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outlet mallA recent decision from the Fifth District Court of Appeal addressed a very relevant question for any entity considering entering into a contract that contains a provision for the compulsion of arbitration:  which legal actions do or do not trigger a waiver of that right to compel arbitration. In this case, a property seller’s lawsuit over certain deed restrictions did not constitute a waiver because that was a separate agreement and was outside the contract that contained the arbitration clause.

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gavel and moneyThe collapse of the housing bubble back in the ‘00s caused a lot of substantial financial losses for many people, including investors. Even the suffering of major losses does not allow a party to a contract to get out of its obligations under that agreement, though. That was the takeaway of an $8 million plaintiff’s judgment awarded to our client in his breach of contract lawsuit against his investment partners in a condominium project. The other investors must still pay the millions of dollars they owed, even though the condo project failed and they sustained roughly $1 million in losses, the Daily Business Review reported.

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mock trial depositionWhen you’re going through a commercial dispute, there are many things about which you have to concern yourself. You have to balance the pursuit of victory in litigation with the continued operation of your business. One aspect of litigation that plays into both of these components is which of your officers or employees must testify in depositions related to your case. A case recently decided by the Second District Court of Appeal provides some important information in this area.

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justice clerkIn a high-asset divorce case in Florida, there are lots of efforts that go into determining the outcome. There’s collecting and developing relevant factual evidence that demonstrates the strength of your arguments. There is also knowledge of procedural rules and an understanding of how to use them to your most beneficial effect. In a recent Miami case, a husband’s well-timed dismissal motion proved critical in allowing him to avoid the imposition of a substantial alimony obligation.

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irrigation tubesMiami and South Florida are commercially vibrant areas. In addition to having many businesses whose activities are strictly contained in the United States, the Miami area has many businesses whose contacts and interactions spread outside the United States, due in part to its unique diversity, geography and culture. This can sometimes lead to special challenges when contract disputes and commercial litigation issues arise with partners based outside the United States. In one recent tortious interference case involving a Miami LLC and a Brazilian entity, the Third District Court of Appeal concluded that the rules of jurisdiction did not prevent the litigation from going forward in Florida.

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Roulette WheelSometimes, achieving success can mean going to trial and winning; other times, it can mean a settlement. A commercial tenant and a client of Stok Folk + Kon recently succeeded in reaching a settlement of its lease dispute with its landlord, a major South Florida casino. The landlord, which had attempted to force out the small tenant despite a lease term that ran through 2020, agreed to settle just a week after the two sides engaged in mediation. As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, the terms of the settlement were not made public (due to a confidentiality provision in the settlement agreement).

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Fine-PrintIn contract law and in commercial litigation, the gap between success and failure can be as small as a single word. In the case of an electric utility and its breach of contract case, the outcome of its case hinged on three little words: “at a minimum.” The insertion of those words into its complaint meant that the damages it sought were not liquidated and it could not obtain a damages award in its default judgment case without first having a hearing on damages, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled.

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Jevic truckA case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court could have a massive impact on the future of Chapter 11 bankruptcy law. In the case, the bankruptcy court approved a settlement that allowed some creditors with inferior claims to obtain a recovery, while other creditors with superior claims got nothing. According to a New York Times report, the high court’s ruling “could upend the common practice that ranks lenders, employees and other creditors in order of priority as they try to recover their money when a company files for bankruptcy.”

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fine printWhen you and a potential business partner contemplate entering into a commercial contract, there are many things to which you can agree and make binding on both sides by including relevant terms in your agreement. One of these issues is deciding, in advance, where you will litigate disputes if a problem arises later. There are many different ways to structure these clauses, with some being permissive and some being mandatory. In a recent case from Miami, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld a dismissal of a case brought here because the parties had a contract with a mandatory clause dictating California as the place to litigate disputes.

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marathon runnersA nutritional supplement company, whose business took a major hit in late 2014 and early 2015, was allowed, in its lawsuit against one of its vendors, to continue using its expert witness on damages and continue asserting its claim for lost profits, which allegedly amounted to more than $15 million. Although the plaintiff’s business was badly damaged, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the plaintiff’s business was merely interrupted but not totally destroyed. Had it been completely destroyed, the law would not have allowed the plaintiff to seek lost profits damages.

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