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Senate Bill No. 286 Protects Design Professionals from Personal Liability
IntroductionOn April 24, 2013, Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill No. 286 (the “Bill”) into law.The Bill protects design professionals employed by a business entity from personal liability in certain situations and supersedes existing common law on the issue.
Summary of the Changes Most importantly, the Bill created section 558.0035, Florida Statutes, which provides that a design professional employed by a business entity or an agent of the business entity is not individually liable for damages resulting from negligence occurring within the course and scope of a professional services contract if:
a)The contract is made between the business entity and a claimant or with another entity for the provision of professional services to the claimant;
b)The contract does not name as a party to the contract the individual employee or agent who will perform the professional services;
c)The contract includes a prominent st…

FLORIDA CONSTRUCTION LAW LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2012

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HB 0521 Regulation of Cranes
This issue has been before the legislature for several years and finally passed in this session. It amends Section 489.113 of the Florida Statutes to preempt any regulation of hoisting equipment, mobile cranes, conveyors, and tower cranes used in construction. This prevents a patchwork of different regulations by cities and counties. The effect is to make the recent OSHA changes to the rules regulating crane operations as the single standard to be followed. In addition, the prohibitions and preemptions include work site regulations regarding hurricane preparedness or public safety.
Effective Date: April 2012 SB 1202 Construction Liens and Bonds
Section 95.11 was amended to make it clear that payment bonds under Section 255.05 and Chapter 713 as well as payment bonds under Section 337.18 are subject to the one year statute of limitation established in those sections. Payment bonds which are not subject to those sections also have a one year statute of limitat…

EEOC Provides New Guidance on Criminal Background Checks

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued new Enforcement Guidance regarding employers’ criminal background policies, taking a tougher stance against blanket employment policies that automatically reject job candidates with criminal records. The new Enforcement Guidance is rooted in the EEOC’s long-held view that an employer’s use of criminal history information has a tendency to disproportionately and adversely affect minority groups and, thus, violate Title VII.
Previously, employers had to consider three criteria when making the decision to hire an applicant with a criminal background: 1) the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; 2) the time that has passed since the offense or conduct and/or completion of the sentence; and 3) the nature of the specific position the applicant has applied for. Now the EEOC recommends that employers go through an extensive “individual assessment” on each candidate, including but not limited to, the following criteria: th…
CONSTRUCTION LAW UPDATES

GMPF Framing, LLC., v Villages at Lake Lily Associates, LLC., 2012 WL 5364649 ( Fla. 5th DCA 2012)
In a nutshell: Prevailing on a lien claim does not automatically entitle you to an award of attorney’s fees.
GMPF filed a lien foreclosure action against the owner of Villages at LakeLily for certain unpaid work. As part of its foreclosure suit, GMPF asserted claims for unjust enrichment and for an equitable lien. The owner prevailed on the lien claim and was awarded attorney’s fees under Florida Statute 713.29 as the “prevailing party” by the Trial Court. GMPF appealed the Trial Court’s award of fees arguing that it was improper to award the Owner fees before the claims for unjust enrichment and equitable lien had been decided. The 5th District agreed with GMPF and reversed the award of fees until the other claims raised by GMPF were considered. The 5th District reasoned that GMPF may yet be the “prevailing party” under 713.29 if it carried the day on its other t…