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The Bonus Value of Your Liability Insurance Policy: Litigation Defense

Your liability policy's value goes beyond its coverage of losses up to its stated policy limit. Especially if you find yourself in a complex lawsuit with numerous parties, your policy could provide significant value by obligating your insurance company to pay your attorneys' fees and costs. Therefore, when faced with a potentially-covered claim, it is important to not only give notice to your liability carrier, but also request that your carrier defend you against the claim, to make sure you get the full value out of your policy....

New Version of LEED Rating System May Be Coming Soon

The U.S. Green Building Council’s long awaited updates to the LEED Rating System are almost complete. LEED v4 has been in the works for more than a year. The likely final public comment period for the new rating system ends on March 31st, and voting on the changes is scheduled to begin June 1st.

There are some significant changes in LEED v4. It will include a new credit category, Location and Transportation.   As the name suggests it focuses in part on location of buildings and connectivity to them. Some of the credits in this category, such as bicycle storage, reduced parking capacity and low-emitting vehicles are already part of the existing Sustainable Sites category, so they are just being moved. Speaking of which, a new credit for rainwater management has been added to the Sustainable Sites category in LEED V4, which will be an opportunity to earn points for capturing, treating and controlling on-site runoff.

There are some significant changes in the Water Efficiency category. There will be three prerequisites: Outdoor Water Use Reduction (applicable to projects with exterior vegetated areas); Indoor Water Use Reduction (like the former "Water Use Reduction" prerequisite, it requires 20% water use reduction, and will also require a WaterSense label for certain fixtures and fittings); and Building Level Water Metering (applicable to all projects, it calls for permanent water meters to measure usage, and the data must be shared with the USGBC for 5 years). There are also new credits for Cooling Tower Use and Water Metering.


  • Mark J. Stempler

    Mr. Stempler focuses his practice in the areas of construction litigation, government bid protests, and civil litigation. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Construction Law, and is certified as a LEED Green Associate by the United States Green Building Council. He represents clients in commercial and residential construction lawsuits, involving defects, delays, contractual disputes, mold claims, liens and lien disputes, bond claims, and insurance disputes. Clients include owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, sureties, and manufacturers.

Update on Public/Private Partnership Legislation

 SB 84 and HB 85, as amended to reflect the merger with a competing bill, continues to pick up momentum. The House Bill passed the Government Operations Subcommittee three days ago by a vote of 11 to 1 and the Senate Bill is set for the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee today. Many interested parties have raised very good suggestions for changes in the statutory language and we’re addressing as many of them as we can. We’re excited that this legislation has garnered so much attention, as that indicates people are preparing themselves to implement it upon passage. Keep up the support!

I was recently interviewed by Carolina Bolado at Law360 about the legislation and the portion of her article addressing it is reprinted below. In the meantime, the newly formed Florida Council of Public/Private Partnerships is putting the final touches on our P3 conference set for May 16 and 17 in Orlando, which will coincide with the statewide launch of that trade association to the public. If you want to be on the e-mailing list to receive notice of the seminar when registration opens shortly, let me know. 


In the meantime, keep up the P3 momentum! Here is the segment of the Law360 article on P3:



  • Lee Weintraub

    At age 46, Lee Weintraub was the youngest recipient ever of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Bar’s Construction Law Committee. Mr. Weintraub is also an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law teaching construction law. Mr. Weintraub has been recognized by Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers every year since 2003. Chambers USA noted he focuses on licensing and construction defect litigation, but is particularly renowned for his expertise in the Construction Lien Law. He was also selected in the The Best Lawyers in America© every year from 2006 through 2018.

Florida Supreme Court limits the economic loss rule to product liability matters – or not?

For the last eight (8) years, Florida’s economic loss rule has been applied to bar claims (1) where the parties are in contractual privity and one party seeks to recover damages in tort for matters arising out of the contract, or (2) where the defendant is a manufacturer or distributor of a defective product which damages itself but does not cause personal injury or damage to any other property. Indemnity Ins. Co. v. American Aviation, Inc., 891 So.2d 532 (Fla.2004). However, in its March 7, 2013 5-2 split decision in Tiara Condominium Ass'n, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., 38 Fla.L.W. S151A (Fla. March 7, 2013) the Florida Supreme Court has now receded from prior precedent and appears to have limited the application of the economic loss rule to product liability matters. The Court observed that the economic loss rule is a judicially created doctrine that sets forth the circumstances...

The “New” in Renew; Potential Changes to Insurance Policy Eligibility Requirements and Coverage Upon Renewal

Simply because you identified an appropriate policy and adequate coverage at some point in the past, does not mean that the policy is appropriate and the coverage is adequate for you now. Therefore, when you receive a renewal notice from your insurance company, it is best to fully re-evaluate your insurance coverage instead of blindly submitting the renewal premium....

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Repair Estimates When Evaluating Your Construction Defect Claim

Investigating and placing potentially responsible parties on notice about the existence of construction or design defects against Developers, Contractors or Design Professionals in accordance with Chapter 558, Florida Statutes, is an important part of the claims process. As their defect claims progress, Individual Property Owners and Condominium Associations may need professional assistance from their attorneys and design consultants in calculating the potential costs to correct construction or design defects. There are many other reasons why Owners or Associations would want to obtain repair proposals or estimates. For example, while repair estimates may help Owners and Associations budget for repairs, they may also help Owners and Associations to prioritize their claims for settlement purposes. Repair estimates enable Owners and Associations to identify any defects they may wish to withdraw from their Ch. 558 pre-litigation construction defects claims, or from litigation, during the course of settlement negotiations. When negotiating a...

A Performance Bond’s Fixed and Flexible Scope.

The scope of a performance bond's protection is limited, but can be expanded. To ensure that the surety will be responsible for all applicable work, it is important to keep the bond's scope in mind throughout the course of the project, and expand it as necessary, to make sure the bargained-for protection is available, in the event you need it....