Stucco Lawsuit – A big decision for any homeowner
Before any lawsuit can be filed in Florida, homeowners are required to go through a pre-suit procedure whereby the builder is formally put on notice of suspected defects. The purpose of this pre-suit period ostensibly is to work together with the builder to reach a common resolution quickly and inexpensively. Unfortunately, most builders have taken this period of time to either do nothing or simply prepare a defense strategy. There is rarely a give and take and most settlement offers are as bad as the initial stucco job.
Therefore, we are frequently left with no choice but to file either a lawsuit or file a demand for arbitration. Navigating the proper venue is no easy feat and sometimes it is better to proceed one way even if the other route is available to us. It has often been said that a person representing himself has a fool for a lawyer and that maxim is apt in the world of construction litigation. There are so many potential pitfalls that an experienced construction litigation attorney is essential.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of setting the legal landscape with respect to stucco cases. In 2006, BWR shareholder and co-founder Joshua Burnett was on the prevailing side of the case of Nunez v. Westfield Homes of Florida, Inc., 925 So. 2d 1108 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006), which held that the homeowner’s claims in that case were not subject to mandatory arbitration under the arbitration provision of the sales contract. BWR has continued the fight against unconscionable arbitration provisions in trial and appellate courts across Florida and has had success in several instances of keeping matters in court rather than being sent to arbitration.
Of course, some situations mandate going to arbitration, either based on the underlying sales contract or the wishes of the client. BWR has had success in several stucco arbitration proceedings resulting sometimes in significant awards for our clients. If a person is a fool for having himself as a lawyer in trial court, there is an even greater level of foolishness reserved for those who represent themselves in arbitration. The deck is stacked against homeowners in arbitration as the rules of evidence and civil procedure are generally suspended and the arbitrators often come from defense backgrounds. Thus, it takes a skilled and experienced advocate to represent homeowners in stucco arbitrations.
Ultimately, if your case is not subject to arbitration and you are unable to settle your case, you will end up before a jury. BWR has two board-certified civil trial attorneys – Matthew L. Wilson and M. Lee Reeder – ready to represent you should your case proceed to a jury trial. It is estimated that less than 1% of all attorneys in Florida are board certified as board certification status requires a requisite number of trials, peer endorsements, numerous continuing legal education courses and the passing of a difficult written examination.
In sum, if you end up having to litigate your case in court or arbitrate the matter before an arbitrator, you are in experienced and qualified hands at Burnett Wilson Reeder.Contact Us Now for a Free Consultation