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    Florida Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: In Title XXXIII Chapter 558, the Florida Legislature establishes a requirement that homeowners who allege construction defects must first notify the construction professional responsible for the defect and allow them an opportunity to repair the defect before the homeowner canbring suit against the construction professional. The statute, which allows homeowners and associations to file claims against certain types of contractors and others, defines the type of defects that fall under the authority of the legislation and the types of housing covered in thelegislation. Florida sets strict procedures that homeowners must follow in notifying construction professionals of alleged defects. The law also establishes strict timeframes for builders to respond to homeowner claims. Once a builder has inspected the unit, the law allows the builder to offer to repair or settle by paying the owner a sum to cover the cost of repairing the defect. The homeowner has the option of accepting the offer or rejecting the offer and filing suit. Under the statute the courts must abate any homeowner legal action until the homeowner has undertaken the claims process. The law also requires contractors, subcontractors and other covered under the law to notify homeowners of the right to cure process.


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    Tri-County Home Builders
    Local # 1073
    PO Box 420
    Marianna, FL 32447

    Noma Florida Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Tallahassee Builders Association Inc
    Local # 1064
    1835 Fiddler Court
    Tallahassee, FL 32308

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    Building Industry Association of Okaloosa-Walton Cos
    Local # 1056
    1980 Lewis Turner Blvd
    Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

    Noma Florida Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of West Florida
    Local # 1048
    4400 Bayou Blvd Suite 45
    Pensacola, FL 32503

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    Florida Home Builders Association (State)
    Local # 1000
    PO Box 1259
    Tallahassee, FL 32302

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    Columbia County Builders Association
    Local # 1007
    PO Box 7353
    Lake City, FL 32055

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    Northeast Florida Builders Association
    Local # 1024
    103 Century 21 Dr Ste 100
    Jacksonville, FL 32216

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    NOMA FLORIDA BUILDING CONSULTANT
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    The Noma, Florida Building Consultant Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Noma's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Noma, Florida

    Colorado Supreme Court Decision Could Tarnish Appraisal Process for Policyholders

    September 16, 2019 —
    On June 24, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the plain language of appraisal provisions in insurance policies, requiring “impartial appraisers,” direct appraisers to be “unbiased, disinterested, and unswayed by personal interest,” regardless of who hires them, and prohibits the party-appointed appraisers from acting as advocates. A common and attractive alternative dispute resolution option, the appraisal process usually entails the policyholder and insurer each hiring their own appraiser, who estimates how much the claim is worth. These appraisers also select a third-party umpire, and if they cannot agree upon one, a court appoints one. The umpire analyzes the conflicting estimates and presents a number to resolve the dispute. If two of the three parties agree with the outcome, the number becomes binding. Owners Ins. Co. v. Dakota Station II Condo. Ass'n, Inc.1 began when Dakota Station II Condominium Association Inc. (“Dakota”) and its insurer, Owners Insurance Company (“Owners”) could not agree on how to value two claims arising out of weather damage. To settle the differences and come to a resolution, Dakota invoked the appraisal provision in the insurance policy instructing each party to select its own “competent and impartial appraiser.” Ultimately, a court-appointed umpire considered six cost categories in dispute and adopted four of Owners’ estimates and two of Dakota’s. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Michael V. Pepe, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
    Mr. Pepe may be contacted at mvp@sdvlaw.com

    Hyundai to Pay 47M to Settle Construction Equipment's Alleged Clean Air Violations

    November 04, 2019 —
    Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas Inc. and its parent company are paying a $47-million civil penalty to settle federal allegations that the company sold construction vehicles that weren't certified to meet the appropriate Clean Air Act emissions standards, federal agencies say. Reprinted courtesy of Tom Ichniowski, Engineering News-Record Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at ichniowskit@enr.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Proving Impacts to Critical Path to Defeat Liquidated Damages Assessment

