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Cotney Construction Law Attorneys Selected to the 2018 Super Lawyers & Rising Stars List

Tampa, FL, June 19, 2018 – Cotney Construction Law (CCL), a leading national law firm for construction, specialty trades, and OSHA law, is pleased to announce that six attorneys have been selected to the 2018 Florida Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Lists. These lists recognize the leading lawyers in each region and are based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, no more than 5 percent of lawyers in the state are chosen as Super Lawyers and no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state receive the Rising Star designation.

The CCL attorneys named as 2018 Super Lawyers and the practice area they are being recognized for:

  • Trent Cotney, Construction Litigation
    Trent is being recognized by Super Lawyers for the tenth consecutive year. He is also listed in both the Top 50 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers and Top 100 Florida Super Lawyers lists for the third year in a row. Trent routinely represents contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers, and other industry professionals in all aspects of construction litigation and arbitration.
  • Brian Oblow, Construction Litigation
    Brian is a trial lawyer that has been recognized by Super Lawyers nine times. He has nearly 20 years of experience practicing construction law, commercial litigation, and insurance-related matters.

The CCL attorneys named as 2018 Rising Stars and the practice area they are being recognized for:

  • Benjamin Briggs, Employment Litigation
    Ben represents clients in all aspects of labor and employment law, including OSHA defense, immigration, wage & hour, and harassment & retaliation claims.
  • Marci Britt, Employment & Labor
    Marci has significant experience in a wide array of employment disputes, including whistleblower claims, family & medical leave issues, hiring & firing, and discrimination claims.
  • Grant Dostie, Construction Litigation
    Grant focuses his practice on all areas of construction law, including contract review & drafting, payment disputes, OSHA defense, and building code violation defense.
  • Mason Pokorny, Construction Litigation
    Mason practices in all areas of construction law, including construction litigation, construction defect claims, delay claims, and lien & bond law.

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About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.

About Cotney Construction Law
Cotney Construction Law is a national law firm that provides representation for general, roofing, HVAC and specialty contractors.  Experienced in the representation of businesses and professionals in construction disputes and transactions, Cotney is a well-known advisor and legal counsel in the construction industry.  The firm’s practice areas include construction law, litigation, arbitration, contract review & drafting, immigration, employment, OSHA defense, licensing defense, bid protests, lien law, bond law and alternative dispute resolution.  The firm has Florida offices in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Ft. Lauderdale, as well as locations in Denver, Grand Rapids, Houston, Mobile, and Nashville.  For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

In this two-part article, we are offering practical tips to construction employers to ensure they are in compliance with the rules and regulations governed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. If you violate workers’ compensation laws, you could incur significant penalties or receive a stop work order in Florida. If you have received either a citation or a stop work order from the Division of Workers’ Compensation, it’s critical that you contact Cotney Construction Law today.

In the first section, we focused on a few things that every employer in the State of Florida must consider when hiring workers on a project. In this section, a stop work order attorney in Florida will offer you some more advice on ways to prevent workers’ compensation violations from transpiring at your jobsite.

Are You Covered in Florida?

For contractors, it’s important to remember that workers’ compensation laws are dependent on the state you are working in. For example, if you obtain workers’ compensation coverage in Florida, but a portion of a project is required to be performed in another state then you need to obtain coverage in that state to perform that segment of the work.

The Importance of a General Ledger

Every construction business owner should have a general ledger that meticulously covers all payments and expenses for that specific project. Moreover, this ledger should identify what state the work was performed in. This ledger helps ensure that the work performed was in compliance with workers’ compensation laws.

Keeping Financial Records

Along with this detailed general ledger, construction companies need to keep close records of all of their financial aspects including cash withdrawals and reimbursements. If your company fails to keep sufficient records of your business interactions, this will be imputed in your workers’ compensation penalty by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Contractual Protection

With any construction legal matter, contractors and business owners need the strength of a clearly worded contract. When agreeing to a written agreement with a subcontractor, you should include a provision that confirms on the subcontractor’s end that they agree to be in compliance with workers’ compensation laws. In addition, this legal document should detail that any penalty that the employer experiences because of the subcontractor’s negligence should be reimbursed by the subcontractor. Although this provision may not prevent a penalty or stop work order from being issued to the employer, it at least provides the employer with a possible legal route to take in order to recover those damages.

