Keith Lambdin and Dean Meyers successfully obtained an order granting a motion to dismiss, with prejudice, in federal court on behalf of a design professional and consulting services client.
Our client was hired by a municipality located in Broward County, Florida to perform inspection and code enforcement activities throughout the municipality. In the course of performing its contractual duties, our client’s employees cited the Plaintiff with several violations of the municipality’s code. The Plaintiff filed suit against the municipality and our client in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, claiming that the code violation enforcement activity was retaliatory in nature in violation of the Plaintiff’s civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Keith and Dean filed a motion to dismiss in response to the Plaintiff’s complaint. Upon review of the motion to dismiss, the District Court ordered a full dismissal with prejudice of all counts against our client and the municipality. In addition, Keith and Dean successfully secured an award of attorney’s fees and costs to our client pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988 and Local Rule 7.3(a).
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 of repose imposes a ten-year expiration date on actions founded upon the design, planning, or construction of improvements to real property. Per the statute, the ten-year expiration date begins to run from the latter of the following events:
- Actual possession of the improvement by the owner;
- Issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy;
- Abandonment of the construction, if not completed; or
- Completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer.
SB 316 and HB 297 were introduced as a direct response to the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Cypress Fairway Condominium Association, Inc. v. Bergeron Construction Co., Inc., 164 So. 3d 706 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015).
After a 30 day trial, Mike Brand and David Salazar secured a complete defense verdict in Monroe County (the Florida Keys). Mike and David represented a general contractor who replaced 6 miles of a water pipeline on the median of the Overseas Highway. Plaintiff allegedly went into the median as part of an emergency maneuver because the FDOT defines this area as a “clear zone” (designed to be a safe refuge for the motoring public) and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result. He claims our client built a concrete pad that wasn’t flush to grade per the plans and specifications (as well as the FDOT Greenbook and Utility Accommodations Manual) causing him to fly off his motorcycle 14 feet in the air and land on his face.
Plaintiff, himself a former FDOT employee, claimed he was aware this was a clear zone. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, stopped breathing at the scene, was air lifted to Jackson, and was in a coma thereafter.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for $14.5 Million. The jury was out 33 minutes.