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Trent Cotney P.A. Donates to Humane Societies for Hurricane Relief

Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group, a leading national law firm for construction, specialty trades, and OSHA law, made donations to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and the Houston Humane Society to support hurricane relief efforts. Not only did Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impact people and businesses, but among the victims were many animals – many of which are still displaced.

“I hope these donations can help the humane societies with their efforts in rescuing, caring, housing, and rebuilding the lives of these animals in wake of the disastrous hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida,” said Trent Cotney, president of Cotney Construction Law “I have seen everyone come together after these natural disasters to help the animals, and I want to contribute to the affected communities.”

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need. The Houston Humane Society is committed to, and works toward, ending cruelty, abuse and the overpopulation of animals while providing the highest quality of life to those in their care.

About Trent Cotney P.A.

Cotney Construction Law is a construction law firm currently with offices in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Nashville and Mobile. They provide national representation for general, roofing, HVAC and specialty contractors. Specializing in the representation of businesses and professionals in construction disputes and transactions throughout the nation and with a proven track record in the State of Florida, Cotney is a well-known advisor and legal counsel in the roofing industry. The firm’s practice areas include construction law, litigation, arbitration, contract review, immigration, employment, drafting, OSHA defense, licensing defense, bid protests, lien law, bond law and alternative dispute resolution. For more information, visit www.trentcotney.com

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For More Information: Anita Lum
813.579.3278
alum@trentcotney.com

Leading law team presents with Barry Noll of the U.S. Department of the Interior

 

Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group, a leading national law firm for construction, specialty trades and OSHA law, will present at the NSC Congress & Expo with the Chief of the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Division of Safety, Barry Noll. Trent Cotney and Anthony Tilton of Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group collaborated with Barry Noll to design a course for NSC to inform and teach employers and safety professionals what to expect during an OSHA compliance officer inspection, as well as their rights and duties. They will discuss real-world, practical examples of issues encountered during OSHA inspections and how to properly address them.

The NSC Congress & Expo brings together the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals annually. Cotney is a regular presenter at the NSC whose concept of the Journey to Safety Excellence® fits with the law firm’s commitment to safety. “We are proud to be speaking with Barry Noll on this important topic of OSHA inspections,” stated Trent Cotney, President of the firm. “Safety is the number one issue in construction and our firm is focused on providing the tools and legal assistance to every contractor to create a safe work space.”

Trent Cotney is a leader in OSHA law and construction safety. He is the editor and primary author of the book OSHA Defense for the Construction Industry and his firm was awarded OSHA Defense Law Firm of the Year — USA by Lawyer’s Monthly (2015, 2016, and 2017). Anthony D. Tilton works in all aspects of construction law with a strong focus on all matters relating to OSHA defense. He is known for his management and development of safety and health strategies for construction contractors and industrial facilities across the United States. Tilton’s OSHA practice concentrates on litigation and the appeals process for citations involving catastrophic construction or industry related accidents.

Barry Noll is the Chief of the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Division of Safety, Evaluations, and Voluntary Protection Programs. Noll manages DOI’s Safety Program which includes: developing safety policy, conducting safety program evaluations, providing consultative assistance to DOI senior leaders, bureaus and offices, conducting/reviewing serious accident investigation, and working with emergency managers on significant incidents.

About Trent Cotney P.A.

Cotney Construction Law is a construction law firm currently with offices in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Nashville and Mobile. They provide national representation for general, roofing, HVAC and specialty contractors. Specializing in the representation of businesses and professionals in construction disputes and transactions throughout the nation and with a proven track record in the State of Florida, Cotney is a well-known advisor and legal counsel in the roofing industry. The firm’s practice areas include construction law, litigation, arbitration, contract review, immigration, employment, drafting, OSHA defense, licensing defense, bid protests, lien law, bond law and alternative dispute resolution. For more information, visit www.oshalawyer.com

About National Safety Council

The nation’s leading safety advocate for more than 100 years, the National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by engaging businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public to help prevent the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. – preventable injuries.

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For More Information:

Anita Lum
813.579.3278
alum@trentcotney.com

 

Tampa, FL, September 20, 2017 – Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group, a leading national law firm for construction, specialty trades and OSHA law, is offering a free, legal help line to help contractors in hurricane stricken areas with legal questions or needs. Contractors can call 1-866-303-5868 for legal advice concerning hurricane restoration efforts.

