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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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    Local # 1073
    PO Box 420
    Marianna, FL 32447

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    Local # 1064
    1835 Fiddler Court
    Tallahassee, FL 32308

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    Local # 1056
    1980 Lewis Turner Blvd
    Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

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    Local # 1048
    4400 Bayou Blvd Suite 45
    Pensacola, FL 32503

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    Local # 1000
    PO Box 1259
    Tallahassee, FL 32302

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    PO Box 7353
    Lake City, FL 32055

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    Jacksonville, FL 32216

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    Building Expert News and Information
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    The Sunrise, Florida Building Expert Group is comprised from a number of credentialed construction professionals possessing extensive trial support experience relevant to construction defect and claims matters. Leveraging from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to the nation's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, Fortune 500 builders, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, and a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Scope of Alaska’s Dump Lien Statute Substantially Reduced For Natural Gas Contractors

    March 16, 2020 —
    In All American Oilfield, LLC v. Cook Inlet Energy, LLC,[1] the Supreme Court of Alaska clarified and substantially reduced a natural gas contractor’s ability to secure a preferred lien for its contribution to a natural gas well. Alaska’s dump lien statute (AS § 34.35.140) authorizes a laborer to claim a lien for the amount owed for their labor in the production of a “dump or mass” of “extracted, hoisted and raised” matter from a mine. While Alaska’s dump lien statute is one of three Alaskan statutes allowing laborers to attach liens to mines, mining equipment or minerals,[2] the dump lien statute is unique because it is prior and preferred over other liens, increasing the laborer’s chance of being paid in a bankruptcy proceeding. Attaching a lien to a “dump or mass” of hard-rock minerals piled outside a mine or oil stored in a tank is relatively straightforward. However, natural gas is typically left in its natural reservoir until removed by a pipeline that carries the gas to a location far from the mine. Natural gas is not extracted and stored in a “dump or mass” like other minerals, and until August 2019, controversy existed over how—or if—the dump lien statute could be used by natural gas contractors. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Trevor Lane, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
    Mr. Lane may be contacted at trevor.lane@acslawyers.com

    Florida Property Bill Passes Economic Affairs Committee with Amendments

    April 14, 2011 —

    The Florida Property Bill (HBB 803) was passed by the Economic Affairs Committee by a vote of 11-7, according to Property Casualty 360, after adopting nine new amendments. The additions to the bill included limiting notice of claims to a set number of years, extending the statute of limitation on property claims from five years to six years, among others.

    HB 803 and SB 408, the Senate companion bill, focus primarily on residential property insurance. They make changes to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, while also promoting increased notification of policy changes to policyholders. Sections of the bills provide minor fixes such as renaming Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to Taxpayer-Funded Property Insurance Corporation. However, other sections of the bills contain more significant policy changes such as sinkhole coverage and hurricane claims.

    The bills’ intent, according to the SunSentinel.com, is to reduce fraudulent claims and to bring new insurers into the insurance market. However, SunSentinel.com also reports that the bills may drastically increase property insurance premiums.

    Read the full Property Casualty 360 article...

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    Decaying U.S. Roads Attract Funds From KKR to DoubleLine

    January 28, 2015 —
    (Bloomberg) -- Investors such as Jeffrey Gundlach’s DoubleLine Capital and KKR & Co. are looking at crumbling U.S. roads -- and like what they see. DoubleLine, which oversees $64 billion, plans to start its first fund to finance infrastructure, Gundlach said this month. KKR, the private-equity firm led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, signed a contract in December to manage the water system in Middletown, Pennsylvania, with Suez Environnement Co.’s United Water unit. Its debut infrastructure fund started buying assets in 2011, Bloomberg News reported in April. The companies are partnering with states and localities fed up with federal inaction to jump-start transit projects and revamp public works suffering from decades of neglect. Such an alliance in Pennsylvania, home to the nation’s highest number of deficient bridges, is letting the state replace 558 crossings more cheaply and more quickly. Reprinted courtesy of Romy Varghese, Bloomberg and Mark Niquette, Bloomberg Ms. Varghese may be contacted at rvarghese8@bloomberg.net; Mr. Niquette may be contacted at mniquette@bloomberg.net Read the court decision
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    Going Digital in 2019: The Latest Technology for a Bright Future in Construction

