This popular and outstanding program is brought to you this year on demand.
Please note: These materials may take 4-6 weeks for delivery
Hard Copy Materials: https://member.floridabar.org/CPBase__item?id=a101R00000G7xTqQAJ
The RPPTL tent was one of the most popular and well attended at the South Florida Legal Mentoring Picnic held on February 1, 2020. It was a great opportunity for networking, enjoying outdoor activities, inviting other attorneys and law students to join both RPPTL.
A BIG thank you to Gary Singer (BAREC Past President), Robyn Marcus, Jacqueline Revis, Nina Butrim, Michael Spoliansky, Cristina Morales, Andrew Dinnerstein and Massimo Reboa who enthusiastically volunteered their time to promote the amazing resources the Section offers to its members.
The Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar held its well-attended Affiliate Outreach Conference on January 10-11, 2020 in Tampa.
Photos from a very successful Lunch n Learn event at Florida International University College of Law on November 5 where approximately 20 students came to learn about the path to a practice in Real Property and Probate and Trust. Sylvia Rojas was the coordinator as well as speaker. Also speaking were Eddy Leal and Marjorie Wolasky.
From left to right on the are Eddy Leal, Jacob Quinlan, Elizabeth Carrera, Gabriel Diaz, Silvia Rojas, Marjorie Wolasky.
RPPTL Section Convention 2019
WE RAISED OVER $40,000!!!
Read more in the Florida Bar News
Thank you to the following RPPTL members who visited Ave Maria School of Law yesterday to meet with students. See the photos. Moderator:
Michael Sneeringer, Senior Associate, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur
Robert L. Lancaster, Principal, Cummings & Lockwood
Lisa Van Dien, General Counsel, London Bay Homes
Noelle Melanson, Shareholder, Melanson Law PA
The Constitutional Revision Commission’s Final Report proposed to the citizens of the State eight sets of revisions to the Florida Constitution. The proposed revisions are scheduled to be on the next General Election Ballot, November 6, 2018. A proposed revision requires approval of sixty percent of the votes cast for the proposal. Fla. Const. Art. XI, §5(e)
Voters will look to lawyers for guidance as to the proposals. Please review the proposals so that you can provide that guidance, and understand how these proposals are important to all Florida citizens, not the least Florida lawyers, and in particular members of the Real Property and Probate Law Section of The Florida Bar and their clients. Changes to the Florida Constitution, Florida’s fundamental source of law after the Federal Constitution, impact our clients, and thus our practices.
After holding public hearings around the state to solicit citizen input the Commissioners filed 103 proposals for consideration. During open meetings at the State Capital, and a second series of public hearings around the State, the number of proposals was reduced, dropping many that were of concern to the Section. Proposals that did not survive the process included a revision to the homestead protection against forced sale, and to disability law thresholds. Surviving proposals were refined, somewhat.
Unlike Florida legislation which is required to embrace a single subject, the Commission’s proposals have no similar restraint. At least five proposed revisions contain varied subjects. The impact of grouping disparate subjects may create unusual dynamics as election day approaches.
Below are links to each proposed Revision as numbered and titled by the Commission. The Commission’s titles may be perceived as too narrow and incomplete; thus, I have supplied bullet summaries which are intended to be short, concise and non-partisan. The ballot will contain Commission approved summaries which are included in the Final Report.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL REVISIONS
Revision 1: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
Revision 2: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Revision 3: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
Revision 4: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
Revision 5: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
Revision 6: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
Revision 7: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Revision 8: Ends Dog Racing
Michael J. Gelfand
Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate Attorney
Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator:
Civil Circuit Court & Civil County Court
Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
Gelfand & Arpe, P.A.
"Assisting Communities to Efficiently Reach Goals"
1555 Tower, Suite 1220
1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.bb
West Palm Beach Florida 33401-2329
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke
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MIAMI - DADE AMENDS COUNTY CODE
Recently, the Board of County Commissioners approved ordinance 18-12 amending section 18-20.2of the Miami | Dade County Code. The new ruling calls for the seller to disclose whether the property is within one of Miami | Dade County’s 1,070 Special Taxing Districts. The seller must include speci?c language on the instrument conveying property (the deed) and have the purchaser sign it.
