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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

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    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

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    Home Builders Association of West Florida
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    Pensacola, FL 32503

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    PO Box 1259
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    A Survey of New Texas Environmental Laws

    December 30, 2019 —
    This is a brief survey of many of the environmental and regulatory laws passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the Governor in the 86th Regular Session of the Legislature, which ended in May 2019. Altogether, more than 1,300 laws were enacted in this session, including a surprising number of environmentally related bills. Most of these new laws take effect on September 1, 2019. This survey places them in the following broad categories: Air, Water; Waste; Disaster (principally because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey); and Miscellaneous. (Special thanks to Jay Bowlby, a summer intern in our Houston office, who made a significant contribution to this survey.) 1. Air HB 1627—amends Section 386.001(2) of the Health and Safety Code to remove several counties from the list of counties with deteriorating air quality subject to the Texas Emissions Reductions Plan. HB 1346—relates to the diesel emissions reductions incentives and gives the TCEQ flexibility in administering this program. HB 2726—concerns amended air quality permit applications. The law provides that construction of a project may proceed, at the applicant’s own risk, after the TCEQ Executive Director has issued a draft permit including the permit amendment. However, this provision does not apply to a permit amendment affecting a concrete batch plant located within 888 yards of a residence. HB 3725—creates the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan Trust Fund, which will be held by the Comptroller and administered by the TCEQ, which also administers the TERP program. SB 698—authorizes the TCEQ to provide expedited processing of certain Texas Clean Air Act permit applications by increasing the agency’s permitting staff. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at anthony.cavender@pillsburylaw.com

    Form Contracts are Great, but. . .

    November 12, 2019 —
    Recently I was discussing the ConsensusDOCs with a colleague and friend and had a revelation. These forms are used often (though somewhat less than their AIA counterparts and less than they should be used). Quick disclaimer: I have been a part of a couple of drafting committees for ConsensusDOCs and am friends with Brian Perlberg, general counsel to the drafting effort. Some of the reason that these forms are so widely used is that they can be applied in a general way to almost any situation. Both sets of forms have documents for small and large jobs. Both have forms for Contractor/Owner and Contractor/Subcontractor. In short, a form document exists for about any scenario. I am writing now to let you know that while forms are great, they are just that. . . forms. Like with any set of forms, they need to be “tweaked” for your particular project. In my opinion they both have great clauses in them, and both have some flexibility built in (ConsensusDOCS more at the moment than the AIA forms). At the very least, construction professionals need to use this flexibility to conform the documents to their particular situation and do so within the documents themselves and not with addenda that “strike” or “modify” particular clauses. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

    Jury Awards Aluminum Company 35 Million in Time Element Losses

    September 23, 2019 —
    On July 3, 2019, a Delaware jury determined that fourteen property insurers for Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp., an aluminum producer that filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations three years ago, owe Noranda over $35 million in time element losses that Noranda sustained as a result of two separate catastrophic incidents that occurred at its aluminum facility in 2015 and 2016. In August 2015, an aluminum explosion occurred at Noranda’s facility, resulting in substantial property damage and bodily injuries. Though the insurers paid for Noranda’s property damage claim, the insurers only covered $5.64 million of Noranda’s $22 million time element claim. In January 2016, the same facility sustained significant damage as a result of equipment failure. The insurers again paid for Noranda’s property damage claim arising from the equipment failure but declined to pay any of its $22.8 million time element claim. Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews & Kurth and Daniel Hentschel, Hunton Andrews & Kurth Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com Mr. Hentschel may be contacted at dhentschel@HuntonAK.com Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of

    Appellate Court reverses district court’s finding of alter ego in Sedgwick Properties Development Corporation v. Christopher Hinds (2019WL2865935)

    August 13, 2019 —
    Division V of the Colorado Court of Appeals addressed, for the first time, corporate veil-piercing in the context of a single-member, single-purpose LLC that is managed under a contract by another company. On July 3, 2019, the Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Honorable Ross B. Buchannan, Denver District Court Judge (17CA2102), who held that Plaintiff/Appellee Christopher Hinds satisfied the elements required to pierce the corporate veil of Sedgwick Properties Development Corporation (“Sedgwick”). Background Defendant 1950 Logan, LLC (“1950 Logan”) was the developer of a building located at 1950 Logan Street, in Denver, called The Tower on the Park (“Project”), which contained 141 individually owned condominium units. The Project was completed in 2006. 1950 Logan was a single-purpose entity created for the construction of the Project, which is a common practice in the construction industry. After the units were sold in 2006, the LLC wrapped up operations. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Frank Ingham, Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell, LLC
    Mr. Ingham may be contacted at ingham@hhmrlaw.com

    Taking Service Network Planning to the Next Level

    July 22, 2019 —
    Cities and municipalities are basically systems for delivering services for the benefit of their citizens. An experimental project demonstrated how improving the flow of data between these services could save a lot of time and taxpayer money. Emilia Rönkkö is an architect who worked for the Finnish city of Kuopio. Besides that, she is a Docent of Urban Planning at the University of Oulu. “In Kuopio, my job included doing architectural programming for public investments and service network reviews. More specifically, surveys about Growth and Learning Services that were focused on daycares and schools,” Rönkkö explains. “Typically, a service network review with manual data collection procedures takes place every three to five years. I and other functionaries involved in the process wondered if there might be a better, more efficient way to do the reviews.” Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen, AEC Business
    Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi

