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Florida Construction Law News

17FEB 2014

Construction Law Win: Motions to Dismiss Granted based on Lack of Standing due to Economic Loss Rule

by Ried Arnold

The Florida law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. is pleased to announce that one of its construction lawyers (Ried Arnold) had two motions to dismiss granted in a hotly-contested construction defect case regarding the Plaintiff’s negligence claim. The hearing took place on January 21, 2014 and the Orders Granting the Motions were entered January 28, 2014.

Factual Background of the Construction Defect Case

The Plaintiff is a condominium association that has alleged construction defects resulting in water intrusion in Osceola County, Florida. Damages were alleged to have occurred at each building and Plaintiffs alleged negligence against the subcontractors stating that personal property was damaged in an attempt to circumvent the Economic Loss Rule.

Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Construction Law Division, through Ried Arnold, represented two of the masonry contractors who installed slabs, CMU, and pre-cast lintels. Our construction lawyers filed and argued a motion to dismiss the Plaintiff’s negligence claim based on the Economic Loss Rule as set forth in the Tiara[1] and Casa Clara[2] cases. Additionally, our construction lawyers argued (and prevailed) that the Plaintiff was unable to allege that personal property damage (to individual condominium owner’s property) negated the Economic Loss Rule. The Economic Loss Rule in Florida provides that a tort claim cannot stand if a product damages itself and there is no damage to other property or no personal injury occurs. The court stated that based upon Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.221, the condominium association does not have standing to sue for damages to personal property.

Strong Points for the Defense

Within jurisdictions in Florida that recognize the Economic Loss Rule as a bar to Plaintiff’s claims of negligence for damages to condominium common elements, Plaintiffs are unable to use personal property damage as a way to circumvent the Economic Loss Rule. The Court granted the Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s Negligence claim based on the Economic Loss Rule and within the order stated that the Plaintiff condominium association did not have standing to bring a claim for damage to personal property under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.221.



[1]: Tiara Condo. Ass’n, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., 110 So.3d 399 (Fla. 2013)
[2]: Casa Clara Condo. Ass’n, Inc. v. Charley Toppino & Sons, Inc., 620 So.2d 1244 (Fla. 1993)

Posted By Ried Arnold