If you would like to speak with a stop work order attorney in Florida, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

As workers’ compensation defense attorneys in Florida, we know that regardless of your project or the type of work you are performing, workers’ compensation is always a relevant topic pertaining to the construction industry. If you are an employer, you need to understand several of the most common ways the Division of Workers’ Compensation can issue your workplace a stop work order or a significant penalty for a violation. With countless investigations being conducted every week, is your workplace compliant?

In this two-part article, we will first focus on a few critical aspects related to workers’ compensation. These are laws that every employer in the State of Florida should be aware of. In the second section, we will discuss some practical tips that can help prevent any issues from arising at your jobsite.

Workers’ Compensation is Necessary for All Projects

There are a couple laws related to workers’ compensation that every construction employer in Florida should know. For starters, employers are required to have workers’ compensation for their project regardless of the size of their project. Whether it’s just a handful of workers performing a small task or hundreds of workers hired onto a huge project, employers need to ensure that all of the workers present at their jobsite are in compliance with the laws governed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

All Workers Present Need to Be Covered

Employers also need to understand that they are responsible for ensuring every worker present at their jobsite is covered. This includes those workers that are not regular, full-time employees. In other words, if you hire a subcontractor to complete an assignment and the subcontractor hires dozens of workers to assist them with these tasks, the employer is still responsible for ensuring that these workers are all covered.

This is a common problem when contractors rely on leasing companies to assist them with completing a project. The leasing company could instruct a worker to begin working on a project before the appropriate paperwork is processed. Because the contractor fulfilled their end of the paperwork, they could easily assume that the worker is covered. It’s critical that contractors verify that all of the workers on the jobsite are covered before they are allowed to begin their work.

Workers Compensation Defense

If you are an employer and you have been issued a stop work order, you should immediately contact a workers’ compensation defense lawyer in Florida. At Cotney Construction Law, we are intimately familiar with workers’ compensation laws and we provide construction employers with the accurate legal advice and counsel they require.

If you would like to speak with a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In this three-part article, we are focusing on the best practices contractors and construction companies can take to retain their most talented workers. As we have discussed, the recession that resulted in an economic downturn from the late 2000’s to the early 2010’s greatly impacted the construction industry. The good news is that most companies are producing profit margins again, generating some cash flow, and creating a backlog of projects to work on over the next few months.

Despite the good news, it’s always important to consider what would happen if we were blindsided by another recession. As Memphis construction attorneys, it’s a troubling thought to consider another significant recession; however, there needs to be a contingency plan in place in case this happens. In section one and two, we discussed ways to motivate employees to stay at your company. In this section, we will focus on tangible ways to ensure that your business is “recession-proof.”

Compensation is Key

In a fierce job market, you must offer your best employees what they are worth. With the number of qualified workers available on projects lessening every year, the demand for these skilled workers is only going up as should their compensation. On any survey, compensation is always listed as the number one driving force for accepting or declining a job. Employers need to remember this. For managerial positions, offering a small percentage of the company’s equity may be more valuable to the employee than a significant raise as this shows an interest in their long-term value at your place of business.

Benefits That They Will Love

Certain benefits can sway your employee into staying or leaving. Obviously, healthcare benefits are always a good starting point. Paid time off, flexible hours, and other employee benefits are always important too. For younger skilled workers, one of the main priorities to a favorable job is their work-life balance. In the past, construction jobs haven’t offered much in this area. Finding a way to implement this balance into your company may attract the right young workers and also motivate them to stay with your company.

Creating the Right Work Culture

Productivity stems from highly motivated workers that work together as a team. Construction company owners can foster the right work environment by utilizing their workers in positions in which they can excel, providing them with the mentorship they need to see a long-term successful career at the company, and continuing to allow them to contribute to more and more important company goals and leadership initiatives over time.

If you would like to speak with a Memphis construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In this three-part article, we are discussing ways to retain the best workers at your company. As Knoxville construction attorneys, we know that since the recession in the late 2000’s the labor shortage problem has created a highly contentious work culture in construction that has made retaining skilled workers that much more difficult.

Tangible Ways to Retain Skilled Workers

In the first section, we focused on how companies should offer their best workers more leadership opportunities. By giving your best workers the opportunity to grow and be a part of the administrative process of developing your company, the employee will in return remain loyal to your company as they appreciate the recognition for their hard work and the opportunity for personal development. In this section, we will focus on employee engagement and ways that you can ensure your most talented workers feel like they are part of a team and can see a road to success with your company.