    Challenging and Defending a California Public Works Stop Payment Notice: Affidavit vs. Counter-Affidavit Process

    October 21, 2019 —
    One of the most effective collection procedures available to subcontractors and suppliers to California Construction projects is the “stop payment notice” procedure found under California Civil Code sections 9350 – 9364. Under this procedure, the unpaid subcontractor or supplier may serve the stop payment notice on the public entity and the direct or “prime” contractor and cause the public entity to withhold from the direct contractor 125% of the funds identified in the stop payment notice. Thereafter, funds will not generally be released unless the parties reach a settlement agreement or the issue is decided through litigation, arbitration or mediation. There is however an alternative procedure available to direct contractors to expedite the determination of whether a stop payment notice is valid and to possibly obtain an early release of the funds withheld by the public entity. This “summary proceeding” process could result in release of funds to the direct contractor in less than 30 days. The summary proceeding can also be challenged by the unpaid subcontractor or supplier. All public works contractors, subcontractors and suppliers should be aware of the process. The process for direct contractors to release a stop payment notice and for subcontractors and suppliers to challenge the process works as follows: After a California stop payment notice has been served and the public entity has withheld funds accordingly, the direct contractor may challenge the stop payment notice by serving an “affidavit” (basically a sworn statement showing why the stop notice is not valid) on the public entity, demanding that the public entity release all funds withheld. Upon receipt of such an affidavit, the public entity will serve the subcontractor or supplier who served the stop payment notice with a copy of the affidavit, along with a “demand for release of funds”. If the stop payment notice claimant does not respond with a “counter-affidavit” by the date stated on the notice sent by the public entity (“not less than 10 days nor more than 20 days after service on the claimant of a copy of the affidavit”), then the public entity will be within its rights to release the withheld funds to the direct contractor, and the stop payment notice claimant will relinquish its stop payment notice rights. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of William L. Porter, Porter Law Group
    Mr. Porter may be contacted at bporter@porterlaw.com

    General Indemnity Agreement Can Come Back to Bite You

    October 21, 2019 —
    I talk about payment bonds often here at Construction Law Musings. I talk a bit less about performance bonds and even less about the General Indemnity Agreements (GIA) that are signed by companies and their principals as part of the agreement between a construction company and its bonding company for the provision of these bonds. However, this does not mean that these GIA’s are not important. In fact, these are the agreements that allow a bonding provider to recoup any money paid out pursuant to either a payment or performance bond. A 2018 case illustrates their importance. In Allegheny Cas. Co. v. River City Roofing, LLC, the Court considered a claim by Allegheny seeking both specific performance of the collateral agreement and reimbursement of certain expenses and investigative costs expended by Allegheny pursuant to its performance bond. Allegheny sought to be reimbursed for certain payments for siding work, investigative costs, and costs spent enforcing the GIA. Allegheny further sought to force the defendants to post sufficient collateral. To do so, Allegheny sued in the Eastern District of Virginia and then moved for summary judgment stating that the GAI uneuivocally required such a result due to the good faith payment for the siding work and the plain language of the GIA. In response, the Defendants, River City Roofing and its principals that had personally guaranteed the indemnity, argued that the GIA did not apply to the siding work because only the roofing contract was subject to the performance bond and that any bond claims for which collateral was demanded were inchoate and therefore not proper for specific performance. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

    English v. RKK. . . The Saga Continues

    December 16, 2019 —
    Remember back in 2018 when I thought I’d told you the end of the English Construction story regarding its various consultants, etc.? I was wrong. The matter went up on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals where the Appeals Court considered the summary judgment granted to the defendant Rummel, Klepper & Kahl (“RKK”) based upon what came down to a contributory negligence reading of the indemnity clause that was allowed to survive in the first district court opinion relating to these ambiguous contracts finding that English was negligent so couldn’t recover. The 4th Circuit also considered the finding that defendant CDM Smith did not breach its contract as a matter of law and that English’s negligence was the cause of the damages. The Court of Appeals reversed both of the holdings by the Western District of Virginia court, essentially stating that there was enough of a factual dispute to render any summary judgment to be premature. As to English’s arguments regarding the indemnity scheme in the contracts, the court found that the interpretation was at least ambiguous enough that summary judgment was inappropriate, stating:
    While we are not prepared to settle conclusively these interpretation disputes at the summary judgment stage, English’s proffered interpretation is, at the very least. reasonable. Indeed, of the two interpretations, English’s seems to be more closely aligned with the actual language in the contract. The district court thus erred in rejecting English’s interpretation and adopting RK&K’s interpretation as a matter of law.
    [A]t bottom, while the district court was authorized to construe unambiguous language as a matter of law, it could not resolve genuine disputes regarding the meaning of ambiguous contractual language against the nonmoving party on summary judgment. We therefore vacate the court’s grant of summary judgment to RK&K and remand for further proceedings.
    Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com