Business Address

Law Office of Randall A. Fischer P.A. At Stuart

2100 SE Ocean Blvd #203, Stuart,
Martin, Florida 34996
Phone: (772) 463-7737


Randall A. Fischer, P.A.

725 SE Port St Lucie Blvd #206, Port St. Lucie
St. Lucie, Florida 34984-5232
Phone: (772) 463-7738


Randall A. Fischer, P.A. Law Office At Jupiter

1080 East Indiantown Road #104
Jupiter, Florida 33477
Phone: (561) 316-7111


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Lawyer Stuart FL

Contract Lawyer Stuart FL

Contract Lawyer Litigation, Stuart, FL, Port St. Lucie FL, Jupiter FL

As a contract Lawyer in Stuart FL, Port St. Lucie FL, and Jupiter FL, I am familiar with the implied warranties.  They are often overlooked and, yet, they can carry some serious legal weight.

There are implied warranties of merchantability and fitness that are disclaimed without much thought today.  Yet, these warranties are the basis of year’s legal development and were created to make sure the buyer’s reasonably ordinary expectations would be met.  Often, these warranties are contractually disclaimed and written-off without out much thought.

Interestingly enough, the Florida Supreme court issued an opinion regarding on July 11, 2013 regarding the application of implied warranties of fitness and merchantability via warranty of habitability for Developers in a real estate development (See MARONDA HOMES, INC. OF FLORIDA, etc., et al., Petitioners,v.LAKEVIEW RESERVE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., etc., Respondent.T.D. THOMSON CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, Petitioner,v.LAKEVIEW RESERVE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Respondent., No. SC10-2292, No. SC10-2336).  The case centered on whether or not a developer can be held liable for this/these warranties, which did not concern the construction of the dwellings, but to the infrastructure which supported the dwellings (i.e. water and sewer drainage, road construction and run-off, retention ponds, etc..).  The opinion is a very interesting discussion on the development of implied warranties and the change and growth in the application thereof.

This opinion is worth reviewing.  It goes beyond the application of the common law and addresses Florida Constitutional issues which arose while the case moved through the courts.  Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court agreed with the decision below and held that the implied warranties of fitness and merchantability apply to the improvements that provide essential services to the Lakeview Reserve Homeowners Association. We remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings and factual determinations as may be required, all to be pursuant to and in accordance with this opinion. Further, section 553.835 does not apply to any causes of action that accrued before the effective date of this section.

The Florida Supreme Court distinguished the application of the new legislation through the Constitutional arguments of Due Process and Separation of Powers.  The holding on this case may be fact specific.  However, the review and arguments are very interesting.

The point of this post is to create awareness.  There are implied warranties of merchantability unless the product being sold is sold “as is” or “with all faults” and even then there could be other causes of action, which if you do not consult with a Lawyer you will not be aware.

If you need a lawyer in Stuart FL, Port St. Lucie FL, or Jupiter FL, please give my office a call.

I am getting sued by my HOA

Hiring a lawyer because you have a dispute with your homeowners association or your condo association is usually not a concern prior to purchasing your home or condominium.  Many people purchase a home or a condominium with an association because they appreciate the appearance of the clean community, the amenities, and possibly the safety afforded a manned gate or security system.  The documents governing how the community is managed are just a formality and so is the interview process.  All that was needed was a signature acknowledging receipt of HOA documents, the payment of a fee, and an informal interview and then acceptance into the association.  However, it is very important  to understand how the community operates.  It is important to know and understand the rules and regulations.  It is important to know the finances of your new community.

When a dispute arises with an HOA or a Condo association, often it is the result of an infraction with an existing HOA rule.  The owner never read the rules and regulations prior to closing on the purchase of the home or condominium.  Sometimes these issues can be easily resolved.  However, there are many instances where these conflicts can become very heated.  For example, if an association is pet friendly, know the pet restrictions and follow them.  If there is only a certain number of pets or size limitation, do not purchase a unit where you have more than the number allowed or exceed the limitation.  If you decide to ignore these restrictions, be prepared to be cited.

Whether it is beneficial or detrimental, neighbors in associations concern themselves with the intimate details of their fellow association members.  Frequently, neighbors members take it upon themselves to patrol the grounds and make sure the association’s rules are followed.  Elected board members often take up the mantle as well.  The point of this digression is to make sure you do not put yourself needlessly in their sites.  Read and know your rules and regulations prior to considering the purchase.  Review the financial documents for the association.   Ask questions:  How often has the association has cited a member for noncompliance with the rules and regulations?  What is the most often issue associated with noncompliance?  What was the outcome of these noncompliant cases?  Find out the name of the Management Company hired by the board.  Go to the management company or call and ask questions.  Find out who is on the board and how long they have been on the board.  It is critical to get a feel for the association before you decide to take the plunge.

If the answers you receive do not fit your criteria, do not buy in that HOA.  Do not rely on what your realtor tells you.  They are concerned about the sales transaction, which is their job.  Albeit, there are some very solid and concerned real estate sales agents out there (I know from experience I am married to one), there is still no substitution for sound due diligence.  I have had people come into my office telling me what their real estate sales agent told them and then see their signature on the bottom of the page indicated they had received and reviewed the HOA documents.  If you need help reviewing HOA documents, real estate contracts, have a real estate issue, or end-up in a dispute with your homeowner’s association or condominium association and need a lawyer, give my office a call.

 

Can my bank account be garnished?

What is a Writ of Garnishment?

A writ of garnishment is an ancillary proceeding to the primary action by the plaintiff against the defendant, the purpose of which is to attach or reach assets belonging to the defendant but held by a third party.

