Sunday, July 31, 2011

Construction Disputes and Settlement

Settlement agreements in construction disputes are "highly favored and will be enforced whenever possible."  Robbie v. City of Miami, 469 So.2d 1384 (Fla. 1985).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Construction Defects and Eviction

Section 83.60, Florida Statutes, requires a tenant to deliver notice of material non-compliance to the Landlord in writing no later than 7 days prior to the withholding of rent.  Therefore, if the withholding is based on a construction defect, the tenant must give written notice prior to nonpayment of rent.

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Friday, July 29, 2011

Question of Duty is Issue of Law

In negligence actions, the question of the duty of a contractor or owner is an issue of law to be decided by the judge and not the jury.  Strickland v. Timco Aviation Services, Inc., 2011 WL 2570775 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Florida Construction Lien Law Seminar Video Part II

Here is part II of the Florida Construction Lien Law Seminar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSNWurj99ck




Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

489.128 and Determining when Unlicensed Activity Occurs

Under Section 489.128, Florida Statutes, "the critical dates for determining when a contractor was unlicensed are 1) the effective date of the original contract, 2) the date the last party to the contract executed it, or 3) the first date upon which the contractor provided services, labor or materials under the contract."  Austin Building Company v. Rago, Ltd., 2011 WL 1563797 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Contractor's Acceptance of Subcontractor's Proposal

Even though a contractor failed to sign a subcontractor's proposal, the Court held that the contractor accepted the subcontractor's final proposal through its actions.  In particular, the contractor paid the initial deposit and two subsequent invoices.  L&H Construction Co., Inc. v. Circle Redmont, Inc., 55 So.3d 630 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011). 


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278


Monday, July 25, 2011

OSHA Inspection and Citation Seminar on August 4, 2011

I will be giving a seminar entitled "The OSHA Inspection and Citation Process."  CILB contractor attendees will receive one hour of continuing education credit, and all attendees will receive a certificate of completion.  The seminar will be held at 100 S Ashley Dr., Second Floor Conference Center, Tampa, FL 33602 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on August 4, 2011.  Lunch will be provided and the seminar is free.  RSVP at the number below (seating is limited).


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Liquidated Damages cannot be a Penalty

Liquidated damages cannot be designed as a penalty but are to be used when actual damages are difficult to ascertain.  Hillsborough County Aviation Authority v. Cone Bros. Contracting Co., 285 So.2d 619 (Fla. 2d DCA 1973).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Time is of Essence Provision can be Waived

When a contract says time is of the essence, that provision can be waived by the party seeking to enforce it by acting contrary to that provision.  Adrian Developers Corp. v. Fuente, 905 So.2d 155 (Fla. 3d DCA 2004). 

  
Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MBE Minority Business Enterprise as Conduit

A MBE must be a legitimate business that is performing construction on a project and not merely act as a pass through to a non-MBE contractor.  Section 287.0943, Florida Statutes.



Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278


Friday, July 22, 2011

Speaking in Jacksonville at NEFRSA Meeting


I will be speaking at the next Northeast Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Contractors Association (NEFRSA) meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Ramada in San Jose in Jacksonville.  I will be presenting a one-hour CEU course entitled "The OSHA Inspection and Citation Process."

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278



Prime Contractor Responsible for Subs' Davis-Bacon Wages

On a project governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, the prime contractor is responsible for payment to the subcontractor of the prevailing wage rate for each worker classification.  29 C.F.R. 5.5.

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Measure of Breach of Contract Damages

Breach of contract damages in the construction context should be calculated from the date of the breach.  Peach State Roofing, Inc. v. 2224 South Trail Corp., 2008 WL 2150947 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Notice to Owner Form

The Notice to Owner form is contained within Section 713.06, Florida Statutes.  The current form has a warning at the top for Notice to Owner recipients.


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Implied Warranty of Constructability

The implied warranty of constructability applies from an owner to a contractor but not from a contractor to a subcontractor.  Gillingham Const., Inc. v. Newby-Wiggins Const., Inc., 42 P.3d 680 (Idaho 2002).




Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Monday, July 18, 2011

CFRSA Seminar on Collecting Payments

I will be speaking at the Central Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Association (CFRSA) on July 19, 2011.  The topic will be "Collecting Payments on Construction Projects."  Attendees will receive one hour of CILB contractor continuing education credit.  The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. at Dubsdread, 549 W. Par Street, Orlando, FL  32804.

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Notice of Commencement Termination

If a Notice of Commencement expires, a contractor's claim of lien is still effective but does not relate back to the date the Notice of Commencement was recorded.  Southern Colonial Mortg. Co., Inc. v. Medeiros, 347 So.2d 736 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Agency and Express Authority

Anyone who has been given express authority to act on behalf of a contractor has the power to bind that contractor.  For example and generally speaking, if a project manager has been given the express authority to execute change orders, the project manager will be deemed an agent for the contractor and bind the contractor by executing those change orders.



Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rule of Reason and Contractor's Satsifaction

When a construction contract gives the contractor discretion over the subcontractor's work, the contractor must be reasonable in determining whether to accept or reject the subcontractor's work.  Haymore v. Levinson, 328 P.2d 307 (Utah 1958).


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Friday, July 15, 2011

Homeowners' Recovery Fund Shortfall

"Due to a shortfall in funding, there are not sufficient funds available to pay claims received by the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund at this time. The Department will monitor revenues for the Recovery Fund and make payments as funds become available." 



Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Failure to Serve Notice to Owner is Complete Defense

The failure to timely serve a Notice to Owner when required is a complete defense to a lien claim.  Gulfside Properties Corp. v. Chapman Corp., 737 So.2d 604 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999).





Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Construction Lien Law Video

This is the first video in a multi-part series of a seminar I did recently for contractors and subcontractors on Florida Construction Lien Law.


The direct link is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/FLConstructionLaw?feature=mhee


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prevailing Party Fees Provision and Indemnification

A prevailing party attorney's fees provision was interpreted as an indemnification agreement for the attorney's fees incurred by the prevailing party.  Dunn v. Sentry Ins., 462 So.2d 107 (Fla. 5th DCA 1985).



Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Incorporation by Reference and Arbitration Clauses

Denial of a motion to compel arbitration was upheld because seller failed to attach terms and conditions which contained arbitration provision.  Incorporated documents must be attached or specifically identified to form part of the contract terms.  BGT Group, Inc. v. Tradewinds Engine Services, LLC, 2011 WL 2200800 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conditions Precedent to Insurance Policy Payment

Homeowner’s claim for breach of contract was unsuccessful against an insurer because homeowner failed to meet certain conditions precedent to payment under the policy.  The homeowner failed to submit to an examination under oath and provide requested documents that reflect the amount of the claimed loss.  Edwards v. State Farm, 2011 WL 2496625 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vexatious Litigant

Section 68.093, Florida Statutes is the vexatious litigant statute to be used against suit-happy pro se Plaintiffs.






Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Attorney's Fees Must Be Plead

In order to obtain attorney's fees in a construction action, entitlement to attorney's fees must be plead.  Altamonte Hitch and Trailer Service, Inc. v. U-Haul Co. of Eastern Florida, 498 So.2d 1346 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Owner Liability for Negligence of Construction Site


Generally, an owner cannot be held liable for negligence on a construction site unless there was active participation by the owner.  Van Ness v. Independent Const. Co., 392 So.2d 1017 (Fla. 5th DCA 1981).


Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bid Protests and Arbitrary and Capricious

A public entity has the discretion to award contracts to contractors, but the award of a public works project must not be "arbitrary or capricious," and must be based on express criteria cited in the bid package.  City of Sweetwater v. Solo Const. Corp., 823 So.2d 798 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Extras and Differing Site Conditions

A contractor was denied extras for differences in soil composition because the construction contract provided that the contractor could test the soil.  The court held that the contractor had the opportunity to determine the soil conditions but failed to properly do so.  Bumby & Stimpson, Inc. v. Peninsula Utilities Corp., 169 So.2d 499 (Fla. 3d DCA 1964).

Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summary Judgment Easier after Answer is Filed

Getman v. Tracey Construction, Inc., 36 Fla.L.Weekly D1363a (Fla. 2d DCA 2011): prime contractor filed a three count complaint alleging breach, unjust enrichment and lien foreclosure.  Owner filed a motion to dismiss.  Before the Owner answered the Complaint, the prime filed a motion for summary judgment.  The Court held that the prime was unable to refute all of the potential defenses or issues of fact that could have been asserted in the answer if it had been filed. 


Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified in Construction Law
Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A.
100 S. Ashley Dr., Suite 1300
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 229-3333


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Construction of Contract is not Jury Issue

Construction contract interpretation is an issue for the courts to decide as a matter of law and is not an issue to be decided by a jury.  Peacock Const. Co., Inc. v. Modern Air Conditioning, Inc., 353 So.2d 840 (Fla. 1977).



Trenton H. Cotney
Board Certified in Construction Law
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1207 N Franklin St, Ste 222
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 579-3278

Monday, July 4, 2011

Overzealous Inspection and Extra Work

Amounts incurred for extra work due to overzealous inspection are recoverable provided that the contract does not provide otherwise.  See Neal & Co., Inc. v. U.S., 36 Fed. Cl. 600 (1996).

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified in Construction Law
Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A.
100 S. Ashley Dr., Suite 1300
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 229-3333

Sunday, July 3, 2011

OSHA Witness Sworn Statement

Is an employee required to sign a witness statement prepared by OSHA?  No, they are not.  However, OSHA can seek to take the employee's testimony through a deposition.

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified in Construction Law
Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A.
100 S. Ashley Dr., Suite 1300
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 229-3333