    December 16, 2019 —
    When a contractor is staring down the barrel of an owner’s assessment of liquidated damages, the burden will fall on the contractor to establish that the delay was attributable to the owner and the owner’s agents. The contractor will want to do this not only to defeat the assessment of liquidated damages, but because it will want to establish that the delay caused it to incur extended field overhead (general conditions) for which the owner is responsible. A contractor supports its burden by proving the impacts to its critical path. “In general, proving an allegation of government-caused delays without a means of showing the critical path is a steep prospect.” James Talcott Construction v. U.S., 2019 WL 1040383, *8 (Fed. Cl. 2019) (unreported opinion) (finding that because contractor did NOT present a critical path analysis it could not support its claim for delay caused by the government). Avoiding the assessment of liquidated damages means the contractor needs to support that it encountered excusable delay and it is/was entitled to an extension of time to complete the project. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com

    Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Determination of Coverage for Faulty Workmanship

    August 26, 2019 —
    Although the lower court held that the insured contractor was entitled to coverage and indemnification under a CGL policy despite claims based upon faulty workmanship, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. David Group, Inc., 2019 Ala. LEXIS 52 (Ala. May 24, 2019). The David Group (TDG) specialized in custom-built homes. The Shahs purchased a newly built home from TDG in October 2006. After moving in, the Shahs experienced problems with their new home that TDG was unable to correct. In February 2008, the Shahs sued TDG. The complaint alleged that serious defects existed, resulting in health and safety issues, building code violations, poor workmanship, misuse of construction materials, and disregard of property installation methods. The case went to arbitration and an award of $12,725 was issued to the Shahs. Nationwide was TDG's CGL carrier and initially defended TDG. After Nationwide withdrew its defense, TDG sued seeking a judgment declaring that Nationwide was obligated to defend and indemnify. The trial court denied Nationwide's motion for summary judgment and issued a partial summary judgment in favor of TDG on the issue of coverage. Nationwide appealed. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Insurer Awarded Summary Judgment on Collapse Claim

    January 06, 2020 —
    The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the insurer that there was no coverage for a collapse under the policy. S.O. Beach Corp. v. Great Am. Ins. Co.,2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32569 (11th Cir. Oct. 31, 2019). S.O. Beach Corporation and Larios on the Beach, Inc ("Larios") owned a building in Miami Beach. Sometime between march 4, 2012 and April 10, 2013, Larios discovered that parts of the first three floors of its building had caved in to varying degrees. The primary cause of the collapse was a wooden support beam that had severely rotted. Larios found a broken pipe that was gushing water onto the beam, causing deterioration. Larios was forced to evacuate the building until the damage was repaired. Larios submitted a claim under its all-risk policy with Great American. The policy required that a collapse an "abrupt falling down or caving in of a building or any part of a building" to be covered. Before a coverage decision was made, Larios sued for breach of contract. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court granted Great American's motion and denied Larios' motion. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Florida Adopts Daubert Standard for Expert Testimony

    October 07, 2019 —
    Seven months ago, the Florida Supreme Court declined to adopt Daubert as the standard for admitting expert testimony in Florida state courts. In DeLisle v. Crane Co., 258 So. 3d 1219 (2018), the court reaffirmed that “Frye, not Daubert, is the appropriate test in Florida.” On May 23, 2019, however, Florida’s high court did an about-face. In In Re: Amendment to the Florida Evidence Code, No. SC19-107, the Florida Supreme Court overruled its decision in DeLisle and declared that Florida will now apply the Daubert standard to determine whether scientific evidence is admissible. The Daubert standard comes from the case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), which held that the longstanding Frye test[1] for admitting expert testimony was superseded by Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Daubert instructed that federal judges should act as “gatekeepers” to ensure expert testimony is rooted in scientifically valid principles and that those principles are properly applied to the facts at issue. In determining whether scientific evidence should be admitted, Daubert sets forth several factors to consider: the testability of the theory or technique; the peer review and publication of the theory or technique; the error rate for the technique; the standards controlling the technique’s operation; and the general acceptance of the theory or technique.[2] The Daubert standard is generally considered a more onerous test than Frye, precluding expert testimony that might otherwise go to the jury under Frye.[3] Whereas Frye is a single factor test that applies only to new or novel science, Daubert is a multifactor test that applies to all expert testimony. Since Daubert, a growing number of states have moved away from the Frye test in favor of the Daubert standard; it is now followed by a majority of jurisdictions in the country. In 2013, the Florida State legislature attempted to move Florida in this direction by amending the Florida Evidence Code to codify the Daubert standard. But because the Florida Supreme Court is vested with the power to make procedural rules and it was unclear whether the Daubert standard was a procedural or substantive rule, it was uncertain whether the 2013 Daubert amendments were controlling law. Then in 2017, in In Re: Amendment to the Florida Evidence Code, No. SC16-181, the Florida Supreme Court expressly declined adopting the Daubert amendments to the extent they were procedural. This decision signaled that, if faced with the Daubert standard on appeal from a litigated case, the Florida Supreme Court would reaffirm that Frye – not Daubert – controlled the admissibility of expert testimony in Florida state courts. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Michael L. DeBona, White and Williams LLP
    Mr. DeBona may be contacted at debonam@whiteandwilliams.com

