Fifth District Issues Critical Ruling on Statute of Repose
Becker, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists, and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast, announced that it defeated a summary judgment ruling on a construction defects lawsuit on appeal before the Florida District Court of Appeal’s Fifth District on behalf of their client, Spring Isle Community Association (“SICA”), against Pulte Home Corporation (“Pulte”).
On March 2, 2017, SICA sued Pulte which developed the 71 building, 390 townhome unit project in Spring Isle, for defects related to the buildings’ exteriors and roofs. Thereafter, Pulte filed a third-party complaint against several subcontractors, including Herme Enterprises, Inc. (“Herme”) and its successor, Semocor Enterprises, Inc. (“Semocor”).
The trial court found that the statute of repose barred claims on 324 townhome units completed before March 10, 2017, as the ten-year repose period began when the certificate of occupancy was issued for each unit. Pulte appealed the trial court’s decision and SICA was substituted as the appellant.
On appeal, SICA argued that the repose period began when the master contract between Pulte and Herme/Semocor was completed, as well as when all other townhome construction contracts were completed, which occurred less than ten years prior to the filing of Pulte’s third-party complaint.
The Fifth District ruled in favor of SICA, finding that the opposing parties could not obtain summary judgment with a dispute over contract termination dates, and reversed and remanded the matter. The Fifth District noted without the work orders in the record, it cannot be determined whether each work order constituted a separate contract or whether the work orders were issued as part of a larger contract as argued by SICA.
This ruling is vitally important for all Florida homeowners in that there may now be revitalized construction defect claims on original construction for millions of homes under Florida’s Statute of Repose.
Becker’s Construction Law Practice Group
With one of the largest, dedicated teams of Board Certified Construction attorneys, Becker’s Construction Law Practice Group is well-known nationally for its knowledge of the construction industry and experience effectively protecting the interests of its clients. The firm has handled numerous and varied construction-related cases, many of which have involved complex delay issues with a multitude of defendants, and scores of construction defects.
Becker, with headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists, and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast. More information is available at beckerlawyers.com.