Monthly Archives: July 2015

Florida Condominium Association Obligation to Repair Windows

“Who is going to fix this?” and “Who is going to pay for this?” These are common questions facing unit owners and associations when condominium property needs repair. The answer will most likely be found in the condominium declarations, which typically describe the boundaries of each unit. But sometimes the declarations fail to adequately describe those boundaries; and the fine line delineating who is obligated to repair becomes indiscernible and worse, debatable. This is especially true when describing windows, doors, sliders and skylights in the associated with the condominium unit. Because the materials used are exposed to both the inside and outside of each unit; the condominium declarations must be very clear where the unit owner’s interest begins, and also where it ends. This post provides a brief overview of the Florida condominium association’s obligation to repair and maintain windows under Florida law. Read Full Post

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

This blog post is part II 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 actions and the government’s ability to take private property for public use. Future posts in this series will provide further insight into various issues concerning eminent domain actions, such as maximizing just compensation and the ability to recover attorney’s fees. This post discusses Florida law on determining the allowable scope for the taking of private property by a government entity. Read Full Post

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

Right Of Access – Abandoned Condominium Units in Florida

A Florida condominium association believes a unit is abandoned and is worried about the condition of the unit. The association also wants to collect assessments or rent but a there is a superior lienholder, like a first mortgage on the condominium unit. Section 718.111(5), Florida Statutes, provides Florida condominium associations some authority to inspect, maintain, and even lease the abandoned condominium unit. Read Full Post

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An Overview Of Florida Law On Punitive Damage Claims In Business Or Commercial Litigation

Whether you are a potential plaintiff or a potential defendant, in a business dispute, determining whether punitive damages can be successfully added to the claim is an important part of the legal analysis and should be considered as early in the process as possible. If you are a potential plaintiff, it is important to analyze whether a claim for punitive damages can be added. Successfully adding a claim for punitive damages will likely increase the potential value of the claim. If you are a potential defendant, it is important to understand whether a plaintiff can successfully move to add a claim for punitive damages based upon the causes of action pled. Read Full Post

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Second Mortgages Cannot be Voided in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Proceedings

In a post-housing crisis economy, many homeowners, facing a plummet in home values, found themselves trapped in homes that are worth less than the amount they owe bank. Those homeowners have sought refuge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, attempting to strip down the first mortgage and leaving many junior lienholders holding nothing but the bag—until now. In a big win for lenders, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding cannot void a second mortgage, when the debt owed on the first mortgage exceeds the current value of the collateral. See Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, 135 S. Ct. 1995 (2015). The decision reverses an interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code in Florida bankruptcy courts—an interpretation further affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit—which allowed a Chapter 7 debtor to strip off and void a mortgage lien that is wholly underwater. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

Banks Have No Duty to Perform Reasonable Underwriting or Loan Processing Under Florida Law

Occasionally a borrower’s counsel or counsel for an institution that has served as a lending partner in some capacity will get crafty in trying to shift the blame for bad business transactions to the originating and lead lending institution by asserting claims against the original lender for not performing like a reasonable and prudent bank can be expected to perform in the administration of a loan. The claims come in many forms, but they are all predicated on the same fundamental premise: if the bank had performed a better/reasonable underwriting or processing of the original loan, then the losses that ultimately occurred would have been prevented. Fortunately for banks, these types of claims are unsustainable in Florida law. There is no tort duty for banks to process loans competently. See Silver v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 760 F. Supp. 2d 1330, 1339 (S.D. Fla. 2011). Read Full Post

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Oral Warranties: Are They Enforceable? The Statute of Frauds may bar their enforcement.

Warranties are a valuable part of a construction contract. A multi-year warranty is more valuable than a 1-year warranty. A contractor’s offer to provide a multi-year warranty may induce an owner to select that contractor and enter into the contract. Often, multi-year warranties are included in the written contract, or separate written warranty policies are provided at the end of the project. However, not all construction contracts are written, and contractors don’t always provide a written policy at the end of a project. This raises the question: are oral multi-year warranties enforceable? They may not be. The Statute of Frauds may bar their enforcement. Read Full Post

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