Nicholas D. Siegfried has played a leadership role in the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, which he chaired from 2016 – 2018. He has focused particularly on the group’s efforts behind the ACE Mentor Program, and on March 7th, 2018 he helped to lead students from various […]
Nicholas D. Siegfried has played a leadership role in the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, which he chaired from 2016 – 2018. He has focused particularly on the group’s efforts behind the ACE Mentor Program, and on March 7th, 2018 he helped to lead students from various high schools in Washington D.C. through the Construction Negotiation Module that he had previously developed for the program.
ACE, which stands for architecture, construction and engineering, annually engages more than 9,000 high school students in a free, 16-session after-school program for those who are interested in learning more about career options in the construction field (www.acementor.org). Practicing industry professionals mentor students during a 40-hour, hands-on curriculum that realistically simulates an actual design and construction project. ACE not only exposes students to real-world opportunities, it also financially supports their success through scholarships and grants totaling more than $15 million since the program began in 1994.
Nicholas had previously helped develop the program’s Construction Negotiation Module and Mentor Guide, which are now being used by ACE Mentors nationwide to provide students with an overview of construction law, contractual relationships, contract administration/interpretation, construction claims, dispute resolution, negotiation, and settlement. At the event, which was chronicled in a video for the organization in which Nicholas is featured (see below), he helped the team representing the property owner in the negotiation of a construction dispute. The students learned about contract law, dispute resolution and negotiation tactics.
Our firm salutes Nicholas for his ongoing efforts to lead the ABA Young Lawyers Division Forum on the Construction Industry’s involvement with the ACE Mentor Program.
One of the most significant changes in years to the Florida laws governing construction defect litigation will take effect on July 1, and for some of the state’s real estate developers and general contractors the changes are going to bring meaningful relief. The new law will provide one year for developers and contractors to file claims against design professionals, subcontractors and suppliers when they are hit with defect lawsuits just prior to the expiration of the 10-year deadline for latent defect litigation.
The new amendments to Section 95.11(3)(c) of the Florida Statutes are intended to correct what many believe to be an unfair byproduct of the state’s 10-year statute of repose, which functions as a final deadline for the filing of construction defect suits. It provides that actions for latent construction defects must commence within 10 years of the last of the following four events: the date of actual possession by the owner; the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy; the date of abandonment of construction if not completed; or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect or licensed contractor and their employer.
Firm partner B. Michael Clark Jr. authored an article that appeared as a “Board of Contributors” guest column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Statute of Limitation Begins to Run When Principal Under Surety Bond Abandons Construction Project,” focuses on a recent ruling by the Second District Court of Appeal finding that the limitations period for action on a surety bond began to run when the principal under the bond abandoned a construction project. Michael’s article reads:
The [Lexon Insurance v. City of Cape Coral and Coco of Cape Coral] case stems from an ordinance that was adopted by the city of Cape Coral in January 2005 to initiate the development of an approximately 450-acre parcel, which included a single-family subdivision to be built by Priority Developers. The city’s ordinance required the developer to provide a surety bond, and Lexon issued two subdivision bonds totaling $7.7 million. Disputes arose, and the contractor stopped work on the project in March 2007.
In March 2012, Coco of Cape Coral purchased the project for $6.2 million, and in July of the same year the city adopted a resolution demanding that Lexon fulfill its obligations under the bonds. When Lexon declined, the city filed suit against it for breach of contract and declaratory relief, and the claims were later assigned to Coco.
Firm partner Nicholas D. Siegfried authored an article that appeared as a “Board of Contributors” guest column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Contractors That Allow Court Notices to Fall Through the Cracks Will Face Severe Consequences,” focuses on the takeaways from a recent appellate ruling against a contractor that failed to file suit against a surety bond within the required 60 days. His article reads:
In the case of Rabil v. Seaside Builders, a dispute arose between the homeowners and their contractor. Thereafter, the contractor recorded a construction lien against the property under Chapter 713, Florida Statutes, and filed suit. The homeowners responded by posting a lien transfer bond and recording a notice of contest of lien. The notice shortened the time for the contractor to file suit against the transfer bond from one year to 60 days. The clerk of court recorded a certificate of transfer of the lien to bond and mailed a copy to the contractor along with the notice of contest of lien.
