Monthly Archives: October 2016

Jury Instructions in Florida Contract and Business Disputes

Jury instructions are integral to facilitating each juror’s understanding of the law and the way in which to apply the law, when rendering a verdict following a jury trial. However, until just years ago, Florida lacked the substantive backing of jury instructions that were drafted with the specific intent to be utilized during contract and business law disputes. As standard jury instructions failed to properly guide jurors regarding what issues were of importance in their deliberations, naturally, parties subject to dispute found that jury trials failed to resolve matters in a way that promulgated equitable results to those involved. As we often take breach of contract cases to trial, these jury instructions will be pivotal for our practice at Jimerson Birr moving forward. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

What Are Consequential Damages on a Construction Contract?

When a party breaches a contract and the contract does not contain a valid liquidated damages clause, the non-breaching party may be entitled to compensatory damages. The appropriate measure of damages arising from a breach of an enforceable contract is usually “the difference between the value expected from the contract and the value actually received by the non-breaching party.” Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co. v. Technip USA Corp., 2008 WL 3876141, at *5 (Tex. Ct. App. 2008). Actual damages flowing from the breach of contract are either “direct” or “consequential.” Direct damages are those that flow naturally and necessarily from the breach and compensate for loss that is presumed to have been foreseen or contemplated by the parties because of the breach. Id. Examples of direct damages include unpaid contract amounts, cost to repair defective work, and reduced project value due to nonconforming work. Consequential damages are damages that “do not necessarily, but do directly, naturally, and proximately result from” the injury for which compensation is sought. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas:

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: How Does it Affect Condominium Associations?

Condominium owners’ associations are unique under Florida law—particularly when it comes to the collection of delinquent assessments and liability. The already complicated bankruptcy process thus becomes even more complex when a condominium owner with unpaid assessments is involved. Assessments that arose prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petition are subject to discharge in the bankruptcy. But, the question then arises as to whether or not the unit owner is liable for post-petition assessments. While an owner/debtor who files for Chapter 7 is personally liable for assessments arising post-petition, there is a split in authority among Florida’s bankruptcy courts as to whether a unit owner remains personally liable for assessments when he or she files Chapter 13. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Community Association Law Blog Practice Areas:

Requirements to Challenging an Association Election Through Arbitration

Hardly anything generates more buzz and quarrel within community associations than the annual board of director elections. During the annual meeting and election season, numerous legal inquiries are made regarding the law on the election process, election disputes and challenging election results. Challenging an election requires meticulous and timely action. This blog post discusses the requirements to challenging a community association election through the mandated arbitration process. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Community Association Law Blog Practice Areas: , , ,

Riparian Rights in Florida: The Right to Accretions and Relictions

Ownership of waterfront property is very desirable in Florida and often involves unique real property considerations. But when we discuss waterfront property in Florida, one of the most attractive and most sought-out features is an incredible water view. When it comes to private waterfront property ownership, it can be difficult to distinguish where the private land rights cease and the sovereign land ownership begins. More difficult is when your neighbor begins construction or activity that actually blocks your waterfront view. As a result, a subset of real property law has emerged to address what is called “riparian rights.” Read Full Post

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

Are Letters of Intent Enforceable in Florida?

So-called “letters of intent” are used quite often in a wide array of business contexts. Even though they are used frequently, however, much of the time the parties signing the letter do not understand the legal effect of the letter. Parties often don’t understand if the letter of intent is legally enforceable. Can a party sue on the letter of intent alone if the other party fails to consummate the deal or hold up their end of the bargain? The answer to that question under Florida law is: maybe. This blog provides guidance on the main issues affecting enforceability of a letter of intent. Read Full Post

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

Are Business Losses Arising from a Hurricane Covered by Insurance?

The answer to this question is that it depends on your policy. Generally, a business can insure against business losses by purchasing Business Interruption coverage or Contingent Business Interruption coverage. That being said, commercial insurance policies are not necessarily standard policies, and the specific language of the policy determines whether a business loss is a “covered loss.” An “all risk” policy, for example, covers all losses unless expressly excluded. Additionally, some insurance policies have a civil authority clause which provides business loss when a civil authority closes or denies access to the insured property. There are also insurance policies that have a service interruption clause which provides for business loss when there is an interruption of water or power to a business. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

Does the Davis-Bacon Act Apply to Private Projects on Public Land?

A recent federal appellate decision examined an issue regarding private construction projects on public land in District of Columbia v. Department of Labor, 819 F.3d 444 (D.C. Cir. 2016). In this particular case, the district court and the appellate court involved refused to extend the application of the Davis-Bacon Act to the project in question. With the 2016 presidential election about a month away, this recent decision is important in the context of the construction industry because the administration that wins the election—depending on their labor stance—may push for more or less application of the DBA through the Department of Labor, an executive branch agency. Moreover, given the decision of the court, legislators running for election or reelection to Congress may have labor stances that should be examined by those interested in this issue and decision. This blog examines the opinion of the court and its reasoning in reaching its decision in this case and also comments on why this case is of importance to the construction industry. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas:

Independent Contractor or Employee: Know the Difference

Business owners must determine the type of workers they will utilize to operate successfully. In some cases, owners think they are hiring independent contractors but, in reality, those workers may actually be employees. Failure to properly classify workers can result in fines, penalties, and payment of back taxes, so it is important that business owners understand the legal distinctions between an independent contractor and an employee. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog

Are Florida’s Fraudulent Transfer Claims Subject to Equitable Tolling?

Many creditors are aware that Florida’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (“FUFTA”) is a powerful remedy used to avoid and unwind transfers of assets that debtors may make to hinder, delay and defraud their creditors. But what if you (the creditor) discover that your debtor made a transfer, and you didn’t know it was actually fraudulent under FUFTA until a year later? Your fraudulent transfer claims may be forever extinguished as being time barred, without a tolling period to account for the time that elapsed before the fraudulent nature of the transfer was discovered. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas: , ,