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Florida Supreme Court Rules COVID-19 Pandemic Constitutes “Natural Emergency”

Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes, provides that certain qualifying permits and authorizations are eligible for an extension once certain States of Emergency are declared for the length of time the declaration is in effect plus an additional six (6) months. A written request for such an extension must be submitted to the authorizing governmental agency within ninety (90) days after the State of Emergency has expired. § 252.363(1)(b), Florida Statutes. Four types of permits and authorizations qualify for an extension under these circumstances:...

Steven Lesser Appointed Chair of the Board of Legal Specialization & Education

Congratulations to Shareholder Steven Lesser on his appointment as Chair of the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE). His term will run July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020. The BLSE administers the Bar’s certification plan and is charged with identifying attorneys who have substantial experience and special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in certified areas of practice as well as professionalism and ethics in the practice of law. Steve previously served as Vice Chair of the Board. Steve is Florida Bar Board Certified in Construction Law and remains an active member of the Bar. He is Past Chair of the Construction Law Certification Committee and Grievance Committees 15(f) and 17(b). Additionally, Steve has written extensively for the Florida Bar Journal and is Past Chair of the publication’s Editorial Board. In 2016, Steve was awarded the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his...

Sanjay Kurian, “Hurricane Insurance Claims for Condominium Associations,” FLCAJ Magazine

There is a lot of information on how associations can prepare for hurricanes but much less information as to what happens after the hurricane, particularly as it pertains to insurance claims. A question that managers and board members need to consider is, what is required after a hurricane to ensure compliance with your insurance policy and recover money which may be owed? Click here to read Sanjay’s full article in FLCAJ Magazine....

Becker & Poliakoff Wins Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict In Landmark Construction Case

Jury Finds Subsidiary of National Developer Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. Liable for Breach of Contract and Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act MORRISTOWN, NJ & FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – June 5, 2017 – Becker & Poliakoff secured a landmark $9 million-plus jury verdict Thursday against a subsidiary of Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: HOV). The award includes punitive (treble) damages for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and also entitles the plaintiff to recover attorneys’ fees, costs and prejudgment interest. The jury found that Hovnanian Enterprises used the subsidiary as an instrument to commit a fraud or injustice on purchasers of condominium units. The ultimate recovery against all parties, including the project architect and geotechnical engineer, could exceed $20 million. After a six-week trial in New Jersey Superior Court (Docket No. HUD-L-2560-13), the jury agreed that Hovnanian, after learning that the condominium building was being improperly constructed with plywood flooring...

Becker & Poliakoff Construction Practice Group Receives Top Ranking in 2017 Chambers USA Guide

Ft. Lauderdale, May 26, 2017 — The 2017 Chambers USA Guide, one of the legal profession’s most preeminent rankings directories, has ranked Becker & Poliakoff’s Construction Law and Litigation Group and its chairman, Steven Lesser, in its top tier of Florida’s construction law practices and attorneys. In addition to the entire group and Mr. Lesser’s Band 1 ranking, shareholders Lee A. Weintraub and Sanjay Kurian received high rankings. Chambers selects attorneys and practices for inclusion based on thousands of interviews with practicing lawyers and clients worldwide. Attorneys, practice areas and firms are ranked by placement in “bands,” with Band 1 being the highest ranking. Chambers’ sources praise the Construction Group’s commitment to client service, with one interviewee noting: “I would describe them as being highly reliable and delivering terrific client service.” Another interviewee said: “My impression of the team is excellent — nothing dropped through the tracks! Monthly billing was clear and...

Inside The Nation’s Varying Contractor Licensing Rules — And How They Impact Business

This article originally appeared in Construction Dive Magazine, May, 2017, Reprinted with Permission. In an effort to safeguard their residents against fraud and the chaos that can result from unprofessional behavior or lack of experience and knowledge, most states have some kind licensing procedure in place for professions like lawyers, physicians and real estate agents. However, when it comes to construction contractors — who practice in an industry that is full of life and death scenarios — there is little state-to-state licensing uniformity. How do these regulations vary across the U.S., and is there any indication that a strict regulatory scheme results in a higher level of professionalism and quality among contractors? How licensing rules vary "We see both extremes where it's extremely difficult to get a license, and then on the opposite side where anyone with a hammer and pickup truck can be a contractor," said Chuck Taylor, director of operations for Chicago- area...

William Cea Wins Summary Judgment in Federal Bid Protest Case

Becker & Poliakoff attorneys, led by shareholder William Cea, have secured a significant court ruling in favor of their client, Premier Parks, ending this case and providing for open competition to bid on a future water park planned for 65 acres in Fort Lauderdale (Premier Parks v. City of Fort Lauderdale). Premier Parks, the parent company of Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach, filed suit in October 2015 after the City tried to allow Schlitterbahn, a waterpark operator, to build on a 65-acre property owned by the City, including the existing Ft. Lauderdale and Lockhart Stadium facilities. After buying out the Federal Government’s interest in the land in 2015, the City agreed to enter into a 30-year lease with Schlitterbahn. Premier Parks argued that the City should have been required to obtain competitive bids for the project and the court agreed. Gary Rosen, managing shareholder of Becker & Poliakoff, said: "This was a challenging case and we believed in our...

Keeping ‘Green’ Contracts Clear

The green building industry is arguably more popular than ever. The number of certified green buildings grows every day across all sectors of the building industry. Unfortunately, the contracts for sustainable projects are sometimes behind the times. Standard construction contracts are often not tailored to address the numerous issues and nuances that may come up on sustainable projects. This potentially puts all contracting parties at greater risk of uncertainty if disputes arise on the job site. Preparation on the front end of a green building is usually the best way to alleviate problems later on, and it starts with the contract. This is true whether the project is one for new construction or for renovations or retro-fitting. First, the contract should be as clear and specific as possible about what the green goal is. Simply using terms like "green building," "sustainable building" or "high-performing building" are not enough, because it is...

Getting Started with Public Bidding

Do you provide goods or services that public agencies purchase? Do you want to pursue public contract awards? Do you know how to get started? These are questions that you may have asked yourself. If you are looking to bid on public contracts, then there are some steps that you can take to put a plan into action. First, you should identify public agencies that need your goods and services. Some agencies may have purchasing cycles for particular goods and services and knowing when those opportunities will be advertised is critical. Most agencies maintain websites with links to their purchasing departments and/or purchasing procedures. They may also have representatives that can provide guidance on doing business with the agency and whether there are any registration or pre-qualifications requirements. The websites may also list the pending advertisements and bidding deadlines. Prior to contacting an agency, however, be mindful that there may be...