    February 18, 2019 —
    The spectrum of technology available to today’s contractors is wide and deep. This techno-ecosystem will change just about every operational tick and tock needed to build world-class projects—from where and how people work to what equipment they use and how they record payments. “Generally speaking, the use of technology in construction is surging, particularly in the past three to five years,” says Chris Amato, principal and national advisory leader for the Chicago-based management consultancy Grant Thornton. “It’s becoming the cost of doing business; every player, at some point or another, is going to need to embrace it to some degree. The key questions are where to start, where to invest and how to minimize risk.” Reprinted courtesy of Jim Romeo, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Attorneys' Fees Awarded "Because Of" Property Damage Are Covered by Policy

    August 29, 2018 —
    The Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's decision that the insured Association of Apartment Owners was entitled to coverage for the attorneys' fees incurred [prior post here].Assoc'n of Apartment Owners of the Moorings, Inc. v. Dongbu Ins. Co., Ltd., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20251 (9th Cir. July 20, 2018). The District Court for the District of Hawaii granted summary judgment to the AOAO, requiring Dongbu to indemnify the AOAO for an award of attorney's fees that an arbitrator ordered the AOAO to pay to the underlying claimants. The claimants prevailed on a claim that their condominium unit incurred water damage due to a common roof leak. Dongbu's policy required it to reimburse those sums that the AOAO was legally obligated to pay as damages because of property damage. The AOAO became legally obligated to pay the claimants' fees once the state court confirmed the arbitration award. Further, the water damage to the home constituted covered property damage under the policy. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Never, Ever, Ever Assume! (Or, How a Stuck Shoe is Like a Construction Project Assumption)

    October 21, 2019 —
    This summer, I had the fortune of taking a trip to Europe. The first place I visited was Amsterdam. A lovely town with a lot of culture and more canals than you can shake a stick at. I was meeting family there, but had hours to kill ahead of time. So, I decided to take the train from the airport into the City Centre, leave my bags at the train station luggage locker, and begin exploring. My plan took its first misstep when I attempted to board the train. Not being in a hurry, I let the other passengers get on first. Sure, I noticed the train conductor blowing his whistle while I stepped onto the train, but figured I was fine since I was already on the steps up. Until, that is, the door began to close, with me in the doorway, suitcase in the train, one foot inside, and one foot mid step up to the cabin. The door closed on my backpack (which was still on my back), but I managed to force it into the train compartment. My shoe, however, was not quite as lucky. Part of my shoe made it inside, and part was outside the door. No worry– just look for the door release mechanism, right? Wrong! There was none. The train started up, with my shoe still halfway in and halfway out of the train. (Luckily my foot itself made it inside all in one piece). The conductor came along to scold me, and told me that he could *probably* rescue my shoe once we got to Central Station. In the meantime, I sat on a nearby jump seat, keeping tabs on my shoe and fuming that this was *not* the way I planned to start my vacation. Long story short– the train conductor was able to salvage my shoe, but not without a lot of commentary on how I should never have boarded the train after the whistle blew. Lesson learned. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Melissa Dewey Brumback, Ragsdale Liggett PLLC
    Ms. Brumback may be contacted at mbrumback@rl-law.com

    Before Celebrating the Market Rebound, Builders Need to Read the Fine Print: New Changes in Construction Law Coming Out of the Recession

