Monthly Archives: September 2012

Limiting Florida’s homestead exemption: collecting on homestead property in excess of one-half acre.

By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq. and Austin B. Calhoun, J.D. 2013

For well over a century, Florida’s Constitution has made the homestead exempt from the claims of creditors. Public Health Trust v. Lopez, 531 So. 2d 946, 948 (Fla. 1988). Florida’s constitutional provisions provides one of the most debtor-friendly homestead exemptions in the country, and debtors are permitted to divert substantial assets to the purchase of new and extravagant homes that can be shielded from creditors. Florida’s Unlimited Homestead Exemption Does Have Some Limits: Part I, 77 Fla. Bar J. 60 (2003). There are, however, exceptions to the rule. This blog post will focus on one exception: the creditor’s ability to collect on homestead property located in a municipality that exceeds one-half acre. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas: , , , ,

Contractor Negligence in a Florida Construction Defects Case

By: Christopher M. Cobb, Esquire and Austin B. Calhoun, J.D. 2013

Part I of this posting discussed various considerations with proving contractor negligence in Florida. Part II of this posting will discuss defenses and hurdles in proving such negligence. Just as the Plaintiff has the burden of proof on its negligence claim, the contractor defending such negligence claim has the affirmative burden to prove its defenses. Contractor defenses can be based in legal theory or factual accounts, but both are designed to thwart the notion that the contractor has breach its duty of care in the construction.
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CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas:

Be Wary of the Effect Substantive Law Provisions have on Offers of Judgment

By: Matthew F. Havice, Esq.

It is well known that Offers of Judgment and Florida Courts’ interpretations of the Statute and Rule governing them are continually changing. Certainly Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 and Florida Statute § 768.79 provide the requirements for the form, language, method and timing of service of an Offer of Judgment; however, Florida Circuit Courts are still split on various issues related to the Offers. We will address these splits in a later entry as in this entry we will focus on a recent Florida Supreme Court Decision that has answered several questions as to Offers of Judgments that are of particular concern to contractors and sureties. The Florida Supreme Court in Southeast Floating Docks, Inc., et al. v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 82 So.3d 73 (Fla. 2012) looked at the status of Fla. Stat § 768.79 as substantive or procedural law, the enforcement of an Offer of Judgment made in a matter in which the parties entered into a contract with a choice-of-law provision applying another states substantive law and the interplay of public policy concerns related to both Offers of Judgment and choice-of-law provisions. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas:

e-Discovery: What Is It and Why Amend the Florida Rules to Include It?

By: Kelly A. Karstaedt, Esq.

What do you think when you hear the word “e-discovery”? If you are thinking about CD copies of printed PDF documents and web site screen shots, you have a lot to learn. There is so much more a simple document can tell you when you obtain it in its native format instead of a printed sheet. What is native you ask? Well, we’ll get to that. But first, we need to understand the basics of e-discovery and why it is so crucial to litigation that the Florida Supreme Court decided to amend the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to specifically allow it. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas: ,