Florida Senate - 2019                                    SB 1246
       By Senator Wright
       14-01462A-19                                          20191246__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to construction defects; amending s.
    3         558.001, F.S.; revising legislative findings;
    4         providing applicability; amending s. 558.002, F.S.;
    5         deleting terms; creating s. 558.0045, F.S.; providing
    6         applicability; requiring courts to require parties in
    7         actions involving construction defects to take part in
    8         nonbinding arbitration; providing requirements for the
    9         arbitration; requiring an arbitrator to include
   10         certain information in his or her award if he or she
   11         makes certain findings; authorizing parties to agree
   12         to be bound by the arbitration award; authorizing a
   13         party that does not agree to be bound by the award to
   14         proceed with certain actions; providing construction;
   15         requiring a jury verdict and a final judgment to
   16         contain specified information in certain proceedings;
   17         specifying that claims against certain parties are
   18         subject to certain mandatory nonbinding arbitration;
   19         providing applicability relating to insureds and
   20         insurance carriers; repealing s. 558.003, F.S.,
   21         relating to action and compliance; repealing s.
   22         558.004, F.S., relating to notice and opportunity to
   23         repair; repealing s. 558.005, F.S., relating to
   24         contract provisions and applicability; providing an
   25         effective date.
   27  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   29         Section 1. Section 558.001, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   30  read:
   31         558.001 Legislative findings and declaration.—The
   32  Legislature finds that it is beneficial to have an effective and
   33  cost-efficient alternative method to resolve construction
   34  disputes that would reduce the need for litigation as well as
   35  protect the rights of property owners. An effective alternative
   36  dispute resolution mechanism in certain construction defect
   37  matters should involve the claimant and the filing a notice of
   38  claim with the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design
   39  professional that the claimant asserts is responsible for the
   40  defect, and should provide the claimant and the contractor,
   41  subcontractor, supplier, or design professional, and the insurer
   42  of the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design
   43  professional, with an opportunity to resolve the claim through
   44  meaningful arbitration of the claim confidential settlement
   45  negotiations without resort to extended litigation. This chapter
   46  does not preclude resolution of claims through settlement
   47  negotiations further legal process.
   48         Section 2. Subsections (2), (4), and (9) of section
   49  558.002, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   50         558.002 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
   51         (2) “Association” has the same meaning as in s. 718.103(2),
   52  s. 719.103(2), s. 720.301(9), or s. 723.075.
   53         (4) “Completion of a building or improvement” means
   54  issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whether temporary or
   55  otherwise, that allows for occupancy or use of the entire
   56  building or improvement, or an equivalent authorization issued
   57  by the governmental body having jurisdiction. In jurisdictions
   58  where no certificate of occupancy or equivalent authorization is
   59  issued, the term means substantial completion of construction,
   60  finishing, and equipping of the building or improvement
   61  according to the plans and specifications.
   62         (9) “Service” means delivery by certified mail with a
   63  United States Postal Service record of evidence of delivery or
   64  attempted delivery to the last known address of the addressee,
   65  by hand delivery, or by delivery by any courier with written
   66  evidence of delivery.
   67         Section 3. Section 558.0045, Florida Statutes, is created
   68  to read:
   69         558.0045 Construction defect litigation; special
   70  requirements.—
   71         (1) This section applies to all actions involving
   72  construction defects, including civil suits and arbitrations.
   73         (2) In any action involving construction defects, the court
   74  shall require that the parties take part in nonbinding
   75  arbitration. Such arbitration must be conducted in accordance
   76  with chapter 682, except as otherwise provided in this section.
   77  The mandatory arbitration must take place once all proper
   78  parties have been joined in the action, but not later than 180
   79  days after the action is brought.
   80         (3) If the arbitrator finds in favor of a claimant as to
   81  one or more parties on the construction defect claim, the award
   82  must include a detailed description of the nature of the defect
   83  and of the monetary amount awarded against each separate party,
   84  including the monetary amount of the award attributable to each
   85  of the following:
   86         (a) Repairing or replacing the party’s own defective work.
   87         (b) Repairing or replacing other nondefective property
   88  damaged by that party’s defective work.
   89         (c) Other damages being awarded against the party.
   90         (4) Any party to the arbitration may agree in writing to be
   91  bound by the arbitration award as to claims between the parties.
   92  Such election to be bound must be exercised within 30 days after
   93  the arbitration award. If a party does not agree to be bound by
   94  the arbitration award, such party may proceed with the civil
   95  action on the unresolved portions of the claim. This chapter may
   96  not be construed to preclude a partial settlement or compromise
   97  of the claim as agreed to by the parties before or after the
   98  arbitration.
   99         (5) With regard to any parties who do not agree to be bound
  100  by the arbitration and who proceed to trial in the action, the
  101  jury verdict and final judgment must include a detailed
  102  description of the nature of the defect and of the monetary
  103  amount awarded against each separate party, including the
  104  monetary amount of the award attributable to each of the
  105  following:
  106         (a) Repairing or replacing the party’s own defective work.
  107         (b) Repairing or replacing other nondefective property
  108  damaged by that party’s defective work.
  109         (c) Other damages being awarded against the party.
  110         (6) Any claims against parties joined after the 180-day
  111  period set forth in subsection (2) are also subject to mandatory
  112  nonbinding arbitration under subsections (2) and (3).
  113         (7) This chapter does not affect the rights and duties of
  114  insureds and insurance carriers under their policies, but any
  115  defense, with or without a reservation of rights, provided by an
  116  insurer to a party, including any party asserting additional
  117  insured status, in proceedings subject to this chapter and in
  118  any action involving a construction defect applies only to the
  119  scope of work of its named insured.
  120         Section 4. Section 558.003, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  121         Section 5. Section 558.004, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  122         Section 6. Section 558.005, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  123         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.