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.
   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,
   75  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.