Resolving Disputes by Expert Determination

Increasingly we are seeing insurance policies and construction agreements that call for disputes to be resolved by a technical expert – such as an architect or engineer.  This technical expert is charged with the responsibility to review project details and make decisions that will bind the parties.  Known as expert determination, the use of technical experts to decide disputes can help streamline the dispute resolution process.  But, what happens when one party refuses to follow the expert’s decision or the parties cannot agree on what facts and documents the expert should consider in making a decision? Florida law does not provide clear answers about how courts should treat the decisions of experts.  Shumaker attorney Brian Willis takes a detailed look at these issues and more in his article “Resolving Disputes by Expert Determination: What Happens When Parties Select Appraisers, Accountants, or Other Technical Experts to Decide Disputes,” The Florida Bar Journal (Vol. 91, No. 7).

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Favorable Ruling for Condo Associations in Second DCA

Recently, in Ventana Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. Chancey Design Partnership, Inc., et al., 2016 WL 4259999 (Fla. 2d DCA), the Second District Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff, Ventana Condominium Association, Inc. (the “Ass’n”), was not the successor in interest to the prior owner of Ventana Condos, Ventana Tampa, LLC (the “Developer”), and reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment that had been contingent upon such a relationship between the two.[1]

Sometime prior to July 2008, the Developer of the Ventana Condominiums (the “Condos”) contracted with Hardin Construction Company, LLC (“Hardin”) to build the Condos, and with Chancey Design Partnership, Inc. (“Chancey Design” or “Chancey”) to design them. Issues with delays and additional costs arose, and the Developer and Hardin entered into a Mediated Settlement Agreement (the “MSA”) which provided, among other things that: (i) Hardin was given authority to take action on behalf of the Developer against Chancey Design–although it made no mention of this being an assignment of the Developer’s interest in any such claims; and (ii) that the MSA was binding upon the parties’ successors, assigns, and all those holding title under them. Continue reading “Favorable Ruling for Condo Associations in Second DCA”

2016 Continuing Contractor Education Seminar

If you are in the Charlotte, North Carolina area and need to obtain Continuing Contractor Education Credit for Florida, join Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP on July 19, 2016. The program will provide 4.0 credit hours covering:

  • The ABC’s of Florida Construction Lien Laws
  • Contract Changes, Constructive Changes
  • Differing Site Conditions
  • Chapter 558 & Other Notable Dispute Resolution Provisions

To RSVP contact Elizabeth Barnett at ebarnett@slk-law.com or 704.945.2171.

CHA Construction Law Seminar

Reconstructing Havana

Kevin P. Braig
Kevin P. Braig

During the first week of April, I visited Havana, Cuba, on an educational exchange trip with the Ohio State Bar Association. As we made our way through the city, including restaurants that served first class cuisine, I could not shake the feeling that I was mingling with a sophisticated civilization that was living amongst the ruins left behind by a former civilization.

Havana is a city of proud and resourceful people who welcomed us warmly. There did not appear to be a bone of apathy in the entire city.  Yet, the state of erosion of the physical infrastructure cannot be understated.

In some places, we saw homes being restored to past glory using nothing more than wheelbarrows of cement and shovels and other hand tools. But it was far more common to see blocks of the city where paint is peeling, sections of marble and railing have gone missing, and concrete has eroded to such an extent that one can see the aggregate in the walls of buildings. Continue reading “Reconstructing Havana”

Suppliers Beware: The Florida Construction Lien Law Will Be Strictly Construed

Brian R. Lambert
Brian R. Lambert

As construction lawyers asserting lien claims, we commonly have our opponents recite the maxim “construction lien statutes must be given a strict reading,” leading to an argument that a failure to follow the lien law’s very technical requirements leads to a windfall victory for the other party.  While leading to unmercifully unfair results in many instances, courts give little deference to claimants who have failed to jump through the statutory hoops necessary to perfect their lien claims.

Suppose for a moment that you’re a supplier on a large commercial construction project, supplying drywall materials to the drywall subcontractor. At some point during the project, the drywall subcontractor defaults and the general contractor begins purchasing drywall materials directly from you. Continue reading “Suppliers Beware: The Florida Construction Lien Law Will Be Strictly Construed”

The Latest Installment of Chapter 558 – A Step in the Right Direction?

Staine_Christopher_LI
Christopher A. Staine

In 2004, then Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed into law what is commonly referred to as Florida’s “opportunity-to-cure” statutes, more formally referenced as Chapter 558. In short, Chapter 558 was enacted to require aggrieved owners to place contractors and design professionals on notice of construction defects, with an opportunity to inspect and, if possible, resolve the alleged defects without resorting to potentially expensive and protracted litigation.  Given the many amendments to Chapter 558 since its inception, Chapter 558 has, if nothing else, proven to be a work in progress, a topic we’ve previously written on in the Sarasota Docket.  Continue reading “The Latest Installment of Chapter 558 – A Step in the Right Direction?”