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Author: James O. Birr, III, Esq.

Homeowners’ Associations in Florida and the Marketable Record Title Act: Are Your Governing Documents Still Valid?

June 1, 2017 Community Association Industry Legal Blog

Florida homeowner and condominium associations’ governing documents (declaration, bylaws and articles of association) are critical for maintaining order and enforcing rules and regulations.  These governing documents are recorded in the public records of the county where the association community resides.  The purpose of recording these documents is to provide notice […]

Construction Defects and Insurance Coverage: When is the Duty to Defend Triggered?

April 3, 2017 Construction Industry Legal Blog

In Florida, an insurance company may have a duty to defend and/or indemnify its insured. The insurance company’s duty to defend its insured (as in defending the insured in a lawsuit) is broader than its duty to indemnify (as in paying for damages caused by the insured). The duty to defend is separate and apart from the duty to indemnify.

Design Professional Liability: Does Your Contract Protect You?

February 27, 2017 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Under Florida law, individual design professionals can be held liable for professional negligence, even if they did not personally contract for the professional services. Moransais v. Heathman. Moreover, Florida’s statutes governing engineering, architecture and geology make clear that individual design professionals are not automatically absolved of liability simply because they are not parties to a contract.

Florida Construction Liens: Is the Lien Fraudulent?

January 16, 2017 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Florida construction lien law allows certain parties who perform construction work to record construction liens if they are not paid. A construction lien is proper when a lienor has not been paid for labor, services, materials or other items furnished in connection with a construction project. Sometimes, however, when a construction lien is recorded, an owner or contractor, subcontractor or sub-subcontractor may argue the construction lien is fraudulent. A party that records a fraudulent lien can be subject to punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and felony charges.

Eminent Domain in Florida: Recovery of Attorney Fees

November 14, 2016 Florida Eminent Domain Law Blog

Roadwork and other governmental projects are prevalent in Florida and often require the government to acquire private property. Both the Florida Constitution and the United States Constitution provide that no private property shall be taken for a public purpose without full compensation. A land owner’s constitutional right to full compensation for property taken by the government includes the ability to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees in the process. JEA v. Williams. The ability to recover attorneys’ fees, even in pre-suit negotiations, is an important consideration for owners when dealing with a government entity seeking to acquire the owner’s real property.

Independent Contractor or Employee: Know the Difference

October 5, 2016 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

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.

Three Key Steps for Material Suppliers to Ensure Payment

September 6, 2016 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Florida Construction Lien law is designed to protect laborers and materialmen with the greatest protection that justice and equity afford. Tuttle/White Constructors, Inc. v. Hughes Supply, Inc. But just how should materialmen/ material suppliers (a “supplier”) go about protecting themselves under the Florida lien and bond law to better ensure payment? While the supplier certainly has payment rights under its contract for the materials, it is always better to have additional mechanisms to get paid. The focus of this post is to discuss ways in which a supplier can better protect its rights under the Florida Construction Lien Law (“Lien Law”).

Florida Contractors and the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act

July 29, 2016 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Contractors who perform excavation work in Florida must be aware of the requirements set forth in Chapter 556 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act (“Act”). Failing to follow the procedures set forth in the Act can result in civil and criminal penalties, including monetary damages. This post focuses on some of the requirements of the Act related to excavation work that is not beneath the waters of the State of Florida.

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