Investing in Leaders

Workers cannot be placed into leadership programs without being placed on the right path for career advancement. You can maximize the potential of your best employees by implementing a strong mentorship program. When you have your most experienced workers that are nearing retirement training your next group of leaders, this is a win-win scenario that helps your younger workers see a vision of their future at your company.

Incorporate the Right Practices

Studies have shown that the annual employee review is antiquated. In a transient work culture, company owners need to consider the logical fact that their outstanding employee may not be around anymore for the next annual review. Instead, employees prefer regular one-on-one engagement. In these meetings, the employee will receive a valuable assessment of their work performance, helpful advice on ways they can improve their performance, and the right direction to move forward and have a successful career with the company. These employee engagement meetings also improve a company’s overall productivity which greatly benefits clients as well.

For more information on ways to retain skilled workers, please read section three.

If you would like to speak with a Knoxville construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

After battling a recession that significantly impacted the construction sector for around a decade, companies are beginning to show sustainability and are netting successful profit margins and establishing a backlog of projects once again. In fact, every aspect of the industry is getting stronger except for one: the lack of skilled workers.

Retaining the Best Workers

As Knoxville contractor lawyers, we know that the labor shortage problem is an ongoing issue that needs improvement in recruitment efforts. Although the main focus is on bringing in the next generation of skilled employees, we should never overlook the importance of preserving the workforce already in place. In a highly competitive field, retaining workers has become even more challenging for contractors. Construction companies nationwide are attempting to adapt their business model to create a culture that attracts more prospective workers and while retaining the talented workers already on their payroll. In this three-part article, we will focus on the best ways to keep your most talented workers.

The Impact of the Recession

When the last recession impacted the construction industry, the area hit the hardest was the loss of thousands of skilled laborers and management-level employees. Thousands of the industry’s best workers moved on to “greener pastures” because they could not be compensated during this economic downturn. Although money is always a primary factor in career decisions, many studies have shown that the best way to retain talent isn’t just by providing them with a competitive salary.

What is Wealth?

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but having few wants.” It may surprise construction companies to discover that many of their most talented workers want more than a competitive salary. Employees that are entrusted with more and more responsibilities and are given the opportunity to lead at the helm will appreciate this opportunity for personal development. When a talented worker is given more authority and an opportunity to be involved in the company’s important decisions moving forward, they will value these responsibilities as much as their paycheck.

For more information on ways to retain skilled workers, please read sections two and three.

If you would like to speak with a Knoxville contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Although the term “thermochromism” isn’t a household name, it may one day be incorporated into the design of many of our homes. As Florida construction attorneys, we are always interested in the newest or most innovative designs that are being integrated into projects. After all, what’s considered an unorthodox design concept today may be a common way of approaching projects in the near future. In this article, we will discuss the impact that thermochromic materials may have on project designs in the near future.

What is Thermochromism?

Generally, when a temperature changes, the material itself does not aesthetically change in any way, shape, or form along with the climate change. Thanks to the application of either liquid crystals or leuco dyes, thermochromism is the process of a material that can change colors along with the temperature. Mood rings, beverages that have those “blue for cold” icons, even some forms of color-shifting tie dye-shirts are all examples of thermochromism at work. In recent years, thermochromism has been integrated into a variety of advanced artistic and industrial projects as well. The technology can be admired in the form of color-changing paint applied to automobiles, color-shifting recreational park benches, or even in the tiles in our showers.

How Can Thermochromism Be Applied to Construction?

In the Sunshine State, where temperatures tend to get extremely humid in the summer months, color-shifting tiles could be applied to a variety of interesting projects. As we mentioned before, a shower that can change colors from a sleek black or dark violet into a blue, green, pink, orange or bright red (as the surface gets warmer and warmer) is certainly an impressive aesthetic to feature in your home. Perhaps a wet bar or swimming pool deck that aesthetically reacts to those scorching summer days or cooler evenings could be another feature that becomes popular in future projects in Florida as well.

Unique Business Opportunity

As Florida construction attorneys, we know that the businesses that can adapt or incorporate cutting-edge practices, designs, or applications into the services they provide also gives clients something unique that their competition cannot offer. Although thermochromic materials are not being utilized in too many projects presently and may not yet be a feasible feature to incorporate into your business, perhaps sometime in the near future this technology will be involved in more and more construction projects. Either way, the concept and potential design schemes that can be utilized will be a pretty cool thing to look out for in the near future.

If you would like to speak with a Florida construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

For contractors utilizing employee leasing arrangements – have you considered a payroll solutions company instead? While there is no denying the benefits of an employee leasing arrangement, you may be unaware that these arrangements can also expose your company to huge gaps in your workers’ compensation policy.

