What if you’re selected as a subcontractor on 2 different jobs with the same general contractor (GC) and the GC doesn’t pay you in full on your first job? You decide to delay starting the second job until the GC provides you some assurance that it can and will pay you on job 2. That would be a mistake because refusal to perform under these circumstances is a breach of contract.
The law allows contractors to place a lien on real property when they’re not paid for their work. So when a roofer, who had contracted with a condominium association to repair roofs on several common-managed buildings, wasn’t paid, he filed a lien against the association rather than the individual unit owners in each of the buildings.
The issue here was whether the “owner” for mechanic’s liens purposes was each and every unit within the various buildings or just the association. Florida statutes make clear that labor performed or materials furnished to the common elements of a building, if authorized by the association, are considered to be provided with the consent of each unit owner. This allows the filing of a lien against all condominium parcels in the same proportion for which the unit owners are liable for common expenses. There was no need to join the individual unit owners here to foreclose the roofer’s lien because the association executed the contract, but each unit owner was deemed to have given their consent.
Forget to obtain that license from the municipality or county where you are working, and be ready to face the music. It won’t be pleasant. Not only won’t your contract be enforceable but worse, you’ll be liable for 3 times actual damages for any injuries sustained as a result of your negligence or wrong doing.
We’ve all seen them – those clauses on proposals or work orders stating that a repairman won’t be responsible or liable for any damage caused by his repairs. The question is, are they enforceable? A recent case has determined they can be, if properly written.
When homeowners discovered a leak under the floor of their home, they contracted a company to find it and fix it. Before repairs could begin, the homeowners had to sign a work authorization which included the following in bold print:
Technicians shall not be responsible for any damage whatsoever which may result from any locating procedures. Property owner agrees to hold harmless repair company absolutely in this regard.
To find and repair the leak, the technician drilled a hole into a floor tile. He then located the problem and fixed it. But he left the homeowners with a broken floor tile. When the owners couldn’t locate a matching tile, they had to have all the tiles replaced in the area. They filed a claim with the insurance company which paid them in full and then sought to recover what it paid the homeowners from the repair company. The court, however, determined that the work order signed by the owners also applied to the insurance company and the provision within the work order showed clear intent by the contractor to be relieved from any damage it caused.
A sprinkler contractor submitted its final pay application through a sworn statement, noting that no additional work was required on the project and that one hundred percent of its work was completed. Ninety four days later when it wasn’t paid, it served its Notice of Non-Payment with the project surety. In the lawsuit that followed, the surety moved for summary judgment against the sprinkler company alleging late notice. The circuit court agreed, as did the District Court of Appeal.
The 90-day period in which a claimant must give notice to a payment bond surety on a statutory bond claim is strictly interpreted. The sprinkler company argued that its cut off date should be extended to account for the work done to attend the final inspection to actually activate the fire protection system, and to complete several punch list items. But Florida’s courts have made clear for some time that remedial or corrective work does not extend the time for filing a claim. Such work is merely incidental to a completed contract and is considered unsubstantial.
Not only did the sprinkler company wait four days too long, it also couldn’t overcome its own earlier affirmative statements that all its work was completed.
When an engineer agreed to help out a fellow professional whose license to practice had been revoked, he didn’t bargain on becoming the subject of disciplinary proceedings.
He had assumed the role of engineer of record on two ongoing projects, and reviewed the work performed to date by the now unlicensed engineer. He did so as a favor and without any compensation. He directed and oversaw the work, supervising the unlicensed engineer’s employees and completing the unfinished design work. He then affixed his signature and seal to the plans.
At the disciplinary hearing, the engineer testified before a hearing officer and was quickly found not guilty of any violations. The plans he had sealed were prepared under his supervision and he had not associated any unlicensed persons in the practice of engineering. However, the Florida Engineers Management Corporation, the agency charged with making determinations of this sort, rejected the judge’s recommendation and went ahead with the imposition of fines and penalties against the assisting engineer. The District Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that the hearing officer’s findings based on competent, substantial evidence may not be rejected by an administrative agency. Good news for the good deed engineer.