At Cotney Construction Law, our Ft. Myers construction lawyers represent contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and design professionals in disputes relating to public and private projects. We fight for the industry exclusively, and our commitment to construction professionals is unwavering. Our team has handled virtually every type of construction lawsuit you could think of and probably a few dealing with aspects of construction law that you’re less familiar with.
In this editorial, a Ft. Myers construction lawyer will discuss several types of construction lawsuits that all construction professionals should be familiar with. Construction lawsuits deal with a myriad of claims, including those pertaining to breach of contract, breach of express or implied warranties, construction defects, negligence, deceptive trade practices, and more. In this article, we’ll concentrate on construction defects and delays before summarizing other types of lawsuits. If you are currently dealing with a construction lawsuit, it’s time to pick up the phone and call an experienced legal representative to turn things around for you and your business.
Construction defect lawsuits are relatively common in Florida, where residential and commercial buildings alike take a regular beating from aggressive tropical storms and hurricanes on an annual basis. Although defects are already present before bad weather strikes, many fail to show themselves before they are put to the test. For example, you might not realize that your windows are improperly sealed until 60 mph winds and heavy rainfall occur simultaneously. The same goes for defects relating to your roof, siding, and more.
Whether a defect is patent or latent, you can expect to have an accusatory finger pointed in your direction once a defect is discovered. Whether or not it’s your fault, the contractor is often the one to absorb blame in instances such as this — unless you partner with a Ft. Myers construction defect attorney. Usually, these types of lawsuits deal with allegations that the contractor breached the implied or express warranty.
Implied warranties are unspoken and unwritten promises made by a manufacturer. They come in two forms: the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness. The former implies that goods will function as expected. The latter deals with the ability to use the product for a specific purpose. Things can get muddy when dealing with these types of warranties, so you may want to involve a Ft. Myers construction defect lawyer.
Express warranties are the opposite of implied warranties. They are explicitly stated warranties discussing the performance, quality, or use of a particular product (or services). When a defect lawsuit arises, you may need to be able to prove that an implied warranty was binding to prevent yourself from paying damages.
Delays are basically inevitable in the construction industry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously. “No damages for delay” clauses have been largely outlawed and are no longer enforceable if the source of the delay is related to fraud, bad faith, interference, or blatant negligence. This means that you and the owner both need to follow the rules, otherwise, a delay could result in one party paying damages. A Ft. Myers construction attorney can review the particulars of your situation, help you determine which party is at fault for delays, and provide strategies to help you come out on top. If the owner acted with negligence or tried to intentionally hinder project progress, you could be eligible for legal relief.
Other Types of Construction Lawsuits
Lawsuits dealing with construction defects and construction delays are two of the most common types of construction lawsuits you’ll face during your career as a contractor. However, you should still be concerned with the myriad of potential lawsuits targeting contractors. Aside from defects and delays, there are many types of construction lawsuits, including:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of warranty
- Claims relating to differing site conditions
- Code violations
- Construction lien foreclosure actions
- Construction lien exaggerations claims
- Defective roofing
- Electrical and plumbing issues
- Environmental issues
- Extra work claims
- Insurance coverage disputes
- Payment and performance bond claims
- Structural deficiencies
Statute of Limitations for Construction Lawsuits
Let’s circle back around to construction defects. As you are aware, construction defects can be either patent or latent. Latent defects play by a different set of rules since these defects can remain hidden for years before being discovered. If an owner wants to file a lawsuit against you for a patent defect, they must file within four years of:
- The date the owner took possession of the structure
- The date the certificate of occupancy was issued
- The date the construction project was abandoned (if not completed)
- The date the employment contract was completed or terminated
On the other hand, the statute of limitations for latent defects extends from the time the defect should have been discovered if the owner had exercised due diligence. This time frame varies from project to project, but it will never extend more than 10 years from any of the above dates.
If you would like to speak with one of our Ft. Myers construction 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.