News

Homeowners Receive Full Amount of Estimate In Arbitration Against Taylor Morrison

BWR attorneys Matthew L. Wilson and Joshua M. Zudar recently successfully prosecuted a difficult stucco case on behalf of two homeowners.  Time after time, the homeowners called Taylor Morrison and time after time Taylor Morrison either ignored them or told them that the issue was one of simple maintenance.  Taylor Morrison, the builder, vigorously defended the case and put on experts to testify that the damages alleged by the homeowner’s experts were unreasonable.  Taylor Morrison not only disputed the amount of the damages, but argued that one side of the home did not need to be repaired at all because there was little visible damage to that side of the home.  After a full arbitration hearing, the arbitrator rejected Taylor Morrison’s expert’s opinions on damages and agreed that the amount proposed by the homeowner’s expert was an appropriate figure and that all sides of the home containing stucco should be torn off and replaced. This marks the second time within the last few months that builders have been forced to pay for an all-sides repair.  An arbitration award in August 2016 against a different builder resulted in an arbitration award that contemplated a replacement of stucco to all four sides of that home.  Mr. Wilson commented, “It simply doesn’t make economic sense most of the time for builders to contest these stucco cases in a full-blown arbitration hearing.  Most of the time, the homeowners are incredibly reasonable and simply want to resolve their cases, often at a slight discount from the full asking price, just so that they can get finality and repair their homes.  For builders to spend tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys and experts just doesn’t make any sense.  The case can be...

Matthew L. Wilson Speaks About Stucco Issues at Continuing Legal Education Course

Burnett Wilson Reeder (“BWR”) shareholder Matthew L. Wilson gave a presentation on January 17, 2017, at a Live Video Webcast, “Water Intrusion/Construction Defect Claims,” put on by the Florida Bar Continuing Law Education Committee and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.  The “webinar” focused on stucco claims and included points of view of homeowners’ counsel and builders’ counsel.   Mr. Wilson’s presentation, titled “Water Intrusion Claims from the Plaintiff’s Perspective,” analyzed everything from the very inception of a stucco case all the way through the arbitration proceeding or trial.  The program had a variety of impressive speakers including Derek Valkenburg, Esq. of Shutts & Bowen, Kim Ashby, Esq. of Foley & Lardner and Cary Wright, Esq. of Carlton Fields. Over the last several years, the lawyers at BWR have been at the forefront of this emerging area of law.  Though construction defect statutes have been in place since 2003, there is an incredible lack of developed law in this area.  During Mr. Wilson’s presentation, he discussed some of the issues that attorneys have to contend with both on the plaintiff’s side and on the defense side. The lawyers at Burnett Wilson Reeder are focused on helping homeowners who are experiencing issues with stucco.  BWR has become a leader in the legal community in prosecuting stucco claims on behalf of homeowners.  BWR attorneys have conducted numerous arbitration hearings, have filed numerous appellate briefs and have argued in front of appellate courts in support of homeowners. If you or someone you know has stucco issues, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Burnett Wilson Reeder.  The initial consultation is always free and if we accept your case, we will do so on a contingency basis so that you will not have to...

Florida Supreme Court Clears Path to Jury Trials for Subsequent Purchasers

The Florida Supreme Court today issued a potential game-changing opinion for subsequent purchasers of homes today in the case of Mendez v. Hampton Court Nursing Center, LLC, 41 Fla. L. Weekly S394a (September 22, 2016).  Until now, the law has largely been believed to be that those who are not original homeowners are still bound by arbitration clauses in the original contracts because a “benefit” was bestowed upon them in the form of a limited warranty.  While many attorneys argued against this inequity in construction defect cases, most courts have compelled subsequent purchasers to arbitration, holding that subsequent purchasers were effectively bound by the original contracting parties because of the warranty “benefits” they received. In Mendez, the Court emphatically struck down such a notion.  While Mendez was a nursing home case, its impact should have far-reaching implications, including construction defect cases.  The language in Mendez is unequivocal that a non-contracting party (i.e., a subsequent purchaser) is the party who gets to enforce a benefit, not the other way around.   “Critically, the third party beneficiary doctrine enables a non-contracting party to enforce a contract against a contracting party — not the other way around.  See, e.g., Espinosa v. Sparber, Shevin, Shapo, Rosen & Heilbronner, 612 So. 2d 1378, 1380 (Fla. 1993);  Shingleton v. Bussey, 223 So. 2d 713, 715 (Fla. 1969).  The third-party beneficiary doctrine does not permit two parties to bind a third — without the third party’s agreement — merely by conferring a benefit on the third party.” Undoubtedly, there will be arguments raised that Mendez does not apply to construction defect cases, but such an argument does not appear to have much support based on...

