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Firm shareholder Michael L. Hyman authored an article that was featured as the “Board of Contributors” guest commentary column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper.  The article, which is titled “Appellate Ruling Bolstering Association Collections Conflicts With Prior Rulings,” discusses how Florida condominium associations, especially properties under the jurisdiction of the First District Court of Appeal in the panhandle and north Florida, have received a powerful new collections weapon with a recent ruling.  Michael writes that the new First DCA opinion, which includes a certified conflict with several prior rulings by the Third District Court of Appeal, should be taken up by the Florida Supreme Court.  His article reads:

. . . In Coastal Creek Condominium Association v. FLA Trust Services, the case hinged on whether the current owner’s shared liability with the previous owner for unpaid association dues was limited solely to the assessments that accrued during the ownership of the most recent previous owner. The unit involved in the case was acquired via auction after the mortgage lender’s foreclosure, and the company that acquired it transferred the property via quit claim deed to an LLC just six weeks later.

The question for the court was whether the condominium association’s collections from the new owner were limited only to those for the intervening owner’s six weeks or could it also still collect on the significant debts of the original owner who lost the unit to foreclosure?

dbr-logo-300x57The trial court ruled that the new owner was only responsible for the assessments that came due during its ownership and the immediate prior owner’s six-week ownership, but not any additional assessments from the original owner.

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Forecasters and South Florida residents are keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma, a system that has recently been upgraded to a Category 5 and is forecasted to possibly impact the Florida Keys through portions of the Florida Peninsula. Although the exact location of where the storm will make landfall is still not known, we encourage all of our community association clients to take the proper steps to ensure their community is prepared and protected in case that it does hit.

As Hurricane Irma approaches, here are some helpful tips community associations should keep in mind when preparing for the storm:

  • Set-up a meeting with the community association manager and board of directors before the Continue reading

Siegfried Rivera, P.A. achieved a significant milestone this year, celebrating 40 years of providing quality legal service to the South Florida, Florida and national communities. As we enter the fifth decade together, we are thankful for the relationships which we have built here in our backyard and beyond. It’s because of these relationships — and the trust we have earned—that we’ve continued to grow and flourish over the years. As we look back at where we have been, we are excited about where we are headed.

We take pride in the personalized professionalism we offer our clients. We will continue to mentor and expand our team to ensure we offer that same level of service as our younger attorneys transition into new leadership roles.  To commemorate our journey, we produced a short film explaining our plan to perpetuate our legacy throughout the 21st Century. Because we’ll still be here—you can trust us on that.

The myth that turkeys can’t fly was proven untrue after it was discovered that turkeys can actually soar up to 55 feet in the air. For longer flights, however, they fly like the rest of us – in coach or business class. Or at least emotional support turkeys do, anyway.

Fox News recently covered a story on a turkey that ruffled quite a few feathers on a Delta flight, and it wasn’t because passengers caught a glimpse of the flying fowl from their windows. The turkey – which was brought on the flight as a regular passenger with its own assigned seat and all – was allowed on the flight as an emotional support animal. The traveler who owned the bird was able to provide the airline with the proper documentation required, forcing Delta’s hand into printing a boarding pass for the poultry. But when is enough, enough?

tkey3The honest answer: who knows? Lately, it seems as if the use of emotional support animals is becoming more widespread. Community associations, which are commonly faced with this issue, have been fighting for stricter standards for years. In fact, communities with pet restrictions that have fought passionately against accommodating your regular cat and dog are now having to battle against allowing animals such as pigs and even kangaroos to enter their communities.

The real crux of the matter is that as people get more and more creative with their requests, the law seems to stay silent.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there are certain steps community associations can take to evaluate the service/emotional support animal request to ensure its legitimacy. Remember, there is certain information an association can and cannot ask for, and wrongfully denying a request for a reasonable accommodation may result in a costly and protracted legal battle. When in doubt, consult with qualified legal counsel to guide you through the evaluation process to make sure that you are not exposing your community to any liability – even if the end result means having a turkey as a neighbor.

Click here to read the report in the Fox News website.

If you have construction defect involving a manufacturer, consider the most recent case on whether manufacturers owe statutory warranties to condominium associations pursuant to Section 718.203. The court in Port Marina Condo Ass’n v. Roof Servs., 119 So.3d 1288 (4th DCA 2013), broadly defined the term “Supplier”in addressing a condominium association’s statutory warranty action against a roofing manufacturer pursuant to Section 718.203(2), Florida Statutes. The condominium association identified leaks emanating from the roof of the boat storage building and contacted the roofing subcontractor to correct the defects. The roofing subcontractor attempted to make repairs, but was unsuccessful at correcting the leaks and advised the association that the roofing product was defective.

The association then contacted the roofing manufacturer and was notified by the manufacturer that the installation was defective, not the product. Seeing no relief, the association filed suit against a roofing subcontractor and against the roofing manufacturer for breach of Section 718.203. The roofing manufacturer filed a motion to dismiss arguing that Section 718.203 did not apply to product manufacturers. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice, relying on the holding set forth in Harbor Landing Condominium Owners Ass’n v. Harbor Landing, LLC, 78 So.3d 120 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012). The association appealed the trial court’s decision on the basis that it sufficiently alleged that the roofing manufacturer was a supplier within Section 718.203, and that the trial court should have allowed an amendment to the complaint. In reviewing the trial court’s ruling, the appellate court recited the elements necessary for bringing an action against a manufacturer for breach of Section 718.203, as follows: “(1) the defendant is a supplier of materials to a condominium; (2) the materials failed to conform to the generally accepted standards of merchantability applicable to goods of that kind, or materials failed to conform to the requirements specified in the contract; and (3) the failure of the goods to conform was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages.” The court then focused on the term supplier and manufacturer within the purview of Section 718.203. The court noted that neither supplier nor manufacturer were defined in Chapter 718 and therefore, referenced Black’s Law Dictionary which defines a supplier as “‘a person engaged, directly or indirectly, in the business of making a product available to consumers,'” and “‘a manufacturer as a person or entity engaged in producing or assembling new products.'” The appellate court also addressed Harbor Landing and deduced that it did not establish a rule automatically exempting a manufacturer from Section 718.203(2) warranties.

The court then reviewed the sufficiency of the complaint and agreed with the lower court that merely alleging that the manufacturer entered into a contract with the roofing subcontractor was not enough, and that pleading that the manufacturer “owes a duty to exercise reasonable care in “‘supplying”” the material was insufficient to establish that the manufacturer was a supplier pursuant to Section 718.203(2). Although the appellate court agreed with the trial court that the complaint was deficient, it concluded that the association should have been given leave to amend the complaint and thus, reversed the trial court’s ruling. Accordingly, the association was given another opportunity to properly assert its action for statutory warranties pursuant to Section 718.203(2) against the roofing manufacturer.

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