Firm partner B. Michael Clark Jr. authored an article that appeared as a “Board of Contributors” guest column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Fla. Supreme Court Finds Insurers Liable From Onset of Construction Defect Pre-Suit Process,” discusses the ramifications of the recent decision by the state’s highest court holding that the pre-litigation notice and repair process for construction defect cases does indeed constitute a claim which general liability insurance carriers must recognize. The article reads:
The state’s pre-litigation defect procedure, outlined in Chapter 558, was enacted in 2003 to provide a means by which property owners could notify builders of alleged construction or design defects. The responsible contractors, subcontractors and design professionals must then either voluntarily resolve the defects or deny liability. The goal of the statute was to reduce the amount of complex, multiparty construction defect litigation, which had ballooned during the building boom prior to the collapse of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis.
The firm’s Stuart Sobel was quoted in an article in today’s Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper, about a lawsuit by client ADF International, the steel contractor on Brightline’s downtown Miami train station. ADF was hired in 2016 by Suffolk Construction Co. Inc., the MiamiCentral general contractor, to work on Brightline’s private passenger rail station and one of the office buildings in the complex. The company claims it is owed $25.8 million for extra work blamed on on-site issues and incomplete and faulty plans. It is suing Suffolk Construction, project architect and engineer Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and All Aboard Florida, which plans to run Brightline trains between Miami and Orlando and is building MiamiCentral along Northwest First Avenue between Third and Eighth streets.
The firm’s Oscar R. Rivera was the subject of a profile article in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Real Estate Attorney Oscar Rivera Traces Career Roots to Shredding Carbon Paper,” chronicles Oscar’s career in the law, which began when he was still in high school in the 1970s. It reads:
Oscar R. Rivera’s first job at a law firm required him to go through the office trash cans to find and shred the discarded carbon sheets used to make copies of legal documents.
That was in the 1970s, and Rivera was in high school and working at a Miami management-side labor law firm. His shredding was meant to prevent a pro-union law firm from dumpster-diving to read the flimsy purple sheets to gain insight into its opponent’s strategy, Rivera said.
“If you looked at the carbon paper against the light, you could read the letter,” he said.
The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) contract documents, which are generally regarded as the construction industry standards, are updated by the organization every 10 years, and the 2017 update released earlier this year contains considerable changes from the 2007 editions.
The changes in the documents directly impact the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties in construction and design contracts. Some of the major owner/contractor changes include:
- New exhibit with comprehensive insurance and bonds provisions that can be attached to many of the AIA owner/contractor agreements.
- Expression provision in the AIA A201-2017 General Conditions addressing the rights of the contractor and the obligations of the owner in the event of a loss on the project if there is no property insurance procured.
- New provisions relating to direct communications between the owner and contractor.
- Revised provisions pertaining to the owner’s obligation to provide proof that it has made financial arrangements to pay for the project and the contractor’s rights related thereto.
- Simplified provisions for the contractor to apply for, and receive, payments.
- Single Sustainable Projects Exhibit that can be used on any project and added to most AIA contracts to address the risks and responsibilities associated with sustainable design and construction services.
Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel, P.A. achieved a significant milestone this year, celebrating 40 years of providing quality legal service to the South Florida, Florida and national communities. As we enter the fifth decade together, we are thankful for the relationships which we have built here in our backyard and beyond. It’s because of these relationships — and the trust we have earned—that we’ve continued to grow and flourish over the years. As we look back at where we have been, we are excited about where we are headed.
We take pride in the personalized professionalism we offer our clients. We will continue to mentor and expand our team to ensure we offer that same level of service as our younger attorneys transition into new leadership roles. To commemorate our journey, we produced a short film explaining our plan to perpetuate our legacy throughout the 21st Century. Because we’ll still be here—you can trust us on that.
The latest edition of the University of Miami Law Review, the quarterly legal journal published by the UM School of Law, features an article that was authored by the firm’s Steven M. Siegfried, H. Hugh McConnell and James S. Czodli, together with Allen Bonner and the late Ervin A. Gonzalez of Colson Hicks Eidson. The article, which is titled “The Economic Loss Rule: Is a Building a Product? — Another View,” is among the last published works co-authored by Gonzalez (pictured here), the highly renowned civil trial attorney who tragically passed away in June. Our firm’s attorneys and professionals extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Ervin’s family, friends and colleagues.