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In your commercial lease dispute, your case may involve numerous pieces of evidence. Some of that proof may only emerge at the last minute. While a court may consider certain types of last-minute proof, the other side is not allowed to sandbag you. There are procedural rules available to protect you, but employing them to their maximum effect (and your maximum benefit) is something that often requires the deft touch of experience, so make sure you have a skilled South Florida commercial landlord-tenant lawyer on your side.

Here’s an example. The landlord was a Boca Raton-based corporation with a property in Miami-Dade County. The tenant, a major national pharmacy chain, sued the landlord for breach of contract. The landlord fought back by suing for eviction.

The court held a hearing. After all of the evidence had been presented and all of the arguments had been made, the judge announced that he was prepared to grant summary judgment to the tenant on the landlord’s eviction claim, and stated the reasons for granting that judgment. At that moment, the landlord informed the court that a “pivotal” page of the parties’ lease agreement was missing.

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When you are in the process of drafting a commercial contract, there are ways to accrue additional benefits to your cause. These ways can include the insertion of certain language. Sometimes, that additional language can be as simple as a single “magic” word. The insertion of just one extra word can make the enforcement of a contract provision (like a forum selection cause) mandatory and go a long way in ensuring that any disputes will be litigated in the place that you prefer. Whether you are negotiating, drafting, or litigating a commercial contract, be sure you are relying on a skilled South Florida commercial contracts lawyer to protect your interests.

In terms of a forum selection clause, the magic word is “exclusively,” as a recent dispute between a business and its investors illustrated. The business in that case operated within one of the bigger growth industries in this country – recreational marijuana. With each of its investors, the business signed a subscription agreement that contained a provision stating that all disputes would be litigated either in the federal court for the Central District of California or else the California Superior Court in Orange County.

Apparently having grown dissatisfied, several investors sued the company in Orange County. The investors, however, sued in Orlando, not Santa Ana. The business fought back by filing a motion asking the judge in Florida to either dismiss the case or transfer it to California.

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When you are the owner of highly valuable intellectual property, such as a highly sought-after luxury brand, you can combat counterfeiters by suing for infringement. However, simply getting a judgment at some date months or years in the future may not be enough. Those months or years of delay represent months or years of counterfeit goods flooding into the market and months or years of the value of your brand being diluted by those low-quality fakes. To prevent that, then, you may be able to obtain a preliminary injunction. That preliminary injunction stops the defendant from continuing in engaging in the harmful action, even before you’ve obtained a final judgment in your favor. To find out more about protecting your brand if you’ve been similarly harmed, be sure to reach out to a knowledgeable South Florida commercial litigation attorney right away.

A case from the federal court here in South Florida is an example of what a successful injunction request looks like. The intellectual property owner was a French fashion house and designer of luxury items. The designer owned numerous trademarks regarding lettering and designs that it used as its logos. At some point, the designer learned that an online retailer allegedly was selling cheap knock-off goods bearing imitations of the designer’s logos.

These inferior-quality counterfeit goods had the risk of diminishing or destroying consumers’ confidence in the brand’s reputation for luxury and highest quality. To stop this harm, the designer needed to stop the continued marketing and selling of counterfeit goods right away.

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If you own stock in a business entity and you also play an active role in the operation of that entity, then you probably understand keenly how much the success of the business rises and falls on what you do or fail to do. If you’re the spouse of someone like that and the two of you are getting a divorce, it is important to recognize that the fruits of your spouse’s labor are marital assets, which means that you are entitled to an equitable distribution share of the extent to which the business appreciated in value during the marriage. To find out more about what the law says you are entitled to under equitable distribution, reach to a knowledgeable South Florida divorce lawyer to get the customized answers you need for your specific situation.

R.P. was one of those kinds of people, in that he was a spouse and a stockholder. Entering the marriage, he owned stock in three timber corporations in the U.K. In 2008-09, he left his job at the local airport in Flagler County and began taking a more active role in the corporations, rising to become Chairman of the Board. From 2009 to 2018, the bulk of the family’s income came from funds that the husband received from the timber corporations.

In 2018, R.P.’s wife filed for divorce after 18 years of marriage.

As you can see, a circumstance like this is vastly different than, say, being a Walmart greeter who owns stock in Apple. Apple’s value rises or falls completely independently of anything you do. In this case, the husband’s actions from 2009-18 had a very substantial and very direct impact on the increase in value of the timber corporations.

