Monthly Archives: January 2015

Construction Industry Licensing Board Part III – Declaratory Statements

By Christopher M. Cobb, Esquire

Many Florida contractors and license holders have a general understanding of the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”), but like many quasi-judicial bodies, it can remain a mystery to those who practice and appear in front of the CILB. This post will cover some specific information regarding petitions for declaratory statements that license holders and his/her attorney should know before they appear in front of the CILB. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Open and Obvious Defense In Construction Projects: It’s Not Just for Contractors

By: James O. Birr, III, Esq.

Contractors, architects, engineers, and other design professionals must be aware of the “open and obvious” defense applicable to their work in connection with construction projects. This defense is sometimes referred to as the Slavin doctrine. The Slavin doctrine was created to limit a contractor’s liability to third persons. However, Florida courts also apply this defense to design professionals. Transportation Engineering, Inc. v. Cruz; see also Jesse McIntosh v. Progressive Design and Engineering, Inc., et al. (professional not liable for accident because defect was patent and owner accepted design). Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Construction Industry Law Blog Practice Areas:

Effect on Community Associations When Owners File Bankruptcy

By: Christopher M. Cobb Esq. and Brittany N. Snell, Esq.

Association assessment collection is every day business for Florida community associations. Often times, the unit owner will file bankruptcy to avoid this legal obligations. The law governing condominium and homeowners association assessments with regard to bankruptcy actions is found at 11 USC § 523 (a)(16). This law which generally states that assessments are not dischargeable. While this provision seems simple enough, there are exceptions and nuisances to collecting assessments when a homeowner files bankruptcy. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Condominium Law Blog Practice Areas: , , ,

Community Association Board Members are Protected by the Business Judgment Rule

By Hans C. Wahl, Esq.

Board members oftentimes hesitate in taking necessary actions as they become frozen by the fear that their decisions may lead to unintended consequences. This results in critical decisions being delayed—the proverbial kicking the can down the road. Yet, depending upon the situation, the failure to act could produce a worse outcome. Board members do have a fiduciary duty and responsibility to their associations, and the fear of breaching this duty is what leads to board members hesitating when it comes to making major and difficult decisions. However, the “business judgment rule” applies to association board members just as it applies to other corporate directors and officers. This Blog post will discuss how community association board members are protected by the business judgment rule. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Condominium Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Ten Things Every Newly Elected Board Member Should Know

By Hans C. Wahl, Esq.

This is the time of year when many community associations hold their annual meetings where elections are held and newly elected members assume their roles within the board of directors for the first time. Being a board member is a major commitment, both in terms of time and responsibility. Because most association bylaws state that board members shall serve without compensation, those who serve truly do so because they love their communities and desire to improve them. Despite those good intentions, many newly elected board members are not familiar enough with association governance to make an immediate and positive impact on their communities. This Blog post is for the newly elected director and lists the ten things every community association board member should know. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Condominium Law Blog Practice Areas: ,

Assistance Animals in Florida Condominiums

By: Christopher M. Cobb, Esq. and Brittany N. Snell, Esq.
Many Florida condominium associations have breed, weight, size, and other limitations on animals, but that does not mean those limitations are enforceable against every owner. Florida condominium associations are subject to compliance under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and are prohibited from engaging in discrimination based on a disability. The FHA prohibits discrimination grounded in the unit owner’s personal characteristics and also with regard to the unit owner’s assistance animal. The breed, weight, and size limitations are inapplicable to assistance animals. Thus, as an example, if the association bans Dobermans but a unit owner has a Doberman as an assistance animal, the association may be required to allow the unit owner to keep the Doberman as a reasonable accommodation. It is important to analyze the provisions in the FHA to determine the responsibility and duties of the association with regard to FHA compliance. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Condominium Law Blog Practice Areas: ,