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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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    Polk County Builders Association
    Local # 1028
    2232 Heritage Dr
    Lakeland, FL 33801

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Tampa Bay Builders Association
    Local # 1036
    11242 Winthrop Main St
    Riverview, FL 33578

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Home Builders & CA of Brevard
    Local # 1012
    1500 W Eau Gallie Blvd Ste A
    Melbourne, FL 32935

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Highlands County Builders Association
    Local # 1022
    PO Box 7546
    Sebring, FL 33872
    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Manatee - Sarasota County
    Local # 1041
    8131 Lakewood Main St Ste 207
    Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Hernando Bldrs Assoc
    Local # 1010
    7391 Sunshine Grove Rd
    Brooksville, FL 34613

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10

    Treasure Coast Builders Association
    Local # 1030
    6560 South Federal Highway
    Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

    Tampa Florida Expert Witness Engineer 10/ 10


    Expert Witness Engineer News and Information
    For Tampa Florida


    Window Installer's Alleged Faulty Workmanship On Many Projects Constitutes Multiple Occurrences

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    Contractor to Repair Defective Stucco, Plans on Suing Subcontractor

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    "Damage to Your Product" Exclusion Bars Coverage

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    TAMPA FLORIDA EXPERT WITNESS ENGINEER
    DIRECTORY AND CAPABILITIES

    The Tampa, Florida Expert Witness Engineer 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.

    Expert Witness Engineer News & Info
    Tampa, Florida

    “Based On”… What Exactly? NJ Appellate Division Examines Phrase and Estops Insurer From Disclaiming Coverage for 20-Month Delay

    August 20, 2019 —
    On May 28, 2019, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division examined the phrase “based on” in an assault-and-battery exclusion, finding that the phrase means “to make, form, or serve as the foundation of any claim, demand or suit.” C.M.S. Investment Ventures, Inc. v. American European Insurance Company, No. A-2056-17T3, 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1215, at *8-9 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. May 28, 2019) (CMS). The CMS case is also notable because the Appellate Division held that a 20-month delay in disclaiming coverage was unreasonable and therefore warranted estoppel. In CMS, the insured was allegedly warned by its tenant about a faulty ground-floor window that failed to lock properly. Afterward, an intruder broke into the tenant’s apartment and sexually assaulted the tenant, who sued the insured on a premises liability claim. Before she filed suit, the tenant sought payment from the insured’s CGL insurer directly. The insurer denied coverage based on the assault-and-battery exclusion and closed the file, but never informed the insured. Later, the tenant sued the insured, which sought a defense and indemnity from its insurer, which again denied coverage based on the exclusion. The insured then sought a declaration of coverage on grounds that the exclusion was ambiguous, and the insurer “was estopped from denying coverage, because it waited [20] months to inform CMS of its coverage decision.” The trial court ruled in the insured’s favor which led to the appeal in CMS. Reprinted courtesy of Timothy Carroll, White and Williams LLP and Anthony Miscioscia, White and Williams LLP Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at misciosciaa@whiteandwilliams.com Mr. Carroll may be contacted at carrollt@whiteandwilliams.com Read the court decision
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    Ruling Closes the Loop on Restrictive Additional Insured Endorsement – Reasonable Expectations of Insured Builder Prevails Over Intent of Insurer

