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Gail is responsible for Henderson Franklin's marketing efforts, including advertising, branding, business and client development initiatives, budget planning, events, newsletters, press releases, seminars and sponsorships. She incorporates social media into legal marketing initiatives and assisted in the launch of the firm's three blogs, Southwest Florida Employment Law Blog and The Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate and The Florida Immigration Law Blog. Gail also guest blogs and speaks on the use of social media in professional services.

Guest post by Henderson Franklin’s Construction Chair, J. Matthew Belcastro, Esq.

HB911 is proposed legislation that would substantially revamp Ch. 558, Florida Statutes, by substantially doing away with pre-suit notice requirements and replace those requirements with mandatory non-binding arbitration to take place within 180 days of the lawsuit being filed.

Notably, the new provisions would apply not only to completed projects (like the current version) but also to ongoing projects.

Impact of HB911 on Florida Construction Defect Insurance Claims


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Guest post by Henderson Franklin’s Construction Chair, J. Matthew Belcastro, Esq.

If you have been in the business world for any reasonably length of time, or if you have leased property or entered into a contract for construction or remodeling, you have probably been a party to a contract that contains an indemnification provision.

Indemnification Provisions

The concept of the indemnification provision is generally very simple. If one contracting party (the indemnitee) becomes liable to a third party as a result of wrongful conduct on the part of the other contracting party (the indemnitor), the at fault party (the indemnitor) must compensate or indemnify the party who is not at fault.

Indemnification provisions are prevalent in construction contracts, independent contractor agreements, leases and other business arrangements where there is a possibility that one party might get sued as a result of someone else’s conduct.

The problem is that few people appreciate the significance of the indemnification provision or how it works and Florida courts have reached some decisions that would likely be surprising, if not shocking, to the uninitiated.

“I might have to pay because I’m potentially liable?”


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Guest post by Henderson Franklin’s Construction Chair, J. Matthew Belcastro, Esq.

5-4-2016 8-11-32 AMFreedom to contract is one of the cornerstones of our system of jurisprudence. As long as the subject of the contract is not illegal or contrary to an established public policy, we Americans can contract in just about any manner we wish.

Yet, all too often when disputes arise in connection with a construction project, we find parties who have no contract or (potentially worse) a contract which is not suitable for the nature of the project and/or the interests the parties wish to protect.

The construction industry is somewhat unique because of the wide range of potential parties and relationships involved in a project: owners/developers, general contractors, design professionals, subcontractors, materials suppliers, lenders, sureties, just to name a few. These numerous relationships make it all the more important to protect yourself with appropriate contractual provisions.


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On January 21, 2016, Certified Commercial Investment Members (“CCIM”), Southwest District, held its 16th Annual Commercial Real Estate Outlook Conference at the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Florida. The annual event was well attended and full of positive projections from local leaders regarding market trends for Southwest Florida’s real estate industry. Land Use Attorney Austin Turner and Real Estate Attorney Michael Lehnert attended and provide the following recap:

The Mayor’s Inside Look at Downtown Fort Myers

The program began with the City of Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson providing an “inside look” at downtown. He explained that our community is postured for many robust real estate opportunities in the next decade, such as the development of its urban infill areas. Mayor Henderson seemed confident that the real estate market, both on a statewide and local level, “is back.” He stated that Fort Myers has recently issued permits for private development that will result in $450 million invested into the downtown area. The Mayor also stated that Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW’s) new baseball stadium and potential basketball arena will positively influence the community’s youth.

The Macro Outlook of Florida’s Real Estate Market


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Wedding Rings with Gay Symbols.As the laws change, we strive to share how they will affect our clients and readers of this blog. Thus, we are pleased to share the following guest post by Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trust and Estate Planning Attorney Eric Gurgold.

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States, in Obergefell v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, in a five to four opinion ruled to allow same sex marriages in every state. The Court held that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize the marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. The Court said the 14th Amendment concepts of due process and equal protection require states to treat same sex couples the same as opposite sex couples with regard to the fundamental right of marriage. The ruling does not apply to civil unions or other arrangements where the couple is not lawfully married.

Effect on Homestead Provisions


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