A writ of garnishment is often used by creditors to garnish wages and bank accounts. Usually, the creditor has judgment, but there are opportunities for a writ of garnishment to be obtained before a judgment has been obtained.

It is important to know this remedy is available to creditors. When a creditor begins an action (i.e. files and serves a summons and complaint), do not ignore it. The failure to respond could result in a default and ultimately a judgment in favor of the creditor/plaintiff. The plaintiff has 20 years to act on that judgment. Although the defendant’s circumstances, when the plaintiff obtained the judgment, may have been bleak, years later, after the defendant has been able to finally establish himself financially, he may find his bank account or his wages subject to a garnishment.

If you find yourself facing a potential lawsuit from a creditor, are involved in litigation, or have a judgment against you and need a lawyer that can help, give my office a call.

Can they take my car in Bankruptcy?

Can they take my car in Bankruptcy?

Whether a creditor can take your car or you will lose your car in Bankruptcy is not a simple yes or no question. There are many factors which will determine whether the equity in your car can be reached by a creditor and whether or not they would even consider spending the time and effort to attach your vehicle.

The video below discuss one of the issues which is title to the vehicle. Is the vehicle titled in more than one person’s name and how is that titled. If there is more than one person on the title, then whether you’re potential equity in the vehicle is subject to how the vehicle is titled. If the vehicle is titled between you “and” another party, then your interest in the asset is 50%. However, if the title indicates multiple party ownership using the conjunctive “or”, then either you or any other owner can transfer the asset. This distinction comes into play when determining the equitable stake in an asset.

Another factor in determining the equity is the wholesale value of the asset. In south Florida, most trustees use the Kelly Blackbook value. This is reasonably accurate. However, with each vehicle there can be factors which reduce the value including the operating condition, the overall condition, the mileage, etc… These factors are taken into account when determining the value of the vehicle. For the Bankruptcies I file here in Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter, I maintain an online annual subscription to the Kelly Blackbook. This gives us the up to date adjustments made to any vehicles value.

The other major consideration is whether or not the vehicle is liened (i.e. there is a loan on the car). The equitable value of the vehicle is the Kelly Blackbook wholesale minus the conditional adjustments minus the lien on the vehicle divided by the number shared owners. This is roughly the process used to determine the equitable value of the vehicle. If the lien exceeds the value of the vehicle there is no equity to attach. Then, when you file for a chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you reaffirm the loan through the bankruptcy. You can also choose to let the vehicle go and discharge your obligation to the lender for any potential deficiency owed on the vehicle (the difference between the value of the vehicle and the amount owed on the note).

If you are facing a financial dilemma and are looking for a lawyer in Stuart FL, Port St. Lucie FL, or Jupiter FL, please give me a call.

Real Estate Brokerage Charges Separate from the Commission

Real Estate Brokerage Charges separate from the Commission

I have received many calls and have had several consultations regarding charges appearing on HUD’s. Often some of those charges are applied without the client’s approval and knowledge prior to reviewing the HUD just before closing. Further, the client does not know what he is responsible for paying and why. Real Estate Brokerage companies like to include these charges on HUD’s when they had not been disclosed and contractually agreed to be paid by the buyer or seller of a home.

It is important to review your agreements with listing agents and buyers agents prior to entering into the contract. When you are deciding on an agent/brokerage firm a lot of the decision making is focused on the personality of the sales agent and the ability to show and sell the property. It is equally important to review the listing contract. This contract dictates your relationship. It governs how the property is sold and how much you are obligated to pay. If there is an aspect of the contract with which you are uncomfortable, let the agent know.  If the agent is unwilling to address the issue or indicates this is how they conduct business, you can either tell them you want to make the changes and if you are uncomfortable with making the changes contact a lawyer or don’t hire them. If you do not address this at the formation stage of contractual relationship, you will be subject to the agreement. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are going to be upset at the closing.

Often one of these charges included in the listing contract is a charge which is characterized as a Brokerage Fee, or Contract Storage Fee, or it is called some other name. These fees are mentioned separately and are included above and beyond the commission. You do not have to agree to pay these fees. If they are contained in the listing agreement, remove them and let your sales agent/Broker know you are not paying them as part of the agreement. This is a contract. You can negotiate the entire document. If they will not agree to remove the fee, you can hire another real estate brokerage company. In the event they are not included in the listing agreement and they just appear on the HUD, tell the sales agent/Broker that you will not pay these fees and that you did not agree to pay these fees. The real estate sales agent and the Real Estate Broker are compensated via the commission received on the contract.  If you have any issues regarding fees listed on the HUD, first talk to the title company handling the closing, explaining that the fees were not agreed upon and are not part of the contract.  If the Title Company and Real Estate Brokerage firm do not agree to remove the fees, call my office before closing.  You will have to pay for the consultation, but it should be less than the fees.  It is also important to make sure you receive the preliminary HUD and review it carefully before closing.  If you do not understand the HUD, first call the title company and request they review the charges and how they arrived at the figures on the HUD.  If they do not properly explain these figures to you, call my office and we can review them.

If you are buying a home and see charges on the HUD to which you had no knowledge and did not agree to pay prior to closing, request to see the source of the fees and where you agreed to pay for them.  You should have received an estimated fee schedule prior to hiring the title company and a fee schedule from your bank, check the figures listed on the HUD against the figures in the estimate.  If there are figures that you did not agree to pay, request they be removed.  If there are figures which are not near the estimate, request the figures be reduced.  If they will not agree to reduce, call my office.  Do not close.

If you have any questions about the fees being charged by your realtor, need help reviewing you contract or closing documents, or need help sorting out a real estate matter, please give my office a call and schedule an appointment.