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Widerman Malek Law Blog

Statute of Repose Clarification

Contractors and subcontractors should be excited, okay, happy at least, that Florida’s Statute of Repose has been recently amended. WHAT IS THE CHANGE? The major change to Section 95.11, Florida Statutes (2017), is the start of the ten-year statute of repose period. The statute of repose sets the last day by which a suit must […]

Proper Notice to the Surety is Important

Most contractors and subcontractors know there are notice provisions in their contracts, but they are not always followed to the letter. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just sent a clear message that if you do not follow the notice and termination provisions of a bond, the surety may be off the hook. What is […]

Paying the Debt of Another

Paying the Debt of Another

A question arose not too long ago about whether paying the debt of another would require continued payments. In other words if company A pays company B’s existing creditor for one month, or even several months, does company B now have an obligation to continue paying company A’s creditor? If company B does have an obligation, then the creditor can likely come after company B for company A’s debt should both companies fail to make a payment.

Filing and Terminating a Construction/Mechanic’s Lien

Filing and Avoiding a Construction/Mechanic’s Lien

Chapter 713, Florida Statutes addresses construction liens (otherwise known as mechanic’s liens) in Florida. The law in this area can be pretty straight forward so long as you know the statutes and can interpret some of the terminology, which can be a bit tricky and usually takes knowing the case law pretty well, i.e., it helps to have a lawyer’s help. In order to perfect a lien, the claim of lien must be recorded and state several items which are addressed in Section 713.08, Florida Statutes. Section 713.08(3) even provides an example form with the required warning.

Why is the Timing of Substantial Completion so Important?

Why is the Timing of Substantial Completion so Important?

The contract is the first place to look to determine the specifics of when a certificate of substantial completion should be issued. Assuming it is the point where a certificate of occupancy (CO) is also issued, this means that the governing authority has to approve the building to be occupied and used for its intended use. At this point, the contractor will often prepare a list of items to be completed for the architect and/or engineer to review and inspect. The architect and/or engineer will prepare the certificate of substantial completion and set a deadline to complete the final items. Depending on the contract, this is usually the point where the owner will have to pay the “final” payment minus costs to complete the final items. This is the number one reason issuance of the certificate of substantial completion is so important to a contractor (and/or subcontractor).

Keys to Mediation: What a party should focus on

Keys to Mediation: What a party should focus on

When you are participating in mediation, you are inevitably thinking about one of two things: What am I getting or What am I giving. Every once in a while, you might be thinking about both. As a mediator and as an attorney involved in tons of mediations, I have watched parties come into the mediation expecting the world, expecting to give up next to nothing, and occasionally expecting to meet somewhere in the middle. The latter expectation is the best, but I think it is rarer than the other two by far.

Florida’s Public Records Act Vol. 3 – Can an Agency say No?

Can an Agency say No to a Public Records Request?

The short answer is rarely, if ever, can an agency say “no” to a public records request. The only real constraints or limitations that a person should face when asking to inspect or copy public records are guided by Section 119.07(1)(a), Florida Statutes. This statute limits inspection or copying to “any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision.” Otherwise, there should be no denial of a public record to anyone with a few caveats. First and foremost, the request has to be for an actual public record, not just any document. Although there are several points that could be made here, just a few are discussed below.

Florida’s Public Records Act Vol. 2 – Who has to abide by the Public Records Act?

Who has to abide by the Public Records Act?

An “agency” is defined fairly clearly by Section 119.011(2), Florida Statutes. Essentially it is any unit of state or local government and any public or private entity, i.e., person, partnership, corporation, etc., acting on behalf of any public agency. Some of the entities included within this definition are pretty obvious, but whether an entity is acting on behalf of the a public agency can be a bit tricky at times.

Florida’s Public Records Act Vol. 1 – What are public records?

What are public records?

Florida prides itself in having an open government and many of Florida’s records are open to the public. Not everything falls under the category of a public record though, and likely for good reason. Public records are defined in Section 119.011(12), Florida Statutes and are essentially any document, recording, or material of any form made or received pursuant to law or ordinance connected with the official business of any agency.

Florida Sunshine Law Vol. 4 – Consequences of violating the Sunshine Law

What are the consequences of violating the Sunshine Law?

Violations of Florida’s Sunshine Law can bring stiff and far reaching consequences, some of which are not just against the board members, commissioners, etc. involved. For starters, there can be criminal penalties. If a board member, commissioner, etc. knowingly violates the Sunshine Law, the individual is likely guilty of a second degree misdemeanor, which can include 60 days of imprisonment and a fine of up to $500.

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