Author: Sommer Horton, P.A.

All I Want for Christmas is to Finalize My Divorce

     LAWYERS BEWARE…….If you’ve been representing someone in a knock-down, drag-out, decade-long divorce action, with no end in sight, it’s understandable that you’d be a frustrated.   While some attorneys prefer to write “nasty grams” to opposing counsel, here is a tip of what not to do! If you are considering writing a four-page, 60-line email riffing on a classic holiday poem and sending it to your client, the opposing counsel and the judge – DON’T DO IT! Recently, a New York attorney was disciplined for sending opposing counsel and the court “his version” of the epic poem Twas the...

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A “hot topic” for insurance carriers who underwrite construction defect policies is, when does the coverage come into effect, or “trigger” coverage, thereby causing the Carrier’s duty to defend and/or indemnity the insured? There are different legal theories on triggering, as follows: 1.              The Injury-In-Fact Trigger of coverage theory provides that the occurrence of actual damage creates the Carrier’s duty to defend. 2.             The Manifestation Trigger Theory provides that when damage manifests itself, (or is discovered or discoverable), at this point, the Carrier’s duty to defend is created or triggered. In the construction defect context, these theories can have different results as to whether a Carrier has a duty to defend the insured. For example, a Carrier would have a duty to defend the insured if the damage “occurred” during the policy period but was not “manifested” or discovered until after the policy period under the Injury-In-Fact theory.  However, under the Manifestation Theory – there would be no duty to defend because the damage was not discovered until after the policy period expired There is no Florida Supreme Court ruling as to which theory applies in Florida.  However, it is my professional opinion that the Florida Supreme Court will likely hold that the Injury-In-Fact trigger theory will apply.  My opinion is based upon a case rendered by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in...

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Don’t Walk the Plank Alone… Do You Know How to Protect Your Boat From a Maritime Lien and a Forced Sale? Don’t be bamboozled by poorly drafted and unfair contracts …..At the Horton Law Group, P.A. we will fight for you until the Bitter End! Did you know that every time you sign a contract for services to be performed on your boat – you may subject your boat to a “Maritime Lien”? A Maritime Lien gives a provider of fuel, repair services, storage…etc., AN AUTOMATIC LIENon the ship to which the services were provided. By automatic – I...

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BAD DOG! Dealing With A Dangerous Dog!

Are you a Landlord? Are you a Homeowner? Are you a Dog Owner? If so – BEWARE – you may be liable if your dog or  your tenant’s dog BITES someone! Florida statutory laws on dangerous dogs and dog bites/attacks are complex. Below, is a brief summary of those laws so that you can attempt to avoid liability and/or in the alternative, you will know what you should do if you find yourself in an “unfortunate dog bite situation!”  An owner is defined as “any person or company that possesses, keeps or has custody or control of the dog.” That’s right, in addition to the actual dog owner being liable, a landlord may be held liable for damages caused by a tenant’s dog if the landlord was aware of the proclivity or history of the dog’s viciousness or if they fail to enforce “no dog” clauses in lease or rent agreements. Did you know that approximately 62% of homeowners have dogs? Florida Statute 767.04 imposes strict liability upon dog owners for a bite that causes injury to a human being. The statute provides in part: The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten,...

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Timing is Everything When It Comes to Florida Construction Defects Cases

So you found something wrong, (a defect), with the construction on your property. Now what? From the discovery of the defect – the steps you take as the “commercial property owner” or the “residential property owner” to preserve all available evidence and claims against the responsible parties are of paramount importance. Florida law has tedious notice requirements that must be given to the potential defendant before the property owner can file lawsuit for construction related defects. Often times, the required crucial steps that MUST be taken before the suit can be filed, are not known by the property owner....

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