Treble Damages Not Assessed Against Representative Who Was Not a Party to the Contract

In Home Construction Management, LLC v. Comet, Inc., 4D11-4022 & 4D12-21 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013), Home Construction Management, LLC. (“HCM”) and representative Abraham Omer appealed a final judgment and damage award for claims relating to providing unlicensed contracting services. HCM was contacted by Comet, Inc. (“Comet”) to complete the construction of a single-family residence in Lantana, Florida. The parties entered into a written contract for completion of the project. Omer represented HCM throughout HCM’s relationship with Comet; neither Omer nor HCM was a licensed contractor. Comet sued for disgorgement of overcharges and treble damages under Fla. Stat. §768.0425(2). The trial court entered a final judgment, which trebled damages in the amount of $41,747.58 in overbillings, making Omer and HCM jointly and severally liable up to the damage amount of $125,242.74.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed all issues except the application of §768.0425 against Omer individually. §768.0425(1) defines “contractor” as “any person who contracts to perform any construction or building service which is regulated by any state or local law, including, but not limited to, chapters 489 and 633.” As the trial court found that Omer was not a party to the written contract between HCM and Comet, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reasoned that Omer did not “contract to perform” any service as required by §768.0425.

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