EXAMPLE - I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT I UNDERSTAND THAT THE PROPERTY WHICH IS THE SUBJECT OF THIS TRANSACTION IS LOCATED WITHIN _____ SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICT CREATED BY MIAMI- DADE COUNTY (OR PROPOSED TO THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS) FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS AND SERVICES IN THE NATURE OF _____. _______________________ Signature of Purchaser
The enforcement of this new ruling is set to begin May 17, 2018. However, there has been no clear outline as to what the penalty will be for non-compliance. Included in the new changes, the buyer will now be required to sign the deed acknowledging the disclosure. It is also unclear as to whether any liability would fall upon the title agent executing the closing should the seller not disclose the required information prior to the sale.
Catching up on holiday reading, the Supreme Court of Florida’s decision on Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Company, Case No. SC16-1420, 42 Florida Law Weekly S 960 (Fla. December 14, 2017), may seem to focus on narrow issues but is jam packed with tidbits for the office practitioner and the litigator whether your practice is limited to community association law, or a broader civil practice. Drawing our attention are the four opinions issued.
The opinion of a majority, four responded to the request from United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The Supreme Court rephrased the certified question as follows:
Is the notice and repair process set forth in chapter 558, Florida Statutes, a “suit” within the meaning of the commercial general liability policy issued by C&F to Altman?
Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co., 832 F.3d 1318, 1326 (11th Cir. 2016). The court answered yes:
… because the chapter 558 presuit process is an “alternative dispute resolution proceeding” as included in the policy’s definition of “suit.”
The facts may appear pedestrian. Sapphire Condominium provided Altman numerous Chapter 558 notices of claim from April 2012 through November 2012 claiming over 800 defects. In January 2013 Altman provided its insurer Crum & Forster (“C&F”) notice of the claims and a demand for coverage. C&F declined to defend asserting that the notices did not constitute a “suit” under the policy.
Altman retained its own counsel. In August 2013 C&F provided a reservation of rights letter and C&F retained counsel to defend Altman. Altman objected to new counsel and demanded that Altman’s original counsel continue and that C&F reimburse for the expense of its counsel. Ultimately, Altman settled all of the claims, the Association not filing a lawsuit.
Altman filed a declaratory judgement action against C&F resulting in the District Court finding no policy ambiguity on the issue of coverage, denying Altman’s motion for partial summary judgment and granting C&F’s motion for partial summary judgment. Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co.,124 F. Supp. 3d 1272, 1275 (S.D. Fla. 2015).
Construing Chapter 558 Fla. Stat. (2012), in context of the policy, the court then quoted from the policy which defines a “suit” as not just a complaint filed in court:
“Suit” means a civil proceeding in which damages because of “bodily injury,” “property damage” or “personal and advertising injury” to which this insurance applies are alleged. “Suit” includes:
a. An arbitration proceeding in which such damages are claimed and to which the insured must submit or does submit with our consent; or
b. Any other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in which such damages are claimed and to which the insured submits with our consent.
Ultimately focusing on the “other alternative dispute resolution proceedings” language, and relying in part on Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition as “[a] procedure for settling a dispute by means other than litigation” the court held that the Chapter 558 proceedings fall under the policy’s definition of a “suit.”
On the path to this conclusion, the Court engaged in a number of interesting discussions. Harkening back to the Court’s decision in Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. v. Phillips, 126 So. 3d 186 (Fla. 2013) the Court revisited what constitutes a “civil proceeding.” Referring to only the statutory text, a “chapter 558 notice and repair process cannot be considered a “civil proceeding” because the process is voluntary, does not involved in adjudicatory body, or produce legally binding results.
The Court noted that §558.001 Fla. Stat. was amended to add that the benefits of the Act were extended to …. “the insurer of the contractor, sub-contractor, supplier, or design professional with the opportunity to resolve the claim through confidential settlement negotiations without resort to further legal process….” (Ch. 2015-165, § 1, Laws of Fla.). The Court did not comment that while insurers were provided an “opportunity” to participate, the statute does not expressly require the insurer to participate. The opinion does not comment as to why the legislature may have amended the law.
The Court was somewhat fractured. Four opinions were provided. A clear majority joined the courts opinion. Justice Lewis provided a concurrence and Justice Pariente separately provided concurring and descending opinions, as did Justice Lawson. These minority opinions considered whether the underlying policy provided coverage for the claim an issue that the majority opinion sidestepped when focusing only on the duty to defend.
