Florida Senate - 2023 (NP) SB 14 By Senator Gruters 23-00087-23 202314__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Douglas and Gail Quinn by the 3 Department of Business and Professional Regulation; 4 providing legislative intent; providing for an 5 appropriation to compensate Mr. and Mrs. Quinn for 6 injuries and damages they sustained by a contractor 7 licensed by the Department of Business and 8 Professional Regulation and by the Construction 9 Industry Licensing Board’s actions in administering 10 the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund; 11 providing a limitation on the payment of compensation 12 and attorney fees; providing an effective date. 13 14 WHEREAS, on May 17, 2017, Douglas and Gail Quinn entered 15 into a contract with HD Custom Homes, Inc., to build a new 16 residence in Port Charlotte, and 17 WHEREAS, at that time, HD Custom Homes, Inc., based in 18 Englewood, was owned by Matthew Harden and Stephen Dukes, and 19 WHEREAS, Mr. Harden was a licensed contractor having 20 license number CBC1251858, issued by the Department of Business 21 and Professional Regulation, and 22 WHEREAS, HD Custom Homes, Inc., failed to complete the 23 building project, and Mr. and Mrs. Quinn subsequently contracted 24 with another builder, Horizon Homes of SW Florida, LLC, to 25 complete the project, and 26 WHEREAS, on May 23, 2019, HD Custom Homes, Inc., filed for 27 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle 28 District of Florida, and 29 WHEREAS, on August 9, 2019, Mr. and Mrs. Quinn filed a 30 claim with the bankruptcy court to recover $68,449.11 from HD 31 Custom Homes, Inc., for breach of contract, and 32 WHEREAS, on October 1, 2019, the bankruptcy court issued an 33 order precluding final judgment of state law claims, preventing 34 Mr. and Mrs. Quinn from moving forward with their claim in the 35 bankruptcy court, and 36 WHEREAS, on October 24, 2019, Mr. and Mrs. Quinn submitted 37 a claim to the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund 38 for $68,651.73 with all the necessary documentation, and 39 WHEREAS, the Legislature established the Florida 40 Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund for such instances, 41 allowing claimants to recover up to $50,000 each from a Division 42 1 licensee, and an aggregate total of $500,000 per Division 1 43 licensee, and 44 WHEREAS, on September 3, 2020, the Construction Industry 45 Licensing Board issued a final order denying Mr. and Mrs. 46 Quinn’s claim, because other approved claims against Mr. Harden 47 had reached the aggregate limit of $500,000, and 48 WHEREAS, on October 6, 2020, Mr. and Mrs. Quinn appealed 49 the Construction Industry Licensing Board’s decision to the 50 First District Court of Appeal, contending that the payments 51 previously awarded to other claimants were awarded in error, and 52 WHEREAS, on September 30, 2021, the First District Court of 53 Appeal affirmed the Construction Industry Licensing Board’s 54 decision to deny Mr. and Mrs. Quinn’s claim, and 55 WHEREAS, the Florida Supreme Court has construed the far 56 reaching circumstances to which the Legislature may extend 57 relief to any matter under the common law of this state in 58 Gerard v. Dept. of Transp., 472 So.2d 1170, 1172 (Fla. 1985) 59 (“...we agree with the Department of Transportation’s assertion 60 that a judgment in this case was not a prerequisite to Gerard’s 61 filing a claims bill in the legislature. As the First District 62 Court stated in Jetton v. Jacksonville Electric Authority, 399 63 So.2d 396, 397 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981), while the legislature has 64 placed limits on recovery, ‘claimants remain free to seek 65 legislative relief bills, as they did during days of complete 66 sovereign immunity’”), or Dickinson v. Bradley, 298 So.2d 352, 67 354 (Fla. 1974) (“...any claim bill is restricted to less than 68 the general public and its purpose is to discharge the state’s 69 moral obligation to any individual or other entity whom or which 70 the legislature recognizes as being entitled to such.... The 71 legislature may enact a claim bill for what would be a tort if a 72 private party was involved just as effectively as for what would 73 constitute a contractual debt.”), NOW, THEREFORE, 74 75 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 76 77 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 78 found and declared to be true. 79 Section 2. This is solely an equitable claim, not based on 80 an existing judgment, which the Legislature believes should be 81 granted to Douglas and Gail Quinn to remedy an injustice after 82 exhausting all other avenues to seek restitution. 83 Section 3. The sum of $50,000 is appropriated from the 84 Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund to the Department 85 of Professional and Business Regulation for the relief of 86 Douglas and Gail Quinn for injuries and damages sustained. 87 Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 88 a warrant in favor of Douglas and Gail Quinn in the sum of 89 $50,000 upon funds of the Department of Business and 90 Professional Regulation in the State Treasury and to pay the 91 same out of such funds in the State Treasury. 92 Section 5. The amount paid by the Department of Business 93 and Professional Regulation and the amount awarded under this 94 act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all 95 present and future claims arising out of the factual situation 96 described in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to 97 Douglas and Gail Quinn. The total amount paid for attorney fees 98 relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total 99 amount awarded under this act. 100 Section 6. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.