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An ambiguity in an insurance policy–after reading and interpreting the policy as a whole–will be construed against an insurer. This means an ambiguity will be construed in favor of insurance coverage (for the benefit of the insured) as opposed to against insurance coverage. This does not mean that every insurance policy contains an ambiguity.
In prior articles, I reinforced the importance of general contractors including “primary and noncontributory” language in subcontracts and requiring the subcontractor to provide an analogous “primary and noncontributory” endorsement. As a general contractor this is important, particularly since you are going to require the subcontractor to (i) indemnify you for claims relatin ...
A performance bond is a valuable tool designed to guarantee the performance of the principal of the contract made part of the bond. But, it is only a valuable tool if the obligee (entity the bond is designed to benefit) understands that it needs to properly trigger the performance bond if it is looking to the bond (surety) to remedy and pay for a contractual default.
Destructive testing is a routine investigatory procedure in construction defect disputes. The destructive testing is necessary to determine liability (causation), the extent of damage, and the repair protocol. Destructive testing is designed to answer numerous questions: Why did the building component fail? Was the building component constructed incorrectly? What is the magni ...
When an owner receives a construction lien, an owner should serve the lienor with a Request for Sworn Statement of Account. The Request for Sworn Statement is authorized by Florida Statute s. 713.16(2) and should be in the following form: REQUEST FOR SWORN STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT WARNING: YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH THE REQUESTED STATEMENT, SIGNED UNDER OATH, WITHIN 30 DAYS OR TH ...
The good ole duty to defend. Certainly, a duty that should not be overlooked. A commercial general liability insurer has two duties to its insured when it comes to third-party claims: 1) the duty to defend its insured and 2) the duty to indemnify its insured. The insurer’s duty to defend its insured will always be broader than its duty to indemnify because this duty is tr ...
Construction contracts oftentimes and should contain conditions precedent to payment. Conditions precedent apply to both progress payments and final payment. The conditions precedent operate such that payment is NOT due until the conditions are satisfied. The satisfaction of the conditions precedent triggers the payor’s obligation to pay.
Many construction contracts contain arbitration provisions. Instead of litigating a dispute arising out of the contract, the parties will arbitrate the dispute per the arbitration provision. There are advantages to arbitration and certain disputes bode well for arbitration. The key is you want to make sure you select the RIGHT arbitrator or arbitrators.
The notice of commencement is important for purposes of construction lien priority. Stock Bldg. Supply of Florida, Inc. v. Soares Da Costa Const. Services, LLC, 76 So.3d 313, 317 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011) (“[A] notice of commencement serves to determine the priority of liens under the Construction Lien Law.”).
Recently, I wrote an article on the importance of cyber liability insurance for design professionals. The reality, however, is that this is important insurance for all professionals in today’s day and age. A modern, online insurance broker called Embroker was kind enough to submit a guest post on cyber liability insurance.
The significant issues test to determine the prevailing party in construction lien actions (which, by the way, also applies to breach of contract actions) applies to appellate attorney’s fees too! Under this test, the trial court has discretion to determine which party prevailed on the significant issues of the case for purposes of attorney’s fees.
I harp on notifying a liability insurer in writing once a claim is asserted against you. As soon as possible. I harp on this because as an insured you want to remove any doubt or argument that the insurer was prejudiced due to a lack of timely notice. In a recent opinion, Zurich American Insurance Co. v. European Tile and Floors, Inc., 2017 WL 2427172 (M.D.Fla.
Public payment bonds (excluding FDOT payment bonds) are governed under Florida statute s. 255.05. As it pertains to venue—the location to sue a public payment bond–the statute provides in relevant portion: (5) In addition to the provisions of chapter 47, any action authorized under this section may be brought in the county in which the public building or public work is bei ...
Buying a new home from a homebuilder is an exciting time. How could you not be excited about buying and moving into a new home? It is a big milestone. When buying a new home from a homebuilder, it is common that you are provided a limited warranty agreement to sign that outlines your rights if there is a “warranty” claim, the length of the warranty period, what constitutes a ...
If you are a contractor and entered into a contract with an owner, then you need to serve the owner with a Contractor’s Final Payment Affidavit at least 5 days before filing a lien foreclosure lawsuit. Fla. Stat. s. 713.06(3)(d). Many times, when I am preparing a lien for a contractor, I like to work with the contractor work on the Contractor’s Final Payment Affidavit at the ...
As an insured, it is important to understand the prior acts exclusion in your insurance policy. The prior act exclusion bars coverage for claims that arise out of an act prior to the policy period or specified date in the policy. Knowing this, an insured typically can get some prior acts coverage to cover claims that arise out of an act that precedes the policy period (e.g.
Contracts oftentimes contain conditions precedent to payment or another affirmative obligation. The condition precedent needs to occur to trigger a party’s obligation to perform. If the condition precedent does not occur, then the obligation to perform is never triggered. Contracting parties need to understand and appreciate conditions precedent to perform in their contract.
Are you a contractor and need continuing education credit? I recently got three one-house courses approved by Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board. These one-hour courses are designed for live breakfast-and-learn or lunch-and-learn sessions. They are designed for practical application on key issues facing all in construction.
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