The Barthet Firm

Solutions Found is not just a tagline for us; it is at the core of how we practice law. We understand that clients are interested in finding an answer to their problems and with more than 200 years of legal experience under our combined legal belt, we can cut through the legalese, identify the real issues, and pin down practical solutions. We know that value and responsiveness are important, and we appreciate the fact that in the real world business consequences matter more than legal theories.

Florida’s lien law (Florida Statutes §713.001-713.37) can help contractors, suppliers and construction professionals get paid. A good lien can act as a prime motivator in a contractor being paid what he/she is owed. However, the leverage that the law affords should not be interpreted as a license to force a payment that is otherwise not legitimately due. Florida Statutes section §713.31 reads, in pertinent part: (2)(a)   Any lien asserted under this part in…
You might be surprised to learn how many business people with a dispute don’t have any written agreement to back up their claim. Sound contract practices protect your company. It’s well worth sticking to these principles any time you agree to a job. Write it down. Any contract you have should be in writing. Thorough is better than brief, but something is far better than nothing. An agreement can be handwritten or electronic. It could…
Most construction contracts include a procedure to address claims, with a key part of the process being an initial evaluation, usually by the project architect. The concept is not new. It has been a part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) contract forms for years. Introduced in 2007 and reinforced within the AIA’s 2017 updates, the “Initial Decision Maker” is the person charged with rendering initial decisions on claims, customarily the project architect  The…
Using construction liens to get paid can be an effective way to protect your work – if you follow the lien rules. A lien is an encumbrance – a legal hold. This hold is placed on real property for the value of the work and materials you provided but for which you haven’t yet been paid. Someone who owns a piece of property cannot sell or refinance that property without resolving the issues connected…
A general contractor entered into a contract to remodel a house. He hired a number of subcontractors to complete the contracted work. The interior designer wasn’t one of them; she had a direct contract with the owner but she performed her work through the contractor. When the owner missed making certain payments to the general contractor because of a disagreement over some change orders, the contractor recorded a claim of lien against the owner’s property.…
You are finally getting to the end of that large remodeling project. The wood decking is done, the replacement siding is in and the new kitchen appliances delivered. So you tally up those few remaining change orders and submit your last payment application. But to your surprise, you hear from the owner that she doesn’t totally agree with your claim for extras. You explain that the scope of the contracted work increased with some of…
You are finally getting to the end of that large remodeling project. The wood decking is done, the replacement siding is in and the new kitchen appliances delivered. So you tally up those few remaining change orders and submit your last payment application. But to your surprise, you hear from the owner that she doesn’t totally agree with your claim for extras. You explain that the scope of the contracted work increased with some of…
You did the work but didn’t get paid. So you sent your notice of nonpayment and backup documents. Why won’t the bonding company pay? Why is it taking so long? It’s important to understand that a surety doesn’t work like insurance. When you have a car accident, you submit a claim to your insurance company, and they cut a check. Most sureties, on the other hand, will not pay you voluntarily unless the principal,…
You did the work but didn’t get paid. So you sent your notice of nonpayment and backup documents. Why won’t the bonding company pay? Why is it taking so long? It’s important to understand that a surety doesn’t work like insurance. When you have a car accident, you submit a claim to your insurance company, and they cut a check. Most sureties, on the other hand, will not pay you voluntarily unless the principal, the…
Where do you start in choosing a lawyer? The guidelines in “The Basics: Choosing A Lawyer and Understanding Attorney Billing” can help you feel more secure in selecting someone to take your case. Knowing what to look for and what to ask gives you the best chance at a successful, financially sound outcome. How do I find the best lawyer? Ask people you trust for recommendations. Get a few names, and then Google…