After discovering a number of defects in their home, plaintiffs Hugh and Katherine Carithers filed suit against their homebuilder, Cronk Duch, in state court. Cronk Duch’s insurance company, Mid-Continent Casualty Company, refused to defend the action on behalf of Cronk Duch. The Carithers and Cronk Duch then entered into a consent judgment in the underlying action for approximately $90,000, in favor of the Carithers. The consent judgment also assigned to the Carithers Cronk Duch’s right to collect the judgment amount from Mid-Continent. The Carithers then filed this action against Mid-Continent in state court to collect from Mid-Continent on the settlement. Mid-Continent removed the case to the Middle District of Florida. The Carithers are the Plaintiffs in this action due to Cronk Duch’s assignment of its rights to them. The Fifth Circuit, after careful consideration, affirmed in part, and reversed in part, addressing a number of coverage issues related to damage from the completed house caused by the defective work of subcontractors. View "Carithers v. Mid-Continent Casualty Company" on Justia Law
Plaintiff filed suit against BHDR under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq., alleging that by failing to remedy certain flaws in the design and construction of the District Universal Boulevard Apartments (the District), BHDR discriminated against people with handicaps in violation of 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(1)-(2). The court held that the FHA's design-and-construction guidelines do not provide a standard for determining whether discrimination under section 3604(f)(1) and (f)(2) exists outside of the design and construction contexts. Despite the fact that BHDR was not involved in the design or construction of the District, all of plaintiff's claims that BHDR violated subsections (f)(1) and (f)(2) were alleged through the lens of the design-and-construction guidelines in subsection (f)(3). The court held that an FHA plaintiff cannot establish the discrimination of a defendant who was uninvolved in the design or construction of a dwelling by reference to the guidelines at section 3604(f)(3)(C). Therefore, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to BHDR. View "Harding v. Orlando Apartments, LLC, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Construction Law, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
TBW filed suit against several defendants, including HDR Engineering and Barnard Construction Company, alleging that HDR defectively designed TBW's reservoir and that Barnard defectively constructed it. The primary issue on appeal concerned the district court's decision to allow HDR to present evidence that Barnard caused the reservoir damage. The court held that, in the procedural posture of this case, the summary judgment granted to Barnard did not directly estop HDR from introducing evidence at trial that Barnard caused the damage; the district court's admission of certain expert testimony was not manifestly erroneous or an abuse of discretion; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying TBW's motion for leave to amend its complaint for a second time. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court and denied the motion to certify. View "Tampa Bay Water v. HDR Engineering, Inc." on Justia Law
In this interlocutory appeal, the Secretary appealed the district court's order granting Odebrecht a preliminary injunction barring the Department's enforcement of a Florida law known as the Cuba Amendment, 2012 Fla. Laws 196, section 2. The Amendment prevented any company that did business in Cuba - or that was in any way related to a company that did business in Cuba - from bidding on state or local public contracts in the State of Florida. The court concluded that Odebrecht has demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on its claim that the Cuba Amendment violated the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution under principles of conflict preemption; Odebrecht would have suffered irreparable harm absent the injunction; the balance of harms strongly favored the injunction; and the injunction did not disserve the public interest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Odebrecht Construction, Inc. v. Secretary, FL DOT" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Construction Law, Government Contracts, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States for the use and benefit of Postel Erection Group, L.L.C., et al v. Travelers Casualty and Surety, et al
Travelers moved to dismiss Postel's appeal of the district court's stay of Postel's lawsuit seeking payment from Travelers on a surety bond for work that it performed as a subcontractor. Postel brought its suit pursuant to the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. 3131 et seq. Travelers argued that Postel's appeal, which was not filed until fifty-five days after the district court's order, was untimely. Because Postel did not argue that the United States had any involvement in this case, but instead relied solely on the statutory requirement that it bring its Miller Act claim in the name of the United States, the court concluded that it was required to file its notice of appeal within thirty days under Rule 4(a)(1)(A). Accordingly, the court granted Travelers' motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "United States for the use and benefit of Postel Erection Group, L.L.C., et al v. Travelers Casualty and Surety, et al" on Justia Law
Well-Come sought a judgment declaring that it was an additional insured on a commercial general liability policy and an excess/umbrella liability policy allegedly issued to Flintlock, its contractor, on the apartment building project, by ASRRG and ASIS. Several third parties have brought tort actions against Well-Come and Flintlock in New York state court to recover damages they sustained as a result of the construction of Well-Come's apartment building. The court dismissed Well-Come's claims against Flintlock as well as Flintlock's counterclaims against Well-Come. With this dismissal, the court was satisfied that it had subject matter jurisdiction over Well-Come's appeal. To the extent that Well-Come claimed that it was in fact an additional insured under a Flintlock policy issued by ASRRG, Well-Come has failed to support this claim as alleged in the complaint. The district court should have disposed of Well-Come's claim with a statement that Well-Come failed to establish that ASRRG and ASIS issued a commercial general liability policy and excess/umbrella liability policy to Flintlock, as alleged in paragraphs 6 and 7 of its complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment on that ground. View "Flintlock Construction Serv., et al v. American Safety Risk Retention, et al" on Justia Law