    July 31, 2019 —
    On June 5, 2019, the Court of Appeal in McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Company, 35 Cal. App. 5th 1042 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) issued an important opinion on the scope of additional insured insurance coverage for developers and general contractors in California. Specifically, the “care, custody and control” (“CCC”) exclusion will be read to only exclude coverage for additional insureds who exercised exclusive control over the damaged property. Thus, general contractors who share control of the property with their subcontractors, as is typical on most projects, will not be denied coverage under this exclusion. I. Facts & Procedural History McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. was a Southern California developer and general contractor. In 2014, homeowners sued McMillin for roofing defects in a case called Galvan v. McMillin Auburn Lane II, LLC. Pursuant to a subcontract, the roofer, Martin Roofing Company, Inc., provided McMillin with additional insured coverage under Martin’s general liability insurance policy. The insurer, National Fire and Marine Insurance Company, covered McMillin under an ISO Form CG 20 09 03 97 Additional Insured (“AI”) endorsement. After McMillin tendered its defense of the Galvan lawsuit under the AI endorsement, National Fire declined to provide McMillin with a defense to the homeowners’ lawsuit, relying on a CCC exclusion contained in the AI endorsement for property in the care, custody or control of the additional insured. McMillin then sued National Fire for breach of the policy, bad faith and declaratory relief in McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. In McMillin Homes, the trial court found the CCC exclusion in the AI endorsement applied and held in favor of the insurer, National Fire. The trial court found the exclusion for damage to property in McMillin’s “care, custody, or control” precluded coverage for the roofing defect claims, as well as any duty on the part of the insurer to defend the home builder, McMillin. McMillin filed an appeal from the trial court’s ruling. II. Case Holding The Court of Appeal reversed to hold in favor of McMillin, interpreting the CCC exclusion narrowly and finding a duty on the part of the insurer to defend the general contractor pursuant to the AI endorsement on the roofer’s insurance policy. It held that for the CCC exclusion to attach, it would require the general contractor’s exclusive control over the damaged property, but here, the general contractor shared control with the roofer. The Court of Appeal noted that where there is ambiguity as to whether a duty to defend exists, the court favors the reasonable belief of the insured over the intent of the insurer. Here, that reasonable belief was that the coverage applied and the exclusion was narrow. The Court of Appeal relied upon Home Indemnity Co. v. Leo L. Davis, Inc., 79 Cal. App. 3d 863 (Ct. App. 1978) (“Davis”), as a judicial interpretation of the CCC exclusion. That case synthesized a string of case law into a single conclusion: that courts may hold the exclusion inapplicable where the insured’s control is not exclusive. In the opinion in McMillin Homes, coverage turned upon whether control was exclusive: “[t]he exclusion is inapplicable where the facts at best suggest shared control.” The Court of Appeal stated the “need for painstaking evaluation of the specific facts of each case. Here, McMillin coordinated the project’s scheduling, but Martin furnished the materials and labor and oversaw the work; they therefore shared control. Even if the rule in Davis did not apply and the exclusion was found to be ambiguous, the court stated that “control” requires a higher threshold than merely acting as a general contractor. Liability policies are presumed to include defense duties and exclusions must be “conspicuous, plain, and clear.” Furthermore, because “construction defect litigation is typically complex and expensive, a key motivation [for the endorsement] is to offset the cost of defending lawsuits where the general contractor’s liability is claimed to be derivative.” This is especially true because the duty to defend is triggered by a mere potential of coverage. Under the insurer’s construction of the exclusion, coverage would be so restrictive under the AI endorsement that it was nearly worthless to the additional insured. III. Reasonable Expectation of the Insured Prevails over the Intent of the Insurer Like most commercial general liability policies, National Fire’s policy excluded coverage for property damage Martin was contractually obliged to pay, with an exception for “insured contracts.” Typically, “insured contracts” include prospective indemnification agreements for third party claims. The National Fire policy contained a form CG 21 39 Contractual Liability Limitation endorsement, which deleted indemnity agreements from the definition of “insured contracts” to effectively preclude coverage for the indemnity provision between McMillin and Martin. National Fire argued that this endorsement demonstrated its intent to exclude coverage to McMillin for the homeowners’ defect lawsuit. The Court of Appeal stated that the insurer’s intent is not controlling and that the insureds reasonable expectation under the AI endorsement would control. As a result of its ruling, the Court also dealt a significant blow to the argument that the CG 21 39 endorsement is effective as a total bar to additional insured coverage for all construction defect claims. IV. Conclusion The decision is good news for developers and general contractors who rely on subcontractors to provide additional insured coverage. Unless the general contractor exercises exclusive control over a given project, the CCC exclusion in the CG 20 09 03 97 additional insured endorsement may not preclude the duty to defend. Demonstrating that a general contractor exercised exclusive control over the project would be extremely difficult to show under normal project circumstances because the any subcontractor participation appears to eliminate the general contractor’s exclusive control. The case also highlights the need for construction professionals to regularly review their insurance programs with their risk management team (lawyers, brokers, and risk managers). As is often the case, a basic insurance policy review at the outset of the McMillin project could likely have avoided the entire dispute. For owners and general contractors, CG 20 10 (ongoing operations) and CG 20 37 (completed operations) additional insured forms are preferable to the CG 20 09 form at issue in the McMillin case because they do not contain the CCC exclusion. The CG 20 10 and 20 37 forms are readily available in the marketplace and are commonly added to most policies upon request. Had those forms been added, AI coverage likely would have been extended to McMillin without the need for litigation. Similarly, carriers will routinely delete the CG 21 39 Contractual Liability Limitation endorsement upon request. Deletion of the CG 21 39 would have circumvented National Fire’s second argument in its entirety. Additionally, insurance policies, endorsements, and exclusions are subject to revision and are not always issued on standard forms. As a result, it is incumbent upon developers, contractors, and subcontractors to specify the precise overage requirements for construction projects and to review all endorsements, certificates, and policies carefully. Due to the difficulty in monitoring compliance with insurance requirements, project owners and general contractors are finding that it is better to insure projects under project specific wrap-up insurance programs which eliminate many of the issues pertaining to additional insured coverage. Wrap-up programs vary greatly as to their terms and conditions, so however a project is insured, insurance requirements and evidence of coverage should be carefully reviewed by experienced and qualified risk managers, brokers, and legal counsel to assure that projects and parties are sufficiently covered. Gibbs Giden is nationally and locally recognized by U. S. News and Best Lawyers as among the “Best Law Firms” in both Construction Law and Construction Litigation. Chambers USA Directory of Leading Lawyers has consistently recognized Gibbs Giden as among California’s elite construction law firms. The authors can be reached at tsenet@gibbsgiden.com (Theodore Senet); jadams@gibbsgiden.com (Jason Adams) and ccalvin@gibbsgiden.com (Clayton Calvin). Read the court decision
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    Mind The Appeal Or: A Lesson From Auto-Owners Insurance Co. V. Bolt Factory Lofts Owners Association, Inc. On Timing Insurance Bad Faith And Declaratory Judgment Insurance Claims Following A Nunn-Agreement