How will this decision affect the community association, and likely other practitioners? This will focus on whether initiation of alternate dispute resolution processes such as, for example, mandatory pre-suit mediation provided by §718.311 Fla. Stat. trigger a duty to defend? This issue will send practitioners to review client’s policies.
What else? Of course, consider that the decision will provide insurers an impetus for insurers re-write their policies definition of a “suit.” Until then, consider what other ADR processes may trigger a duty to defend, of course depending upon your client’s policy provisions.
Thank you to Scott Pence, Chair of the RPPTL Insurance and Surety Committee for providing a heads up concerning the decision. For those that address insurance issues, you should consider joining the Insurance Committee. Check it out at www.rpptl.org.
Be certain to sign up for the Real Property and the Condominium certification review seminars scheduled in Orlando for February 9th and 10th.
Belated good wishes to all for a successful, healthy and positive new year.
Michael J. GelfandPast ChairReal Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida BarClick www.RPPTL.com for Breaking NewsAbout Florida’s Largest Substantive Law Section!Note: This article is not legal advice. Statements and comments made are not those of The Florida Bar or the RPPTL Section© 2018 Michael J. Gelfand
Michael J. GelfandFlorida Bar Board Certified Real Estate AttorneyFlorida Supreme Court Certified Mediator:Civil Circuit Court & Civil County CourtFellow, American College of Real Estate Attorneys
Attached is Chief Justice Larbarga’s Administrative Order, No. AOSC17-46, announcing the closure of all court’s statewide on Friday, and a corresponding extension of most time limits for deadlines falling from the close of business on Thursday, September 7, 2017, until the close of business on Monday, September 11, 2017.
Note that most firms in south Florida will be closed Friday, and many for a good portion of on Thursday.
May all who are the path of the storm find safe shelter, fortitude and calm. May everyone find patience and understanding.
Michael J. GelfandPast ChairReal Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida BarClick www.RPPTL.org for Breaking NewsAbout Florida’s Largest Substantive Law Section!Note: This article is not legal advice. Statements and comments made are not those of The Florida Bar or the RPPTL Section© 2017 Michael J. Gelfand
On Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar was again a sponsor of the Kozyak Foundation's Annual Minority Mentoring Picnic (the "MMP"), held at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah, Florida. The MMP is the Kozyak Foundation's premiere event and gives every law student, lawyer, or judge who attends the opportunity to connect with or serve as a mentor or mentee, supporting the Foundation's goal of mentoring as a means to foster diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
The Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar is dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Hung Nguyen and Jesse Friedman co-chaired the RPPTL Section's sponsorship of the MMP. Section members helped make the event a true success by volunteering of their time and energy at the RPPTL tent. At the RPPTL tent, attendees were able to learn about the benefits of the Section and upcoming meetings, meet RPPTL members, join the Section, take away recent issues of ActionLine and other fun Section-branded goodies, and most importantly - engage in mentorship. This year's 13th Annual MMP and the Section's involvement was the most successful yet!
The RPPTL Section recently formed a bicycle club bicycle rides at upcoming Executive Council meetings. Both causal and experienced cyclists are invited to join in on the fun. Custom Riding Reptile bike jerseys are available for order now!
Are you a cyclist? Wanna try?
Marty Solomon and others have formed the RPPTL Riding Reptiles Bicycle Club, and you are invited to join for FREE. The club will work to organize bike rentals and bike routes at upcoming Executive Council meetings.Don’t feel like wearing spandex? Not a problem. There will be groups and ride routes for normal people who just want to go for a ride, as well as the Mike “Big Ring” Bedke die-hard group. The point is, this is an opportunity to ride in new cities with friends at your own pace. We are going to start with Deb Goodall’s Austin meeting. If you are interested in participating, please RESIST THE URGE TO RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL and email Marty at email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.If you are a cyclist, you will definitely want to purchase the custom Riding Reptile jersey that Marty designed. You can view the logo on the attachment and purchase your jersey from the link below within the next 20 days. Orders should be delivered by March 9, unfortunately not in time for the Austin rides.. You can view the logo on the attachment and purchase your jersey from the link below within the next 20 days. Orders should be delivered by March 9, unfortunately not in time for the Austin rides.
