Florida business owners will want to take note of a recent ruling by the state's highest court. The Florida Supreme Court has made a determination that affects the ability of contractors to sue for breach of contract. The ruling is expected to make waves in the business community, and sends a clear message concerning the importance of protecting one's business interests by becoming properly licensed.
The case involved a general contractor who subcontracted with a company to complete construction of a parking garage. When a payment dispute arose, the company filed a breach of contract suit against the contractor. The contractor countersued, and made a claim that the company was the party who was in breach.
During the course of the suits, the contractor argued that the subcontracted company was not legally allowed to bring a suit for breach of contract against the hiring contractor due to the fact that the subcontractor was not licensed. This was the base of the lawsuit as it came before the Florida Supreme Court. The Court eventually ruled that an unlicensed contractor could not expect to share the burden of issues related to unlicensed contracting to companies who were properly licensed.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that a contractor who is not properly licensed cannot bring a claim against a licensed contractor. The ruling did, however, uphold an unlicensed contractor's right to defend against a breach of contract or other claim brought against them. It also pointed out that in order to gain the right to bring suit against another contractor, the company only needs to go through the proper licensing procedures.
Source: Sunshine State News, "Florida Supreme Court to Contractors: Unlicensed? No Relief for Contract Violations!," Eric Giunta, Jan. 25, 2013