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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.

23FEB 2017

The Burden of Betterment

by Ryan M. Charlson, Esq.

The concept of betterment has long been used by defendants in cases involving defective design or construction to limit the damages awarded to a plaintiff.[1] The theory behind betterment is that: “if in [the] course of making repairs [an] owner adopts a more expensive design, recovery should be limited to what would have been the reasonable cost of repair according to original design.”[2] Betterment is often raised as an affirmative defense, requiring a defendant to prove that the plaintiff has received a good or service that is superior to that for which the plaintiff originally contracted. A recent South Florida case seems, at first blush, to suggest the burden of establishing the value of betterments may fall to the plaintiff, although a closer reading indicates the decision is likely to have limited applicability.

02OCT 2016

Stealthy Arbitration Clauses In(Deed)

by Jennifer E. Lulgjuraj, Esq.

Subcontractors beware — the “boilerplate” arbitration clauses in those standard-form subcontracts used by large scale homebuilders may be broader, and ultimately more costly, than you realize. It is not unusual for a builder to require a homebuyer to arbitrate construction defect claims. Likewise, it is not unusual for a builder to include within its standard-form Read More…

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…

15APR 2016

Federal Court Recently Finds No Coverage Under “Your Work” Exclusion

by Craig S. Distel, Esq.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently rendered a decision in Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Elite Homes, Inc.[1] addressing the duty to defend when a “your work” exclusion exists in Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy. In Elite Homes, Joseph and Emily Crozier sued Elite Homes, Inc. (“Elite”) in state court Read More…

16MAR 2015

Recent Case Law to Help Navigate Dual Employment in a Construction Setting

by Lisa Reyes

Recently, the First DCA addressed the issue of dual employment as it relates to a contractor and subcontractor. See Roof Painting by Hartzell, Inc./Summit Holdings Claim Center v. Andres Hernandez, Colors Construction, Inc., and Guarantee Insurance Company, 2015 WL 641199, (Fla. 1st DCA 2015). Dual employment occurs when a single employee is under a contract Read More…

30JUL 2014

Construction Law Success Story: Partial Summary Judgment on Duty to Defend Structural Engineer

by Thomas Shea

Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Florida Construction Law Attorneys, David Salazar and Dave Peterson, recently obtained partial summary judgment on the duty to defend a structural engineer in a construction delay claim. This case is a winning example that the duty to defend is broader than – as well as separate and apart from – the Read More…

11JUN 2013

Notices to Owner Under Florida’s Lien Statute

by CSK Construction Group

Liens are a useful tool for contractors or subcontractors to obtain payment from the owners of construction projects in the event they are not paid for the work that has been performed.   Under Florida Statute § 713.06, if the contractor is not in privity with the owner, the contractor must give notice to the owner Read More…

31MAY 2013

Legislative Update: Bills To Alter Florida’s Construction Lien Law Dies In Committee

by Stephen W. Stukey, Esq.

Earlier this month, the Florida Legislature wrapped up its 2013 Regular Session. With its close on May 3, 2013, came the demise of legislation intended to make changes to Florida’s construction lien laws.  The legislation sought to: Revise the mandatory notice provision in contracts between owners and contractors [F.S. § 713.015 (1)]; Revise notice requirements Read More…

09APR 2013

Economic Loss Rule – A Narrowed Approach

by CSK Construction Group

The Florida Supreme Court has finally taken the Economic Loss Rule head-on and has attempted to address an issue that has created much litigation.   On March 7, 2013, the Court released its opinion in the case of Tiara Condominium Association, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. , 2013 WL 828003, significantly narrowing the application Read More…