Yearly Archives: 2015

Condominium Association Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Florida

When deciding whether to pursue legal action, a condominium association board of directors may ask “can we recover the attorneys’ fees?” The good news for associations is that Florida Statutes and the governing documents of the community provide entitlement to the recovery of attorneys’ fees in many legal actions. The bad news is that this recovery is not without limitation. This blog will explore limitations on the recovery of attorneys’ fees and the provisions that may be important to include in the governing documents for the community. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Community Association Law Blog Practice Areas:

Eminent Domain and Attorneys’ Fees: The Case for Excessive Litigation

In Florida, recovery of attorneys’ fees in eminent domain and inverse condemnation proceedings is governed by Sections 73.091 and 73.092 of the Florida Statutes. Section 73.092 provides a mechanism for determining an award of attorney fees, based on the “benefits achieved for the client.” But, what if the state agency/condemning authority excessively litigated the case, such that the formulaic computation under that statute was unfair to the property owner? A recent Florida Supreme Court case addressed this issue. Joseph B. Doerr Trust v. Central Florida Expressway Authority. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog, Florida Eminent Domain Law Blog Practice Areas: , ,

The Independent Tort Doctrine: Post Tiara Condominium

When the Florida Supreme Court wrote the Tiara Condominium opinion the legal community was unsure what the opinion meant. Tiara Condominium Association, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc,., 110 So.3d 399 (Fla. 2013). The opinion clearly states that the economic loss doctrine is applicable only in the context of premises liability cases. However, did Tiara Condominium also eliminate the contractual privity economic loss rule, which was sometimes referred to as the independent tort doctrine? There still is not absolute clarity on this topic but the reasoned decision is that the independent tort doctrine preceded the economic loss rule and is not abolished by Tiara Condominium. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

The Powers of a Receiver Appointed Over Condo Associations and HOAs

Whether due to economic hardships, mismanagement, unforeseen circumstances, or even fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, a condo or homeowners association may find itself in desperate need of help.  Additionally, properties that have been neglected may also be running afoul … Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Community Association Law Blog, Florida Construction Industry Law Blog, Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Blog Practice Areas: , , , , , ,

Do You Need Expert Testimony Regarding Interpretation of the Florida Building Code?

Is trial looming close and are you thinking to yourself who is going to make the best expert for interpretation of the Florida Building Code on that construction defect case? Guess what? You don’t need an expert. In fact, it would be improper for the court to allow this type of testimony other than in very limited circumstances for very limited purposes.Construction litigation frequently requires fact finders, whether judges, juries or arbitrators, to determine whether there has been a violation of the Florida Building Code as an ultimate issue in causes of action for statutory violations of the Code, negligence of contractors and professional negligence of design professionals. This might leave some practitioners scratching their head pondering how they will prove that a violation of the Code may or may not have occurred in a given case. The following is a discussion of why expert testimony regarding the proper interpretation of the Code is improper and the solution to this seemingly perplexing problem. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need an expert for any issues dealing with whether or not there has been a violation of the building code, but it is important to realize the proper use of expert testimony for building code issues. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act

In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death of young children and is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons. Adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents. In furtherance of this initiative, the Florida Legislature enacted the “Preston de Ibern/Mckenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act” in 2000. See Chapter 515, Florida Statutes. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Penalties For Unlicensed Contracting In Florida

Unlicensed contracting in the State of Florida occurs every day and is a huge problem in this state. Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, regulates the “construction industry” in Florida “in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare.” § 489.101, Fla. Stat.. In the fight against unlicensed contracting activities, the Florida Legislature and Courts have fashioned a host of remedies. Read Full Post

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Florida Construction Liens and Bonds: Beware of the Notice to Owner and Notice to Contractor Requirement

Florida construction lien and bond law is filled with many requirements that must be strictly followed and that are strictly construed by Florida courts. Indeed, the Florida Construction Lien Law of Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, governing private construction projects, is designed to help ensure payment for work performed and to protect owners from paying for work more than once. Read Full Post

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Protecting Property Interests and Rights in Eminent Domain Actions and Government Takings: Part V

This blog post is part V in a series of posts to assist private property owners with protecting their property interests and rights in eminent domain actions and government takings. Part I provided a general overview of eminent domain and the government’s ability to take private property for public use. Part II discussed Florida law on the allowable scope for the taking of private property, which is determined by the element of reasonable necessity. Part III addressed regulatory takings, and Part IV explained how “just compensation” is determined. The fifth and final addition to this series concerns a property owner’s entitlement to attorney’s fees in eminent domain proceedings. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog, Florida Eminent Domain Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Florida Building Code: Violations and Claims

The purpose of the Florida Building Code (“Code”) is to establish minimum requirements to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Its provisions apply to, among other things, construction, alteration, modification and repairs of buildings and structures. Therefore, it is no surprise that construction and design defect claims in Florida often involve one party alleging that a contractor, developer, design professional, subcontractor, or even a supplier are liable for violations of the Code. Read Full Post

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