    August 06, 2019 —
    On May 30, 2019, Judge Richard Brooke Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado offered an insightful lesson to the parties in Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Bolt Factory Lofts Owners Association, Inc.[1] on the importance of ripeness in declaratory judgment insurance actions and bad faith counterclaims. The case arrived in front of Judge Jackson based on the following fact pattern. A homeowner association (Bolt Factory Lofts Owners Association, Inc.) (“Association”) brought construction defect claims against a variety of prime contractors and those contractors subsequently brought third-party construction defect claims against subcontractors. One of the prime contractors assigned their claims against a subcontractor by the name Sierra Glass Co., Inc. (“Sierra”) to the Association and all the other claims between all the parties settled. On the eve of trial involving only the Association’s assigned claims against Sierra, the Association made a settlement demand on Sierra for $1.9 million. Sierra asked its insurance carrier, Auto-Owners Insurance, Co. (“AOIC”), which had been defending Sierra under a reservation of rights letter, to settle the case for that amount, but AOIC refused. This prompted Sierra to enter into a “Nunn-Agreement” with the Association whereby the case would proceed to trial, Sierra would refrain from offering a defense at trial, the Association would not pursue any recovery against Sierra for the judgment, and Sierra would assign any insurance bad faith claims it may have had against AOIC to the Association. (“Nunn-Agreement”) Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Jean Meyer, Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell, LLC
    Mr. Meyer may be contacted at meyer@hhmrlaw.com

    Congratulations to our 2019 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars

    July 30, 2019 —
    Congratulations to attorneys John Arbucci, Frances Brower, Lisa Hsiao, Kristian Moriarty and Michael Parme who were selected to the 2019 Southern California Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Reprinted courtesy of Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP attorneys T. Giovanni “John” Arbucci, Frances Brower, Lisa Hsiao, Kristian Moriarty and Michael Parme Mr. Arbucci may be contacted at jarbucci@hbblaw.com Ms. Brower may be contacted at fma@hbblaw.com Ms. Lisa may be contacted at lhsiao@hbblaw.com Mr. Kristian may be contacted at kmoriarty@hbblaw.com Mr. Parme may be contacted at mparme@hbblaw.com Read the court decision
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    Design-build Trends, Challenges and Risk Mitigation

    August 26, 2019 —
    As the commercial construction industry continues to evolve and grow, design-build methodologies are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to speed completion rates, control costs and produce an overall more efficient process under the guidance of the design-build contractor (DBC). The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) predicts that “over half of owners have already or will use design-build in the next five years” due to the opportunities it provides for innovation and fast-tracking projects. The organization also expects that design build methodologies will account for approximately 45% of all nonresidential construction spending over the 2018 – 2021 forecast period. Design-build provides many benefits to projects owners, however, holding contractual responsibility for both design and construction does accompany its fair share of challenges and risks for the DBC. Although basic risk management principles are inherent to design build through improved communication and collaboration, strong contractual language and proper insurance programs can greatly control risk exposures. Reprinted courtesy of Bill Webb, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Mr. Webb may be contacted at Bill.Webb@rtspecialty.com

