Equifax Inc. logo. (PRNewsFoto/Equifax Inc.)

As is now widely reported, Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, suffered a data breach of staggering proportion. In the race to fully comprehend the ramifications of this breach, it’s worthwhile to consider what specific legal requirements Equifax must comply with when it comes to maintaining the secrecy of sensitive personal information. One law that creates such requirements is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

Enacted in 1999, the GLBA created two requirements for financial institutions, known as the Privacy Rule, which governs the types of notice a financial institution must give to consumers, opportunities to opt-out from the services provided, and not disclosing sensitive information to non-affiliated third parties, and the Safeguard Rule, which governs the administrative, technical, and physical security of sensitive personal information that the financial institution collects about its customers. GLBA requires that financial institutions:

  1. insure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information;
  2. protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such records; and
  3. protect against unauthorized access to or use of such records or information which could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.


Given that it was a data breach that occurred, real concerns exist as to whether Equifax complied with the Safeguard Rule, specifically whether it provided sufficient technical security for the sensitive information it held. Ars Technica reported that the vulnerability that was exploited in this incident was discovered and disclosed to the public in March, 2017. However, the breach occurred in May, 2017, two months after disclosure of the vulnerability. While addressing the vulnerability was described as “labor intensive and difficult,” that does not absolve Equifax from their statutory obligation to correct a known flaw in their data security apparatus. Indeed, as it was individual’s names, Social Security numbers, addresses, and birth dates that were accessed, Equifax’s dereliction has given criminals all that is needed to cause immense financial harm to those impacted by this breach. Since the Federal Trade Commission has already announced that an investigation into the breach is underway, we can expect additional details to come to light about Equifax’s failures.

This incident underscores the importance of maintaining a high level of IT security integrity and complying with applicable laws. Consulting with an attorney to ensure such compliance can help you avoid a fate similar to Equifax.

If you suffered damage from Hurricane Irma, you need to notify your insurance company immediately.

If you are having repairs done at your home you need to:

  1. Ensure the work is being done by a Florida licensed contractor. If you are told a Florida license is not needed, confirm with your local building department. You can check to see if a contractor is licensed at this link: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=
  2. Ensure a notice of commencement is recorded showing the work being done and which contractor is doing the work as well as your address for serving notices to owner.
  3. Ensure a building permit is issued before the work is started. If you are told a building permit is not needed check with your local building department.
  4. Ensure your contractor has worker’s compensation or an exemption. You can check at this link: https://apps8.fldfs.com/proofofcoverage/Search.aspx
  5. Protect yourself from liens by requiring your contractor to provide a lien waiver when you make each payment as well as lien waivers for all subcontractors and suppliers that provided goods or services for the period for which payment is sought.
  6. Do not make final payment for the work without first receiving a contractor’s final affidavit.

Before you enter into a contract for repairs of your home, you should consult with an attorney with experience in the construction industry.

Construction Contract

On July 21, 2017, the District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fifth District issued a decision that has a couple of key points for contractors to keep in mind when involved in a dispute with another party. Don Facciobene, Inc. v. Hough Roofing, Inc., involved a suit by a subcontractor to collect payment for installing a roof for Dan Facciobene, Inc., a general contractor. This case also supports the old adage that “bad facts make for bad decisions.”

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J. Mason Williams

Contractors and subcontractors should be excited, okay, happy at least, that Florida’s Statute of Repose has been recently amended.


The major change to Section 95.11, Florida Statutes (2017), is the start of the ten-year statute of repose period. The statute of repose sets the last day by which a suit must be filed for latent defects. Obviously, the sooner the period begins, the sooner it ends. While the statute of repose period starts after the latest of four specified events one of those events, the completion of the contract, has been interpreted by many courts in a way that does not adequately protect contractors and subcontractors.

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Most contractors and subcontractors know there are notice provisions in their contracts, but they are not always followed to the letter. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just sent a clear message that if you do not follow the notice and termination provisions of a bond, the surety may be off the hook. What is even more important is that the notice and termination requirements could be in the incorporated contracts or subcontracts not just the bond.

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Person signing contract

In two recent opinions, one from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“ASBCA”) and the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA”), the Boards confirmed that a final release really means a final release.

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contractorOver the years, I have reviewed many estimates and contracts from various types of contractors and homeowners. In most cases, I have found that the contractor did not include several items required by Florida law to be in their estimates or contracts. These are:

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Scam E-mailAccording to the FBI, Business Email Compromise (BEC for short, or CEO/CFO impersonation fraud) have caused at least USD 3.1 billion in total losses to over 22,000 enterprises around the world.

The FBI defines BEC as a sophisticated email scam that targets businesses working with foreign partners that regularly perform overseas wire transfer payments.

The BEC schemes come in different variations but generally the modus operandi is as follows:

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USA legal system conceptual series - MontanaMontana has had some serious issues with police officers taking the property of its citizens when those citizens are prosecuted. Many citizens complain of being falsely charged with crimes, and then having their possessions taken by local police departments. That’s because current Montana laws allow police and prosecutors to seize property that’s expected to be connected with criminal activity. This essentially means that if you are caught committing a crime, the police can take your belongings and sell them off to generate money.

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Overview of downtown DallasThere’s a new law in Texas that will soon allow teachers and students to carry firearms in schools around the state. That means that people will be able to carry right into a campus or a university. Professors Mia Carter, Lisa Moore, and Jennifer Glass are all concerned about the new law and are working hard to try to keep students from being able to carry firearms into classes at the schools.

The Dallas Shooting

The three teachers put together the injunction after a student shooter in Dallas put on body armor, obtained an assault rifle, and attacked a University. The student managed to kill five law enforcement officers and injured another seven during his attack on the school. The teachers believe that the action of the student will help their case and possibly get the injunction pushed through, but experts aren’t as confident about that.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018