    November 26, 2014 —
    As the homebuilding market continues to improve, many builders find themselves maneuvering familiar roads. That said, important new realities have taken hold since the market collapse. Navigating these changes requires extra thought for practical and legal reasons. Using Old Designs “Off the Shelf”? The adoption of the California Building Standards Code in 2010, with an updated schedule to go into effect January 1, may complicate the use of older designs. In addition, some builders are contemplating building on pads constructed five or more years ago, temporarily shelved until market conditions improved. Because of changes in both the applicable Code and due to possible changes in the underlying soils and drainage, these projects require additional scrutiny before starting construction. Mechanic’s Lien Law Changes Not too long ago, the California Legislature recently overhauled the entire mechanic’s lien law system in California. New forms, new statutory references, new rules and deadlines are all applicable to projects under construction now. Make sure your documents are up to date, as the use of older forms (particularly for liens, progress payments, and final payments) could create legal problems in the future. Indemnity Law Changes Since 2006, California lawmakers have passed four rounds of legislation aimed at limiting indemnity provisions in construction contracts. The laws are aimed at two aspects of indemnity law: “Type 1” indemnity provisions, and liability for the costs of defending a claim. Type 1 Indemnity. California law previously permitted a builder to obtain “Type 1” indemnity from its subcontractors for all claims. Under a Type 1 provision, if a claim arose out of the trade’s work, the trade was fully responsible to defend and indemnify the builder – even if other trades or the Builder were partially at fault. Some cases even allowed, typically in a commercial context, the builder to obtain Type 1 indemnity even if the trade was not negligent, as long as the claim involved its work. Defense Obligation. In 2008, California’s highest court issued an opinion in Crawford v. Weather Shield, evaluating an indemnity provision requiring trade (a window supplier/manufacturer) to defend the builder in claims involving allegations of damages arising out of the trade’s work. Because the trade had contractually agreed to defend the builder, the Court held it responsible for the builder’s defense costs -- even though, ultimately, the trade was found not liable for the actual damages claimed. Recent legislation after Crawford has dramatically shifted how indemnity provisions will be enforced. Builders may no longer obtain Type 1 indemnity for residential construction defect claims covered by SB800; instead, indemnity is limited to the extent a claim arises out of the trade’s work. Even more recent legislation applied these changes to claims arising out of commercial construction projects. The recent legislation allows the trades “options” on how to defend the builder, with an eye toward requiring that they pay only a “reasonably allocated” portion for the builder’s defense costs. Smart builders are refining their contract documents to take into account these new limitations on indemnity provisions. Insurance Market Changes Due to uncertainties in subcontractor insurance and other factors, many builders have also converted their liability insurance from a “bring your own” model to “wrap-up” insurance, where the builder’s policy also covers their trades. Builders should carefully examine their subcontracts in light of this change as well. Trade Partner Changes On a practical level, many trade partners, particularly in the residential sector, have gone out of business or moved on to greener pastures. Builders need to find and negotiate contracts with new trade partners on the fly, and educate them on the builders’ procedures for payment and construction. SB800 documentation A decade ago, most builders updated their purchase documents and subcontracts for California’s “Right to Repair Law” (also known as SB800), which set forth functionality standards for construction defects in residential housing, and procedures for resolving claims prior to litigation. Builders ramping up to meet market demand should examine how they implemented SB800 changes in contract documents. Issues to consider:
    • Whether to opt out of -- or back into -- statutory procedures.
    • Whether to include arbitration or judicial reference provisions to control where claims are litigated after the SB800 process.
    • Re-training personnel to preserve SB800 rights, including sign-offs on purchase documentation and recordation of key documents.
    • Recent Court of Appeal decisions have complicated the SB800 landscape, potentially opening the door to “common law” tort claims in at least subrogation contexts. Strategic planning at the document stage may be a good way to mitigate this risk as the cases wind their way through the judicial process.
    The continuing surge in building activity is a welcome sign for builders who have weathered the storm. Before taking too many steps, builders should consult with counsel, their designers, and their insurance advisors to take into account the new realities of this recovering housing market. About the Author Alan H. Packer is a partner in the expanding Walnut Creek, CA, office of the law firm of Newmeyer & Dillion LLP whose specialties include real estate, insurance, and construction litigation. To reach Alan, call 925.988.3200 or email him at alan.packer@ndlf.com. Read the court decision
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    Liquidated Damages: A Dangerous Afterthought

    January 15, 2019 —
    Owners and contractors frequently treat liquidated damages provisions as an afterthought, but they deserve to be treated as a key deal term. If a contractor breaches a contract by failing to complete the work in a timely manner, the remedy is typically an agreed upon amount or rate of liquidated damages. Liquidated damages provisions seldom get more than a cursory, “back of the napkin” analysis, or worse, parties will simply plug in a number. This practice is dangerous because liquidated damages typically represent the owner’s sole remedy for delay and, more importantly, they are subject to attack and possible invalidation if certain legal standards are not met. The parties to a construction contract should never agree to an amount of liquidated damages without first attempting to forecast and calculate actual, potential damages. Reprinted courtesy of Trevor B. Potter, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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