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Here in South Florida, the issue of a force majeure clause within a commercial contract is a very important one. The vulnerability of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties to hurricane-induced disruptions means that a tropical system has the ability to impair greatly your ability to satisfy the promises you made in your commercial contract, which is why you need the right force majeure clause in your agreement and the right South Florida contract lawyer negotiating, drafting, and litigating on your behalf.

Of course, on the flip side, you may also find yourself in the position of seeking to defeat a force majeure defense in your breach of contract case. Again, the right legal team can help you get that done and get the damages award your business needs.

To win a force majeure defense, the entity you’ve sued has to affirmatively prove that the thing that rendered it unable to perform as promised was a force outside its control. If it doesn’t prove that, then the defense fails.

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A reversal in course by a federal agency could provide several businesses here in Florida with an important lifeline when it comes to getting the additional funds they need. Going forward, many Chapter 11 bankruptcy debtors may now be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Whether or not your business is considering applying for a PPP loan, you should seek out advice from an experienced South Florida bankruptcy lawyer before making any crucial decisions in the process of contemplating (and potentially pursuing) bankruptcy.

Until very recently, Florida bankruptcy debtors, including Chapter 11 filers, were cut off from PPP loan funds. That was because of a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) standard and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in the bankruptcy case of a Pinellas County medical office.

The debtor, which was a “physician-owned and -operated outpatient imaging, diagnostic, and interventional radiology center” located in St. Petersburg, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019.

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Success in your commercial litigation matter is often made of many smaller “wins” leading up to ultimate victory. These can cover a variety of issues from discovery disputes to where the case will be tried. Each one of these smaller items can be the thing that ultimately proves to be the key to success, which is why it is essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney on your side from the very start.

For one defendant in a breach of contract matter, the “win” it sought related to where the case would proceed.

The underlying dispute involved a retirement plan fiduciary and an administrative services provider, P.F.S., with which it contracted. According to the fiduciary, P.F.S. improperly reached out to retirement plan sponsors and solicited them to work directly with P.F.S., which would have the effect of cutting the fiduciary out of those clients’ business.

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When you do business in a highly competitive industry, it is not unreasonable to expect that, at some point, you’ll face legal action initiated by a competitor. When the competitor that sues you is one of the largest businesses in your industry, you can expect them to come well-armed with significant resources. Whether the entity that has sued you is tiny or an industry giant, you need to have your own array of strong resources on your side, and that includes having a skilled South Florida commercial litigation attorney to help guide you and advise you. The right attorney can be invaluable as you make critical choices, such as whether to proceed in civil court or in an arbitration setting.

Arbitration has the possibility to save you immense amounts of time. That time savings can be extremely attractive to some businesses. If that’s your business, then the next key is getting your case moved from civil court to arbitration. One way you potentially can get a judge to compel arbitration is by using the other side’s own contractual language against it.

A business dispute involving a very large health and life insurance agency and an alleged scheme to steal its business is a good example of how one group of defendants did exactly that.

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In business, one element to achieving success is recognizing what kind of legal obligations your business dealings impose upon you… and what they don’t. Sometimes, the difference between winning and losing a contract case can be as straightforward as proving that an enforceable contract never existed at all. Whatever tool you need to win your commercial contract case, an experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney can help get you where you need to be.

One way you may be able to escape liability in a breach of contract case is by showing that the agreement in question is void and not enforceable. A state court breach of contract case from right here in South Florida is a prime example.

A warehouse owner, seeking to sell a property, inked a listing agreement with a broker giving the broker a six-month exclusive window to obtain a buyer. An agent for the broker contacted the owner of the neighboring warehouse, but a deal was not consummated.

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Almost regardless of the question, the answer you get from your knowledgeable South Florida landlord-tenant attorney is probably going to be “it depends” most of the time. Very few things in the law are always “yes or no;” most require a deep dive into the unique facts of the case.

That, however, isn’t always true. The law can be very strict sometimes. The key, whether you are a commercial landlord or a tenant in Florida, is understanding what your obligations are and what leeway you do (or don’t) have on fulfilling those obligations. This is one of the vital areas where your experienced attorney will be able to help greatly.

The issue of “extenuating circumstances” and what difference they will (or won’t) make when it comes to your commercial eviction case is more important than ever here in this time of COVID-19. As we all know, for a significant period of time during the previous year, almost everything — even the courthouse and the court clerk’s office — was shut down to slow the spread of the virus. So, what happens if you (or your tenant) are under an obligation to pay money into the court registry on a certain date during a time of emergency… be it a natural disaster or a viral pandemic?

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