents – as well many of the other form contracts in construction – include arbitration provisions, the result of which is that many construction matters are litigated in arbitration fora. While arbitration is theoretically not as expensive a means of dispute resolution as the Read More…

12APR 2012

No Common Law Implied Warranty of Habitability Applies to Surrounding Structures That “Essentially Service” A Home

by George Truitt, Jr., Esq.

The Florida Legislature recently passed legislation that is very favorable for developers. More specifically, the legislation appears to eliminate future exposure of developers to claims for common law implied warranties of fitness and merchantability related to subdivision improvements of roads, drainage systems, retention ponds and underground pipes surrounding homes. In mid-March 2012, the Florida House of Representatives passed Read More…

10APR 2012

An Alleged Breach of a Promise to Deliver a Completed Condominium Is Measured From the Date of Filing A Surveyor’s Certificate of Substantial Completion, Not the Certificate of Occupancy

by George Truitt, Jr., Esq.

Developers must take precaution when making promises regarding completion of construction, especially in light of new Florida case law holding that a claim against a developer for breach of promise to deliver a completed condominium is measured from the date of filing a surveyor’s certificate of substantial completion and not the certificate of occupancy. In Tranquil Harbour Dev., LLC v. BBT, LLC, 79 So. 3d 84 Read More…

05APR 2012

A Florida Federal Trial Court Suggests That Contribution Between Comparatively At-Fault Parties Is Obsolete

by George Truitt, Jr., Esq.

Is the cause of action for Contribution still a viable claim? A recent federal court suggested that Contribution between comparatively at-fault parties is no longer a viable claim in light of the availability of comparative fault defenses to liability. In Mendez-Garcia v. Galaxie Corp., 8:10-CV-788-T-24 EAJ, 2011 WL 5358658 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 3, 2011), the Read More…