The Restoration Association of Florida saw its lawsuit against state insurance officials dismissed by a county judge.
Leon County Judge J. Lee Marsh dismissed the constitutional challenge to the state’s newly passed insurance reform law. The measure, passed during a special session of the Florida legislature, prevents contractors who hold assignments of benefits from recovering their attorneys’ fees if they prevail against insurance companies.
In his opinion, Marsh said he dismissed the case because the two named respondents — the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and executive director of the state Construction Industry Licensing Board — were not the “proper defendants’ because they lacked authority over contractors.
"We are disappointed in the court's decision to abruptly dismiss this lawsuit without a thorough review of the facts and arguments presented,” said Richie Kidwell, president of Restoration Association of Florida. “It was wrong and we intend to appeal the decision."
The RFA was joined in this lawsuit by Air Quality Assessors LLC, an Orlando mold testing and leak detection firm. Both parties have filed an appeal.
The Association has another case pending in Leon County regarding a roof inspection requirement in the same insurance law. The RAF is joined in the suit by Florida Premier Roofing LLC.
A recent federal Circuit Court decisions went much better for the Associated Builders and Contractors. The 11th Circuit Court narrowed a decision on vaccination mandates for federal contractors to limit an exemption only to ABC members on a nationwide basis. The court also allowed the exemption for the seven states that filed the lawsuit. Non-ABC members are still bound by the mandate, expect those that work as subcontractors for ABC members.
Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, called the decision “a major victory for ABC and our members as the court has made it clear that ABC members and state plaintiffs 'need not comply with the vaccination requirement in their capacity as contractors, and they are not responsible for including that requirement in lower-tier subcontracts.”
ABC was the lone business group challenging the federal contractor vaccine mandate, along with the plaintiff state governments. A ruling by the Georgia District Court in December had expanded the exemption nationwide.
In other legal and legislative news, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has been included in the Military Housing Readiness Council Act introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Thom Tillis in the United States Senate and Representatives Jacobs, Bice, Porter, and Ryan in the House of Representatives.
This legislation would create the Department of Defense’s Military Housing Readiness Council, a seventeen-person group consisting of various individuals, including members of the armed forces, military spouses, and a representative from the IICRC. The Council will be responsible for making recommendations regarding policies surrounding privatized military housing, monitoring landlord compliance with current policies (i.e., the Tenant Bill of Rights), and proposing ways to improve collaboration, awareness, and promotion of accurate information within military housing.
The bills have been referred to their respective Armed Forces Committees, though no meetings have been scheduled. The IICRC will continue to monitor and work to get this legislation passed through Congress and signed by President Biden.