The recent case of Pulte Home Corp. v. Bay at Cypress Creek Homeowner’s Association, Inc., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1705a (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) involves a dispute by a homeowner’s association against its developer / homebuilder. In this case, the association sued the developer / homebuilder for building code violations under Florida Statute s. 553.84. The association did this in order to try to circumvent an arbitration provision in the developer / homebuilder’s limited warranty given in favor of initial purchasers. The developer / homebuilder moved to compel arbitration which was denied by the trial court. On appeal, the Second District Court of appeals reversed the trial court finding that statutory claims were covered by the arbitration provision.
The issue to remember is that deference is given to arbitration provisions and that statutory claims, breach of contract claims, warranty claims, and tort claims are all claims that may be submitted to arbitration pursuant to an arbitration provision. In Pulte Home, the association, for strategic reasons, did not want to arbitrate and tried to pursue a claim that did not subject it to arbitration. Although the Second District did not recite the arbitration provision in the opinion, the Court maintained that the agreement to arbitrate in the limited warranty given to initial purchasers covered statutory claims.
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