Because employee leasing arrangements typically provide their own workers’ compensation policy for the leased employees, it is common for contractors to forego acquiring a workers’ compensation policy for their company. While this is one of the benefits of using an employee leasing arrangement, any additional employees that your company hires outside of the employee leasing arrangement and uninsured employees provided by a subcontractor will not be covered by that policy. If one of these employees is injured on the job, your company may be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs, not to mention the costs to your reputation and your relationships with subcontractors.

Luckily, there are modern solutions to this potential problem. Many payroll solutions companies issue their workers’ compensation policies directly to your company. In addition to providing the same payroll and HR benefits as an employee leasing arrangement, payroll solutions companies will cover a workers’ compensation claim even if the injured employee is not a leased employee. For many contractors, these services are affordable and valuable cures to the gaps in coverage caused by employee leasing arrangements.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

If you live and work in Florida, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the federal laws that are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its Wage and Hour Division (WHD). It’s also important to know that separate wage and hour laws apply to the State of Florida as well. If your employer is violating any of these state or federal laws, you require the services of a Tampa wage and hour attorney.

State Laws Can Take Precedence

As Tampa wage and hour attorneys, we know that an employee can always defer to the preferential wage and hour laws established in their state. In other words, workers are always entitled to the favorable wage that applies to their state compared to the federal minimum wage. In Florida, this is beneficial as minimum wage employees earn more than the federal minimum wage.

The Five Wage and Hour Laws You Should Know

If you are employed and live in Florida, there are a few laws that every worker should be aware of. Here are the five laws every worker should know:

  1. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that establishes that every employee in the United States should earn a minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour (excluding tipped employees). Under Florida law, employees are owed at least $8.25 per hour.
  2. If you live in a state where the minimum wage is below the federal minimum wage, the federal FLSA standard of $7.25 would apply to the majority of workers. For example, Georgia’s minimum hourly wage is set at $5.15 per hour, so workers should be compensated $7.25 per hour.
  3. Any non-exempt employee that works more than 40 hours in a workweek should be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their standard hourly rate for each additional hour that they work.
  4. FLSA considers exempt overtime employees to be “bona fide” executive, managerial, highly specialized or creative, full-time workers. In other words, hourly, freelance, or contract workers or employees that are not working in a highly skilled or administrative position should be compensated overtime pay.
  5. In Florida, workers that earn $30 or more per month in tipped compensation are referred to as a tipped employee. By law, these employees earn a cash wage of $5.23 per hour plus their additional compensation through paid tips. If the tipped employee fails to earn enough money to make up the difference of the minimum wage in Florida, the employer must compensate the tipped employee the difference owed.

If you would like to speak with one of our Tampa wage and hour attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

For every successful general contractor, there is a team of highly skilled and qualified subcontractors. Subcontractors are extremely important to the construction process, yet they face challenges daily that threaten their longevity in this industry. In this article, our Memphis contractor lawyers will briefly discuss some of the challenges subcontractors face as well as how to create general contractor and subcontractor relationships that will stand the test of time.

Challenges Subcontractors Face

Cash flow issues are one of the top challenges for many subcontractors. From paying wages to securing lines of credit, subcontractors are typically fronting a range of construction costs. The type of provisions in the subcontract matters. If the contract contains a pay-if-paid provision the risk lies heavily on the subcontractor. If a pay-when-paid provision is in place, timing is the only factor: The subcontractor is paid when the contractor is paid. Among other issues are:

  • Worker shortages
  • Changing regulations
  • Document management
  • Technology integration
  • Keeping up with industry trends

All of these issues threaten a subcontractor’s ability to increase their bottom line and keep their business afloat. If you are a subcontractor in Tennessee looking for legal assistance, the Cotney Construction Law team is here for you. A reputable Memphis contractor lawyer from our office can assist you with contract negotiation, review, and drafting. We can also provide legal counsel, representation, or defense in areas related to timely payment, liens, dispute resolution, immigration, and contractor licensing.

Building Strong General Contractor-Subcontractor Relationships

Finding reputable subcontractors takes skill. When maintaining good partnerships with subcontractors, general contractors should be proactive about making the relationship a two-way street. Practice the following:

  • Clear communication
  • Paying them on time
  • Hold them accountable
  • Ask for their input

Although they are an independent entity, it is important to treat subcontractors as if they are a valued part of your team, just as you would an employee.

To speak with a Memphis contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.