Your online store is ready for ordering at: http://shop.jakroo.com/RPPTL-Reptiles
When does a local government ordinance become a restrictive covenant that is subject to being extinguished through application of the Marketable Record Title Act, Florida Statute section 712.01 et. seq.? That was the question in Save Calusa Trust v. St. Andrews Holdings, Ltd., 193 So. 3d 910 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016), where the Third District Court of Appeal held that a restrictive covenant imposed by government as part of development order is not subject to and cannot be extinguished by the Marketable Record Title Act.
This case begins in 1967 when a developer sought to create a golf-course in Miami-Dade County. The real property was zoned General Use (“GU”), which did not permit a golf course, so the developer sought and obtained an “unusual use” that same year with the County's Zoning Appeals Board (“ZAB”) adopted a resolution with the condition that a restrictive covenant be recorded that limit the future use of the property to a golf course. This first developer sold to a second developer who, in fact, recorded a restrictive covenant as follows:
The aforedescribed property may only be used for the following purposes:
A golf course and for the operation of a country club which may include a clubhouse, pro shop, locker rooms, swimming pools, cabanas, liquor, beer and wine facilities, dining room facilities, parking, tennis courts, putting greens, golf driving ranges and all other uses incidental thereto.
These restrictions shall continue for a period of ninety-nine years unless released or revised by the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Dade, State of Florida, or its successors with the consent of 75% of the members of the corporation owning the aforedescribed property and those owners within 150 feet of the exterior boundaries of the aforedescribed property.
“[t]hat restrictive covenants running with the land in proper covenant form, meeting with the approval of the Zoning Director, be recorded to ensure that the golf course be perpetually maintained as such....”
Save Calusa, 193. So. 3d at 912.
The property was developed as a golf course, and a “ring” of 140 homes were built around the golf course. These owners in the “ring” paid no dues for the maintenance of the golf course and did not otherwise maintain the course. Id. at 912 – 23. This arrangement stayed in place until the golf course closed in 2011. A later developer sought to re-develop the golf course, and to no one’s surprise, failed to get 75% of the “ring” homeowners to approve the proposed change. Accordingly, the county refused to let the newest developer change the zoning of the parcel. Id at 913. This litigation followed.
Rather than filing an administrative challenge to the county’s decision, the owner of the now defunct golf-course filed suit seeking to invalidate the deed restriction under the Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA) and joined the “ring” homeowners and the county. The trial court entered a detailed summary judgment finding for the developer that the restrictive covenants were barred by MRTA. The homeowners and the county appealed to the Third District.
The Third District reversed and held that the use restrictions were exempt from MRTA:
While we are not unsympathetic to Owner's arguments, we cannot so readily divorce the covenant from the governmental approval process that spawned it. The record reflects that ZAB's approval of Developer's unusual use application for the golf course acreage was final administrative agency action. ZAB's unusual use approval was not a recommendation to the County Commission, but rather, a final approval conditioned on the recordation of the restrictive covenant. The record clearly reflects that the ZAB Resolution imposed a condition that a restrictive covenant be generated and recorded. As the unusual use approval was final as of August 16, 1967, the date of the ZAB Resolution, so was the prescribed restrictive covenant. That the Developer's successor took seven months to record the restrictive covenant is of no significance.
Id. at 915.
In other words, the Third District held the fact that the restrictive covenant arose out of the governmental approval process imbued it with the ability to withstand extinguishment under MRTA since it was now a government regulation. This decision has created a great deal of concern among some because almost all planned subdivision restrictions are created through a “governmental approval process” and could conceivably be exempt from MRTA. The concern is that MRTA is intended to clear land titles and there should be no exceptions to its extinguishment provisions other than those specifically set forth in the statute. Moreover, the Save Calusa opinion contains some imprecise language that restrictive covenants imposed by government do not constitute defects in marketable, a position rejected by most real estate practitioners. The landowners sought discretionary review in the Florida Supreme Court, but its petition was rejected.
It remains to be seen whether Save Calusa Street will be a “one-off” opinion that is limited to its facts, or whether later courts will adopt its view that government-approved restrictive covenants as being exempt from MRTA’s extinguishment provisions. Real estate practitioners are cautioned to be aware of the case and its facts as it has created uncertainty in the application of MRTA.