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”

Improving Waterfront Property: Challenges to the Fifty Percent Rule are Strictly Construed

Anyone working in waterfront construction long enough has a story (or knows someone who does) about pulled permits or burdensome local rules and regulations which may turn a waterfront dream renovation into a nightmare. Recently, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal confirmed that some waterfront construction is just not meant to be. But, the Court’s ruling as to waterfront construction, which seems patently unfair from a practical standpoint, is not the only takeaway from Bair v. City of Clearwater, Case No. 2d15-1210 (Fla. 2d DCA, August 5, 2016). On its surface, Bair is cautionary tale for waterfront property owners regarding the strict statutory interpretation of the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act[1] (the “Bert Harris Act”); however, it also contains a postscript for legal practitioners concerning equitable estoppel as a standalone claim.[2] Continue reading “Improving Waterfront Property: Challenges to the Fifty Percent Rule are Strictly Construed”

DOJ Hikes Fines for Immigration Related Violations

Maria del Carmen Ramos

Despite the numerous Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headlines, the last two years have brought a significant decrease in workplace audits: 3.127 audits in 2013 to 435 audits in 2015. Similarly, the fines during this time have dropped from $9.5 million in 2013 to $4.62 million in 2015. To put this in perspective, ICE assessed about $31.2 million in fines as a result of over 9000 worksite inspections between 2009 thru 2012. But it seems that this lull is about to come to an end.

On June 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published a rule that will result in an increase of anywhere from 35% to 96% in possible penalties for immigration related violations. For example, the minimum penalty for employing individuals not authorized to work in the U.S. will increase from $375 to $539, while the maximum penalty will go up from $3200 to $4313. Employers with multiple violations, which originally resulted in a penalty from $4300 to $16,000, will now be faced with a penalty of $6469 to $21,563. Similarly, the possible fines for Form I-9 paperwork violations nearly doubled. Fines now will be in the range of $216-$2156 per violation rather than $110-$1100 per instance. Continue reading “DOJ Hikes Fines for Immigration Related Violations”

Vesting and Priorities of Competing Construction Liens

Anthony Abate


It goes without saying that a construction project involves a plethora of competing interests. There is a lender, a main contractor, subdivision improvers, architects, and many different subcontractors, all of which are competing for limited funds meant to be exchanged for labor, services, and materials. In an ideal world, there are enough funds to pay the full value of all claims for work, services, and materials furnished.  However, this is not always the case and is a main reason why Florida has such an in-depth statutory scheme governing construction liens and other claims to funds.  As such, this article intends to address the basic vesting and priorities among competing liens.

A.     Relation Back Doctrine

The most basic rule for maximizing your chances of getting compensated for work, services, or material furnished is: first in time, first in right. Simply put, the first to record their lien will take priority over subsequently recorded liens. Continue reading “Vesting and Priorities of Competing Construction Liens”

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”