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Florida court overturns construction litigation suit

Florida's 4th District Court of Appeals has overturned a verdict favoring a home builder in a lawsuit, meaning a case filed by a group of homeowners alleging construct defects have affected their properties can go on.

A lower court had ruled in favor of the home builder in the initial verdict, saying the case hadn't been filed in a timely manner.

In the appellate court, however, the group of three judges ruled the lawsuit was not filed after the statute of limitations had run out.

The homeowners in question purchased their townhomes in 2004, and through the years, noticed defects. Nearly 10 years after taking possession, the homeowners told the developer about the issues facing their homes, according to court documents.

But when the builder refused to make corrections to the properties, the homeowners filed a lawsuit against the developer seeking remedies to the situation.

When the case got to court, the trial court ruled that the statute of limitations had expired after 10 years and the homeowners couldn't sue. The homeowners countered that their complaint commenced before 10 years and that counted as the beginning of their legal action -- not the filing date.

"We agree with [the] homeowners that Chapter 558 lays out a series of mandatory steps that must be complied with before judicial action is to be taken, and therefore, the pre-suit notice constitutes an "action" for purposes of the statute of repose," one of the judges wrote in the decision for the group.

Yes, that's the lawyer talk. But the bottom line is this: These homeowners have a right to live in a home free from construction defects. Now, they will have their day in court.

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