NACM South Atlantic Advocates for Your Florida Construction Lien Rights!

By: Barry Kalmanson, Esq.

When NACM South Atlantic heard about the plight of a Florida lienor, they decided to take immediate action. The lienor, Pritchett Trucking, Inc., delivered its construction lien in the amount of $118,288.83 and recording fee to the Duval County Clerk of Court within 90 days of its last furnishing of services to the project in accordance with section 713.08(5), Florida Statutes. The Duval County Clerk of Court recorded the construction lien in the public records seven (7) days later, thus making Pritchett Trucking’s construction lien untimely and unenforceable.

Pritchett Trucking sued the Duval County Clerk of Court to require that the Clerk re-record the construction lien with the correct recording date (the date the construction lien was delivered to the Clerk with the recording fee). More specifically, in accordance with Florida law, the Clerk of the Court is required to record documents when presented and upon payment of the recording fee. The Duval County Circuit Court Judge agreed with Pritchett Trucking and required the Clerk of Court to record a copy of the construction lien, together with the final judgment of the court, as a single document to confirm the date of delivery of the construction lien as the recording date.

On July 13, 2020, the Duval County Clerk of Court appealed the trial court ruling to the First District Court of Appeal. On October 16, 2020, the Florida Association of Court Clerks, Inc. d/b/a/ Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers filed a motion in the appeal to be permitted to file an amicus curiae brief to support the position of the Duval County Clerk of Court. An amicus curiae brief is a legal document filed with an appellate court by a person or entity who is not part of a legal case, but supports one of the sides in the case. Realizing the importance of this issue to the Florida construction industry, NACM South Atlantic retained legal counsel that filed a motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief to support the position of Pritchett Trucking. On October 26, 2020, the attached motion was filed with the First District Court of Appeal, which was granted on November 3, 2020 and permitted NACM South Atlantic to participate in the appellate court proceedings. NACM South Atlantic’s amicus curiae appellate brief will be filed before the end of November 2020. Stay tuned for further updates on this important issue.

Barry KalmansonMr. Kalmanson has concentrated his practice in the construction industry for more than 30 years. His emphasis is on the representation of subcontractors and materialmen. He has represented parties in thousands of construction lien, payment bond actions and construction payment disputes. In addition to being a licensed attorney and a State of Florida certified building contractor for more than 30 years, Mr. Kalmanson served as Chairman of the State of Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board pursuant to a gubernatorial appointment and Senate confirmation. He also served as a subject matter expert composing construction lien law test questions for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s construction licensure examinations. He is a frequent lecturer on the Construction Lien Law and has published numerous articles and a book on the subject.

This information presents the general scheme of Florida’s Construction Lien Law as of November 2020. The Construction Lien Law is constantly being amended; therefore, this material should not be relied upon in place of experienced legal advice in specific situations. This material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without written permission from Barry Kalmanson, Esq.