    California Supreme Court Finds that the Notice-Prejudice Rule Applicable to Insurance is a Fundamental Public Policy of the State

    October 14, 2019 —
    In Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co. (No. S239510, filed 8/29/19), the California Supreme Court held that California’s notice-prejudice rule is a fundamental public policy in the insurance context, supporting the application of California law under a choice of laws analysis. In addition, the Court held that the rule generally applies to consent (aka “no voluntary payments”) provisions in first party insurance policies but not to consent provisions in third party liability policies. Pitzer College discovered soils contamination while building a new dormitory. Under pressure to complete construction before the start of the school year, Pitzer proceeded to remediate the soils, incurring $2 million in expense. Pitzer submitted a claim to Indian Harbor, which provided Pitzer insurance covering legal and remediation expenses resulting from pollution conditions discovered during the policy period. The policy contained a notice provision requiring Pitzer to provide oral or written notice of any pollution condition to Indian Harbor and, in the event of oral notice, to “furnish … a written report as soon as practicable.” In addition, a consent provision required Pitzer to obtain Indian Harbor’s written consent before incurring expenses, making payments, assuming obligations, and/or commencing remediation due to a pollution condition. The consent provision had an emergency exception for costs incurred “on an emergency basis where any delay … would cause injury to persons or damage to property or increase significantly the cost of responding to any [pollution condition],” in which case Pitzer was required to notify Indian Harbor “immediately thereafter.” Lastly, a choice of law provision stated that New York law governed all matters arising under the policy. Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Kendrick, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Valerie A. Moore, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP Mr. Kendrick may be contacted at ckendrick@hbblaw.com Ms. Moore may be contacted at vmoore@hbblaw.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    General Contractor Supporting a Subcontractor’s Change Order Only for Owner to Reject the Change

    December 09, 2019 —
    The opinion in Westchester Fire Ins. Co, LLC v. Kesoki Painting, LLC, 260 So.3d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) leads to a worthy discussion because it involves a common scope of work occurrence on construction projects involving a general contractor and subcontractor. The contractor submits a subcontractor’s change order request to the owner and the owner rejects the change order. What happens next is a scope of work payment dispute between the general contractor and subcontractor. Yep, a common occurrence. In this case, a general contractor hired a subcontractor to perform waterproofing and painting. A scope of work issue arose because the specifications did not address how the window gaskets should be cut and then sealed. The owner wanted the window gaskets cut at a 45-degree angle and the subcontractor claimed this resulted in increased extra work. The general contractor agreed and submitted a change order to the owner to cover these costs. The owner rejected the change order claiming it was part of the general contractor’s scope of work even though the cutting of window gaskets at a 45-degree angle was not detailed in the specifications. After the subcontractor filed a suit against the general contractor’s payment bond surety, the project architect further rejected the change order because gasket cutting was part of the specification requirements. (Duh! What else was the architect going to say? It was not going to concede there was an omission that resulted in a change order to the owner, right?) Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com