“We are receiving a number of calls daily asking how to handle warranties, claims and legal situations created from the recent storms,” stated Trent Cotney, President of the firm. “Our law firm started in Florida and our offices survived Irma as it hit Tampa. It is time for all of us to help each other. We know there are a lot of questions that contractors have concerning legal issues after the storms. Warranties and claims are on the top of the list along with normal safety and legal concerns. We want to help.”

Trent Cotney construction law firm is made up over 15 lawyers who specialize in construction law, safety, employment, immigration and building code expertise. The firm has been an integral part of the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractor Associations on state and local levels. “On a volunteer basis, we have provided general counsel for the roofing contractor and HVAC associations of Florida for many years. The contractors of Florida have the highest integrity and will be the ones to get our state functioning again,” continued Cotney. “I want to be sure that our construction industry has the legal support they need so they can do their jobs for the citizens of Florida and Texas.”

Licensed contractors (where applicable) from hurricane affected areas can immediately call 866-303-5868 help line for advice and additional information regarding the free consultation.

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Generally speaking, a hurricane is considered an Act of God.  Whether your warranty is voided because of hurricane force winds depends on the wording of your contract and warranty.  An Act of God waiver or disclaimer may act to eliminate a roofer’s liability for potential warranty claims. Similarly, a workmanship warranty may contain provisions which exempt damages caused by hurricanes.  Most manufacturer’s warranties have similar language.  It should be noted that if there is no damage caused to a roof other than wind speed below design criteria, and if the product fails, then the customer could potentially have a claim absent contractual/warranty language to the contrary.  However, most damage caused in hurricanes is a result either in whole or in part by missile debris and not wind alone. Clearly, under most circumstances, a roofer would not be liable for missile debris damage caused to their work. A careful examination of technical data also reveals a variety of other defenses including duration of hurricane force winds, gust speeds, micro bursts and tornadic force which may be exempt from existing warranties.

 

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. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.

The demand for roofing work often increases after any natural disaster or, in Texas, after a severe storm. Insurance usually pays for roofing repairs after severe weather which results in roofers, some from out of state, appearing and increasing their advertising efforts to get a portion of the business.  Roofers should be aware that improperly charging insurance companies can result in the contract being voided and criminal penalties. Avoiding that scenario requires an understanding of what practices are illegal and are red flags for insurance companies and state authorities.

It is common for roofers to offer free or discounted insurance-covered work to homeowners, to pay or absorb a homeowner’s deductible or to offer to help negotiate the value of an insurance claim.  Those tactics may seem relatively harmless and good ways to get work but they are illegal. Texas law provides that only a licensed adjuster is able to submit and negotiate an insurance claim. In addition, the Texas insurance code prohibits an adjuster from profiting from an adjustment of a claim and making the repairs associated with that adjustment. A roofer, even if also licensed to perform adjustment work, cannot perform both services for the same claim. Doing so presents a conflict of interest that can result in the contract being ruled as void.

Also, when performing work which is covered by insurance, make sure you are billing for the work based on the rates usually charged by other local roofers. Under Section 27.02 of the Texas Business and Commercial Code, it is illegal for a person selling goods and services (including roofing):  1) to promise to pay an insurance deductible or provide a rebate in the amount of an insurance deductible, 2) to allow the goods or services be paid from insurance proceeds, and 3) to charge rates for the goods and services which are above the “usual and customary” amount charged for those goods or services and such excessive charge is by an amount “equal to or greater than the applicable insurance deductible.” In addition, a person who submits or prepares a claim or any information to an insurance company with the intent to deceive that insurance company commits insurance fraud which can be considered a felony if the value of the claim is $1,500 or more. Anytime a roofer attempts to help the homeowner out of paying their deductible either through overbilling or converting the deductible to a “sign fee” or “advertising,” that roofer is potentially breaking the law and opening itself up to criminal penalties.

Often, when a roofer engages in these practices, it is the homeowner who winds up with the most liability because the homeowner usually submits the false invoice or receipt to the insurance company. Many unscrupulous roofers will encourage customers to save some money by deceiving the insurance company knowing that the insurance company will pursue the customer once the issue is uncovered. Any roofer who wants to avoid prosecution and maintain a good reputation from its customers should make sure to avoid assisting customers from obtaining a higher payout from insurance companies and make sure customers know not to misrepresent to its insurance company how much it has paid.

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. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.

Trent Cotney represents the roofing industry as a Florida Bar Board Certified Construction Lawyer, General Counsel and a director of the Florida Roofing Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA), General Counsel for the National Women in Roofing (NWIR), Treasurer and a director of the West Coast Roofing Contractors Association (WCRCA), a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and several other roofing organizations.