Zinzow Law

Honoring Our Dead Heroes in Arms

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,”  a phrase made famous by William Shakespeare in his play Henry V. Fictional character King Henry inspired his troops to advance like tigers despite the attack leading to certain death. His troops knew their sacrifice, while tragic, was a debt owed to their fathers and mothers, their countrymen, and their brothers in arms.

Shakespeare’s story was fiction, but this is the real story of millions of our war fighters who have died for their fathers and mothers, their countrymen, and their brothers in arms. They died for people they never met. They died for you.

This Memorial Day recognize the holiday for what it is: the celebration of heroes. Say a prayer for their souls. Give a toast to their sacrifice. But most of all, remember them and what they did for people they would never meet.

Team Z celebrates those who made the ultimate sacrifice that we might all be free. Let us not dishonor their memory by relinquishing the rights they paid for in blood.

Justin R. Zinzow
on Behalf of Team Z

NOT the New Normal


Near daily we, and we expect many of you, hear the newest turn of phrase about the virus: “This is the new normal we must all settle into.” Team Z feels differently. This is the new normal only if we allow others to re-define normal. The dictionaries gathering dust on the shelves of many around the globe tell us that normal is the absence of abnormality. It is the presence of order, symmetry, and naturality. They also tell us that psychologically, normal is the average human condition and emotion.

Unchecked emotion, an unusual virus, and temporary suspension of certain liberties is not normal. Indeed, it is the perfect definition of abnormal. So why would we settle into it re-defining normal? We would not and should not.

In America, past and present, the real normal is personal sacrifice for our brothers and sisters. The real normal is not succumbing to abnormality. The real normal is rejoicing in the great American spirit, not wallowing in the periodic lows of the beautiful journey of life. Everyone has the power within to reject the premise of “new normal,” and indeed must, to preserve the American way of life.


Justin Zinzow
on behalf of Team Z
Zinzow Law

Justin Zinzow presents to the Marion County Builders Association

Zinzow Law Attorney, Justin Zinzow, had the opportunity to speak with the Marion County Builders Association about 558 Notices during their General Membership Meeting on April 25, 2019.

Justin Zinzow presents to Bayonet Plumbing

Zinzow Law Attorney, Justin Zinzow, was invited to speak with Bayonet Plumbing about Chapter 713, Notices to Owner and Liens.

Justin Zinzow presents to BCH Mechanical

Zinzow Law Attorney, Justin Zinzow, was invited to present a seminar to BCH Mechanical on Chapter 713, Notices to Owner and Liens.

Chapter 558 Notice of Construction Defects: What Your First Steps Should Be, Misteps to Avoid, and Actions You can Take Now to Protect Yourself Long Before a Defect is Claimed

If you have built or participated in the building of a community or a structure and have received the dreaded Chapter 558 Notice of Construction Defects, your first instinct is to contact your insurance agent and insurer immediately. You provide them the Notice to trigger insurance coverage and gain assistance from your insurer. Your insurer should assign an adjuster and one or more construction consultants to investigate the claims on your behalf in the hopes of resolving them without litigation. However, winds of change are once again upon the construction industry, and this time those winds strike at the very essence of the insurance policy you purchased to protect yourself.

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First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers (Think Shakespeare)

Does this lawyer have your attention? Allow me to set the stage. You meet an interesting fellow at a social event. He asks you what you do and what brought you to the event. Intrigued, you then ask him the same, at which point he responds that he is a lawyer. You remember Shakespeare’s admonition, shake hands, and walk away, thinking or hoping that you seldom need that or any other lawyer’s assistance. Was Shakespeare onto something? You bet he was, but perhaps not for the reason you think.

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Don’t Hire Unlicensed Contractors or Subcontractors-The Newest Reason Why

You awake in your blaze orange jumpsuit to yelling and stagnant air, unsure what time it is because your room has no doors or windows. In case you had not guessed, you are in prison for violating the law. It is a felony to engage in construction activities without holding a license if one is required by the state. It is also a crime if you, a licensed trade contractor or general contractor, intentionally hire or assist an unlicensed contractor. If you hire someone who later acquires the license you have still violated the law. In addition to facing jail time, you can also be fined up to $10,000, and your license can be suspended or revoked for assisting unlicensed contractors by contracting with them.

Tampa Bay Builders Association members are well trained professionals at the forefront of the construction and development industry and would never intentionally hire unlicensed contractors. Yet there are many complicated traps one can fall into.

It is basic knowledge that installation of plumbing, roofing, and complex electric circuits requires licensing. But not all work fits neatly into the license needed or license not needed boxes. For example, a state electrical license is required for the installation of residential digital satellite equipment, but is not required for the installation of audio entertainment systems. Even if you are confident no state license is required, state licensed contractors are prohibited from disregarding or violating any city or county ordinance concerning local licensing. If you willfully disregard or violate those requirements by hiring a trade contractor who does not have a required local license, you may be committing a misdemeanor.

Perhaps today you are intimately familiar with the state licensing categories, as well as the 47+ local licensing categories in Pasco county and 31+ categories in Hillsborough county. But laws change, and they can sometimes be applied retroactively, such as in the case of construction licensing and unlicensed contractors, so great care must be taken.

The newest reason to be wary is that in a ruling last month in Brock v. Garner Window & Door, one of Florida’s appellate courts indicated that even though an unlicensed contractor may not be entitled to enforce its contract provisions in defense of a claim, that same unlicensed contractor is still entitled to assert other defenses when sued for defective work. Before Brock the courts were clear that public policy strongly weighed against unlicensed contractors having many, if any rights. The Brock court has now seemingly softened this public policy. While the defense at issue in Brock was that the lawsuit was filed too late and was therefore barred by the statute of limitations, the principal espoused by the court would seem to have no limits. Perhaps now an unlicensed contractor or subcontractor can assert the defense that someone else is to blame for the defect, or that the defect claim as been waived by virtue of some prior agreed repair which was completed. Unlicensed contractors and subcontractors may now leave you, the licensed contractor, stuck holding the financial loss.

The only time you should be caught wearing blaze orange is during hunting season, so for all of these reasons and so many more, do not hire unlicensed contractors. Take great care in determining whether a state or local license is required, and verify that a license is valid. State licenses can be verified through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website, and local licenses can generally be verified through each city or county’s website or by calling.

Justin R. Zinzow is Florida Bar Board Certified in Construction law and is one of the attorneys at Zinzow Law. For more information you may email him at jzinzow@zinzowlaw.com or visit www.zinzowlaw.com 

How to Review Contracts and Specifications LIKE an ATTORNEY and WITHOUT an ATTORNEY

If lawyers are being honest with themselves, they will acknowledge that contractors can often be successful without attorneys in their back pocket on every issue and project. These successful contractors have learned from bad experiences and from their attorneys, how to approach a contract and specification review like an attorney and without an attorney. This brief article is designed to outline a few tips and tricks that, if used correctly, will leave you looking like a wise old sage. Is there a role, then, for attorneys? Absolutely! We would no more pretend to know how to build every component of a building from the ground up, than you would profess to know several hundred years of legal precedent that must be considered when reviewing contract documents. So let us just start with some basics.

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New Laws to Live By

Someone once said that laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made. As a sportsman who makes a mean wild-game sausage I disagree. But this is not a cook book, so I should say that as a lawyer, a statesman, and a patriot I also disagree. Laws, their application, and their origination, are a unique thing. They often come into being without our knowing, or have broader impact than we ever expected. Following are some of 2015’s sausages, and what they should mean to you.

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