    Foreclosure Deficiency: Construction Loan vs. Home Improvement Loan

    November 12, 2019 —
    In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, Helvetica Servicing, Inc., v. Pasquan, 2019 WL 3820015, (8/15/19), the Court of Appeals addressed the distinction between (1) a construction loan (or refinance of same) and (2) a home improvement loan (or refinance of same), as it relates to Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute, A.R.S. §33-729(A). In general, an anti-deficiency statute provides that although a purchase-money lender or a construction lender can – in appropriate circumstances – foreclose on their loan and cause a sale of the property to pay the loan, the lender cannot (if the statutory criteria are met) force the homeowner/borrower to pay the remaining balance still owed on the loan following the foreclosure (known as the deficiency). In other words, if the anti-deficiency rule applies, the lender’s sole remedy to collect on the loan is a foreclosure sale of the property; and the homeowner/borrower’s downside risk is loss of the property in foreclosure; the homeowner/borrower does not have any personal liability to pay the remaining unpaid balance of the loan post-foreclosure. In effect, the homeowner/borrower can simply walk away and not have to repay the loan. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Kevin J. Parker, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Parker may be contacted at kparker@swlaw.com

    Reporting Requirements for Architects under California Business and Professions Code Section 5588

    December 22, 2019 —
    Below is an overview of the changes to California Business and Professions Code Section 5588 and its effect on the reporting requirements, for architects, in the construction industry. Section 5588 Prior to 2005 Legislative Changes Section 5588 of the California Business and Professions Code sets forth the reporting requirements for many business professionals including architects. Since 1979, Section 5588 has required architects and their insurers to report to the California Architect Board (the Board) “any settlement or arbitration award in excess of five thousand dollars ($ 5,000) of a claim or action for damages caused by the license holder’s fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or recklessness in practice.”1 The language of the code section left open for interpretation the question of what types of settlement claims must be reported to the Board. Thus, in 2004, the Attorney General of the State of California published an opinion stating that a reportable settlement includes “any agreement resolving all or part of a demand for money which is based upon an insured architect’s alleged wrongful conduct.”2 He then went on to conclude that the only qualifications placed on the term “claim” for purposes of Section 5588 is that “(1) the demand be premised on the license holder’s alleged ‘fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or recklessness in practice,’ and (2) the value of the claim, as measured by the settlement amount or arbitration award, exceeds $5,000.”3 Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Jordan Golden, Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani

    DC Circuit Issues Two Important Clean Air Act and Administrative Law Decisions

    December 16, 2019 —
    The U.S. Court of Appeals or the District of Columbia has recently issued two important rulings on the Clean Air Act in particular and administrative law in general: California Communities Against Toxics, et al., v. EPA and Murray Energy Corporation v. EPA. The Battle of the Memos: Seitz Makes Way for Wehrum In the California Communities case, decided on August 20, 2019, the court held, in a 2 to 1 decision, that a petition to review a change in EPA policy announced in an agency memorandum which reversed an agency policy announced nearly 25 years ago in another agency memo must be rejected because the memo at issue was not a “final agency action” subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In 1995, the “Seitz Memo,” which interpreted Section 112 of the Clean Air Act and addresses the regulation and control of hazardous air pollutants from stationary sources, stated that once a source of toxic emissions is classified as “major,” the facility remains subject to regulation as a major source even if the facility makes changes to the facility to limit its potential to emit such toxics below the major source threshold. Then, in 2018 under a new administration, the “Wehrum Memorandum” was issued which reversed this policy and its interpretation of the law. (Both memos were issued without any kind of advance notice or opportunity to comment.) If a source takes steps to limit its potential to emit, then it may be regulated as an area source, and subject to less rigid regulation. The court majority held that the Wehrum Memo was not a final agency action and was not subject to judicial review when it was measured against both prongs of the “finality test” devised by the Supreme Court in the cases of Bennet v. Spear, 520 US 154 (1997) and US Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, 136 S. Ct. 1807 (2016). While the memo undoubtedly represented the consummation of the agency’s decision-making process, the memo had no direct and appreciable legal consequences, and not therefore being a final action, the case must be dismissed. Judge Rogers filed a strong dissenting opinion. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at anthony.cavender@pillsburylaw.com