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Author: James O. Birr, III, Esq.

Condominium Association Official Records and Written Inquiries

December 5, 2013 Community Association Industry Legal Blog

Condominium associations in Florida often receive requests from unit owners to examine the “official records” of the association, as well as written inquiries seeking information from the association’s board. See Section 728.111(12) and 718.112(2)(a)2. of the Florida Statutes. The Florida Condominium Act empowers condominium unit owners to request such information, however, the scope of such requests inquiries is limited.

Florida Construction Liens: Fraud or Just a Good Faith Dispute

October 30, 2013 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Parties often cry “fraud” when defending against a construction lien recorded on their real property. However, the fraudulent lien card is sometimes overplayed and oftentimes lacks merit, considering the requisite proof to establish a fraudulent lien. The consequences of a fraudulent lien are significant – it is a complete defense to lien enforcement and can result in recovery of punitive damages and compensatory damages against the lienor. Sharrard v. Ligon, 892 So. 2d 1092 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2004). It can also result in the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs against the lienor. Delta Painting, Inc. v. Baumann, 710 So. 2d 663 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1998). § 713.31, Fla. Stat. The filing of a fraudulent lien is also a third-degree felony. § 713.31(3), Fla. Stat.

Indemnity Provisions in Construction Contracts

September 24, 2013 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Many times the party with the most leverage in contract negotiations forces the “weaker” party to hold it harmless or indemnify it for anything that goes wrong in connection with the contract, even problems caused by the “stronger” party’s own negligence. Indemnity is a risk shifting mechanism and essentially comes in two forms: common law and contractual. This article focuses on contractual indemnity provisions in construction contacts.

You Have a Judgment and Want to Collect on It

September 4, 2013 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

After a party obtains a judgment in a lawsuit, it may then be left trying to collect on it. Assuming the judgment is not paid, parties will likely engage in post-judgment discovery to locate assets and/or discover fraudulent transfers. Florida Statute § 56.29 provides judgment creditors with an expeditious remedy to both discover assets which may be subject to the judgment, as well as subject those assets to a speedy proceeding in the same court where the original judgment was obtained. Regent Bank v. Woodcox, 636 So. 2d 885, 886 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994).

Implied Warranties in Florida: Essential Services

July 23, 2013 Construction Industry Legal Blog

On July 11, 2013, the Florida Supreme Court adopted the “essential services” test in determining whether the implied warranty of fitness and merchantability applies to improvements such as infrastructure, drainage systems, retention ponds, and underground pipes. Maronda Homes, Inc. of Florida v. Lakeview Reserve Homeowners Association, Inc., 38 Fla. L. Weekly S 573. In deciding the case, the Florida Supreme Court resolved a split of authority between two Florida appellate courts, and addressed a recently-adopted Florida statute dealing with such improvements. Compare Port Sewall Harbor & Tennis Club Owners Association, Inc. v. First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Martin County, 463 So. 2d 530 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985) with Lakeview Reserve Homeowners v. Maronda Homes, Inc., 48 So. 3d 902 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010); § 553.835, Fla. Stat. While the Court’s ruling is subject to rehearing motion (and, therefore, not yet final), it is an important holding that could significantly affect Florida’s construction and design industry.

Florida Statute 558.0035: Limiting Design Professional Negligence

June 25, 2013 Construction Industry Legal Blog

Starting July 1, 2013, a new Florida Statute will allow businesses to limit, by contract, their employee’s liability for professional negligence claims. Senate Bill 286 and Florida Statute Section 558.0035. The new statute applies to business entities architects, interior designers, landscape architects, engineers, surveyors, and geologists. The business entities that will be able to utilize the provisions of the statute include corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, proprietorships, firms, enterprises, franchises, associations, trusts, and self-employed individuals, whether fictitiously named or not, doing business in the State of Florida.

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