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Florida Construction Law News

07APR 2017

Professional Negligence in Construction: Which Statute of Limitations Applies?

by Stephen W. Stukey, Esq.

It is a fairly common fact pattern in construction defect claims: A design professional, such as an architect or engineer, is contracted by a client to provide a design, and perhaps perform construction administration for, an improvement to real property. Construction is completed, and everything seems fine for four or more years until the client asserts defects and deficiencies that implicate the services of the design professional. Upon further investigation, it appears the client knew of the alleged defects and deficiencies for at least two years before filing suit for professional negligence. The question invariably arises, “are the claims barred by the statute of limitations?”

05NOV 2016

Florida Professional Engineers – Recent Administrative Code Changes Regarding Engineering Documents

by Robert A. Crabill, Esq.

Engineers in Florida are subject to a comprehensive regulatory scheme enacted by the Florida Legislature with further regulations implemented by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. Professional engineers have a legal (and professional) obligation to remain apprised of any changes in the laws and rules in order to ensure compliance with the latest regulations. Recently, the Florida Board of Professional Engineers enacted changes to the Rule governing the Minimum Requirements for Engineering Documents that will impact its engineer-licensees in their Florida practices.

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]

01JUL 2016

Florida Appellate Court Holds Four-Year Statute of Limitations Applicable Irrespective of Contractor Licensure

by Clay H. Whittaker, Esq.

In Brock v. Garner Window & Door Sales, Inc.,[1] Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected a novel attempt to circumvent Florida’s well-established four-year statute of limitations for all actions founded on the construction of an improvement to real property.  Plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract as a result of water intrusion damage Read More…

18DEC 2015

Proposed Legislation on Statute of Repose: Clarifying that the Statute Runs from Completion of Performance

by Christie Bredahl

As Florida’s 2016 Legislative Session approaches, two companion bills have been introduced – Senate Bill (“SB”) 316 and House Bill (“HB”) 297.  These bills seek to address the interpretation and application of the statute of repose set forth in § 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes. Intended to impose finality on the availability of claims for latent defects, the statute Read More…

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…

19FEB 2015

CSK’s Legislative Update – House Bill 501

by David S. Harrigan, Esq.

In addition to HB 87 / SB 418, CSK also continues to monitor the progress of House Bill (“HB”) 501, entitled “Limitation of Actions,”  as it makes its run through the 2015 session of the Florida legislature.  The objective of HB 501 is to alter the current state of Florida law regarding the time within Read More…

18FEB 2015

CSK’s Legislative Update – House Bill 87/Senate Bill 418

by Christie Bredahl

Florida’s 2015 Legislative session kicks off on Tuesday March 3, 2015. This Legislative session CSK’s Construction Law Division is closely tracking the following bills: • House Bill (“HB”) 87 titled Construction Defect Claims and a similar bill, Senate Bill (“SB”) 418; and • HB 501 titled Limitations of Actions. These bills, if passed, will impact Read More…

06NOV 2014

State Court Finds Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Statute Unconstitutional

by Todd A. Macleod, Esq.

Judge Jorge E. Cueto, sitting in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida, recently found the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, as amended effective October 1, 2003, does not provide a “reasonable alternative remedy to the tort remedy it supplanted.” Padgett v. State of Florida, No. 11-13661-CA-25 (view the Padgett opinion). This ruling declares the Read More…

17JUL 2013

Contractor Successfully Defends Fee Award – Offers of Judgment: How to oppose prevailing party fees pursuant to §768.79 and Rule 1.442(c)(3)

by Sherry Schwartz

Florida law provides a conduit to obtain prevailing party fees where there is no other statutory or contractual basis to seek them.  This tool is generally referred to and recognized as an “Offer of Judgment” and/or “Proposal for Settlement”, as codified in Florida Statute §768.79 and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442(c)(3).  Both Plaintiffs and Read More…