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Florida Construction Law Update

Construction Law Success Story: Partial Summary Judgment on Duty to Defend Structural Engineer

Posted in Construction Contracts, Indemnification, Subcontractors

Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Florida Construction Law Attorneys, David Salazar and Dave Peterson, recently obtained partial summary judgment on the duty to defend a structural engineer in a construction delay claim. This case is a winning example that the duty to defend is broader than – as well as separate and apart from – the duty to indemnify, extending to all potential claims, whether ultimately covered or not, so long as the proper contractual language is met. Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Affirms No Coverage for Cost to Repair Damage Caused by Subcontractor’s Defective Work

Posted in Construction, Construction Contracts, Indemnification, Insurance

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals continues to find favorably for commercial general liability (CGL) carriers on coverage for damage to the completed project caused by the defective work of subcontractors. On July 11, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit decided J.D.B. Construction, Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Company, No. 13-10138 (11th Cir. Jul. 11, 2014) (view the JDB Construction opinion). The case involved the construction of a fitness center to be attached to an existing building in the Tampa area. Continue Reading

Construction Law Success Story: Summary Judgment for Civil Engineer in Professional Malpractice Case

Posted in Contractors, Design Professionals, Engineers, Professional Liability

Cole, Scott, & Kissane P.A.‘s Construction Practice Group is proud to announce a very significant result it recently obtained for a client. Specifically, the firm’s construction law attorneys recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a civil engineer in a professional malpractice claim. Continue Reading

Construction Law Success Story: No Liability Arbitration Award for Bridge Contractor in Negligence Case

Posted in Construction, Construction Contracts, Contractors, Negligence

Cole, Scott, & Kissane P.A.‘s Construction Practice Group is proud to announce a very significant result it recently obtained for a client. Specifically, the firm’s construction law attorneys recently obtained a no liability / zero liability finding in a multi-million dollar arbitration in Ft. Myers on behalf of a bridge contractor in a negligence case. Continue Reading

The Florida Supreme Court Limits the Statute of Limitations: Caduceus Properties v. William Graney

Posted in Statutes of Limitations

The Florida Supreme Court’s recent decision in Caduceus Properties v. William Graney, et al.[1] limits the applicability of the Statute of Limitations to a primary Plaintiff attempting to file a direct claim against a previously named Third-Party Defendant. The case addressed the timeliness of an Amended Complaint with a direct claim against a Third-Party Defendant that was filed after the Statute of Limitations had run. William Graney, principal of an engineering firm, was sued by the Plaintiff after the Third-Party Complaint against him and his firm was dismissed and the Statute of Limitations had run. Continue Reading

Self-Insured Retention Obligations, Third-Party Indemnification Payments, and the Made Whole Doctrine

Posted in Indemnification, Insurance, Subrogation

In Intervest Constr. of Jax, Inc. v. General Fid. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 463309 (Fla. 2014), the Florida Supreme Court decided a matter of first impression certified to it by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals holding that an insured was permitted to apply third-party indemnification payments towards its self-insured retention (“SIR”) obligation under a CGL policy. The Court further held that the subrogation “transfer of rights provision” within the CGL policy did not abrogate the common law “made whole doctrine.” While important decisions in their own right, the decisions are case and fact specific, requiring insurers and insureds to look to the terms of their own policies to determine their rights and obligations. Continue Reading

Construction Law Win: Motions to Dismiss Granted based on Lack of Standing due to Economic Loss Rule

Posted in Negligence

The Florida law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. is pleased to announce that one of its construction lawyers (Ried Arnold) had two motions to dismiss granted in a hotly-contested construction defect case regarding the Plaintiff’s negligence claim. The hearing took place on January 21, 2014 and the Orders Granting the Motions were entered January 28, 2014. Continue Reading

Construction Sites: Debris or Not Debris?

Posted in Construction Contracts

The recent decision in Skala v. Lyons Heritage Corp., et al., 38 Fla L. Weekly D2485b (Fla. 2d DCA Nov. 27, 2013), provides a cautionary tale to contractors regarding maintaining construction sites. Robert Skala, a tile setter, was asked by Lyons Heritage Corp., the general contractor, to provide an estimate to correct tile work in a partially constructed home. While entering the home through the garage, Skala tripped and fell on construction debris injuring both of his arms. Skala brought suit against the general contractor for negligence as a result of the incident.[1] The trial court granted the general contractor’s motion for summary judgment finding the construction debris was an open and obvious condition such that the general contractor could not be held liable for Skala’s injuries. Continue Reading

Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose in Florida Construction Law Matters

Posted in Statutes of Limitations

Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion changing the burden under Florida’s Statute of Repose for a party to demonstrate that a lawsuit based on the “design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property” was barred for not being filed within the allotted period of time. § 95.11(3)(c), Fla. Stat. This decision will likely be favored by plaintiffs rather than defendants as it will arguably allow plaintiffs to proceed with a construction defect lawsuit upon demonstrating there is “the slightest doubt that a genuine issue of material fact might exist” as to whether the action is barred by Florida’s Statute of Repose. Clearwater Hous. Auth. v. Future Capital Holding Corp., et al., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2323a (Fla. 2d DCA 2013). Continue Reading

Insurer’s Duty to Defend in Standard Form Commercial General Liability Policies

Posted in Insurance

The recent decision in Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Advanced Cooling and Heating, Inc., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2256a (Fla. 4th DCA 2013), gives us the opportunity to revisit a hotly contested issue in the construction industry: what triggers an insurer’s duty to defend under a post-1986 standard form commercial general liability insurance policy? The short answer is that an insurer’s duty to defend arises when the allegations in the complaint (and only the complaint) fairly and potentially raise a claim against an insured that is covered by the policy. Continue Reading