Taylor Morrison Demands Arbitration Against Itself And Then Denies All Claims

Tampa, FL –  The late Yogi Berra once famously said, “When you see a fork in the road, take it.”  Taylor Morrison Services, Inc. (“Taylor Morrison”) has apparently taken Mr. Berra’s advice and demanded arbitration against itself.  As a bit of background, Ramon Vargas and Solange Matos purchased a home from Taylor Morrison several years ago in Ruskin, FL.  Within the last few years, the stucco on the home has begun to crack, become warped and has progressively gotten so severe that the stucco is at risk of completely falling off the home.  Earlier this year, Joshua Zudar of the firm Burnett Wilson Reeder filed suit on Mr. Vargas’ and Ms. Matos’ behalf in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against Taylor Morrison alleging that the builder violated the Florida Building Code when constructing their home. A circuit court judge ruled that a clause in the plaintiffs’ 10-year structural warranty required arbitration of the matter.  Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos were in the process of appealing that ruling to the Second District Court of Appeal when Taylor Morrison decided to take matters into its own hands and demand arbitration against itself.  Using the Complaint filed by Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos in the lawsuit, Taylor Morrison paid the arbitration filing fee and alleged that it had violated the Florida Building Code and breached the underlying sales contract.  Incredibly, a few days later, Taylor Morrison responded to its own demand for arbitration and denied all claims.  All the while, Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos have watched from the sidelines as Taylor Morrison has sparred with itself. In its answering statement, Taylor Morrison criticized itself for failing to...

Joshua Zudar Named Shareholder at Burnett Wilson Reeder

  We are proud to announce that Joshua M. Zudar has been named Shareholder at Burnett Wilson Reeder.  Mr. Zudar has worked tirelessly for homeowners over the years and has obtained excellent results on behalf of many different clients.  Having tried and arbitrated a number of important cases, Mr. Zudar has truly earned his status as Shareholder. Mr. Zudar is a Tampa native having graduated from Plant High School in 2000.  He then attended the University of Florida where he obtained a degree in Political Science in 2004.  In 2008, Mr. Zudar graduated from the South Texas College of Law.  Following his graduation from law school, Mr. Zudar went to work at Marshall Thomas Burnett helping homeowners prosecute claims against insurance companies.  In 2015, Mr. Zudar joined the firm of Burnett Wilson Reeder and has continued to fight for homeowners and other plaintiffs throughout the state of Florida. Mr. Zudar is an AV-Rated Preeminent Attorney on Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Please congratulate Mr. Zudar on this extraordinary...

Josh Burnett Talks Stucco Defects to NBC-2 News

Josh Burnett, co-founder of Burnett Wilson Reeder, recently sat down with NBC’s Ft. Myers affiliate NBC-2 News to discuss the stucco crisis in Florida.  While the story originated in Ft. Myers, NBC-2 News quickly learned that the stucco problem spreads far beyond the boundaries of Ft. Myers, reaching virtually every county in Florida where stucco has been applied over wood framing.  The story focuses on the time limitations imposed by the Legislature and serves as an alert to all who have purchased homes built within the last 10 years.  If you have stucco issues and your home was built within the last 10 years, do not hesitate to reach out to us. In addition to the timing issue, there are many other issues gripping homeowners who have suffered from shoddy stucco work.  The attorneys at Burnett Wilson Reeder are extremely familiar with the builders, builders’ litigation tactics and the multitude of issues facing homeowners.  Our firm has experienced Board Certified Civil Law trial attorneys to take on the builders.    If you have any questions about a potential stucco problem, please do not hesitate to call us.  Click the link below to watch the story....