IWC appealed the district court's judgment as a matter of law in favor of IDH. Hawaiian, a Florida condominium, contracted with IDH for roof repair. While IDH was conducting the repairs, a large stone veneer wall fell, causing damage to the condominium. Hawaiian's insurer, ICW, sued IDH for negligence. IDH alleged that the wall fell because it was structurally unsound. During trial, at the close of ICW's case, the district court granted IDH's motion for judgment as a matter of law, holding that no reasonable jury could find that IDH was negligent because ICW failed to present any evidence on the standard of care in the roofing industry. Without reaching the issue of whether roofers were "professionals" under Florida law, the court held that ICW was required to put forth some evidence of the standard of care in the roofing industry in order to meet its burden. Because ICW failed to do so, judgment as a matter of law was appropriate. Further, the specificity requirement in Rule 50(a)(2) did not bar the granting of judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Ins. Co. of the West v. Island Dream Homes, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Construction Law, Injury Law, Insurance Law, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
This appeal involved a fundamental misunderstanding about the enforcement of an injunction. The district court approved a settlement between defendant and a national class represented by plaintiffs, as part of its judgment, enjoined permanently "anyone claiming... for the benefit of" members of the class for prosecuting released claims. Movants opted out of the settlement of that class action, but continued to prosecute a putative class action against defendant in a California court. Instead of moving the district court to enforce its extant injunction, defendant then moved the district court to enter another injunction to bar movants from prosecuting their putative class action in the California court, under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 2283. The district court granted that motion and entered a second injunction, which movants now challenge on appeal. The court held that because the district court failed to comply with "equity's time-honored procedures" to enforce an injunction, the second injunction against movants was vacated and remanded for further proceedings.
Posted in: Class Action, Construction Law, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
This consolidated appeal arose from a contract dispute between Douglas Asphalt Company (Douglas) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) where GDOT had awarded Douglas two paving contracts to mill and resurface certain stretches of interstate highway. GDOT subsequently retained QORE, Inc., an engineering and materials testing company, to remove asphalt samples from the first project site and conduct tests to determine the samples' lime content. QORE retained, at GDOT's direction, Applied Technical Services, Inc. (ATS), to perform a test that GDOT developed, called an atomic absorption test. QORE and ATS sent the data that those tests produced to GDOT for its analysis and consideration and GDOT concluded from those data that the asphalt that Douglas had laid did not contain enough hydrated lime; GDOT then relied, in part, on those test results to justify its decision to place Douglas in default on both highway contracts. Douglas responded by filing this action against QORE, ATS, and several individual GDOT officials. On appeal, Douglas contended that the district court erred by dismissing its Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, claims and by granting summary judgment for QORE on its claims for defamation and negligence. ATS maintained that the district court erroneously failed to grant its motions for judgment as a matter of law on both the defamation and negligence claims. The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing Douglas's RICO claim and that QORE and ATS were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on both the defamation and negligence claims. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated the judgment against ATS, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of ATS.
Petitioner appealed the district court's order denying him habeas relief where a jury convicted him of first degree murder of a police officer and the trial court imposed a death sentence. At issue was whether the district court erred in denying petitioner relief on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase; denied petitioner relief on his claim that counsel failed to investigate and present more detailed mitigation evidence at the penalty phase; and determined that petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel of appellate counsel for failure to challenge the trial court's impartiality was barred from federal review. The court affirmed the judgment and held that the district court did not err in denying petitioner habeas relief on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase where counsel did not proffer a defense counsel could not support and where, even if petitioner could show that counsel were ineffective for failing to proffer a voluntary intoxication defense, petitioner could not demonstrate that counsel's deficient performance prejudiced him. The court also held that counsel did not fail to investigate and present more detailed mitigation evidence at the penalty phase where counsel made numerous attempts to secure a mental health expert and strategically decided not to present some of the mental health experts counsel consulted and where the penalty-phase jury was presented with identical evidence of the effects of long-term or continuous drug use that petitioner presented at the collateral hearing. The court further held that, because petitioner never raised his claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, the district court properly dismissed it.