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In any commercial contract setting, one of the most important things you must do is to assess the scope of the work that is covered under the terms of the contract. Misapprehending the scope of the work to be performed can cause confusion and delay, and it may potentially cost you a lot of money. On the other hand, a clear and in-depth understanding of your contract’s scope may be highly beneficial to your business. If you have questions about the scope of your commercial contract, make sure you are getting reliable answers from a skilled South Florida commercial litigation attorney with the knowledge and experience you need.

When it comes to doing this kind of assessment, carefully analyzing every aspect and potentially every word of the document is essential, as a recent construction contract case illustrates. The project was a series of repairs and other work on the main post office in Okeechobee. The general contractor, which was headquartered in Chicago, hired a local subcontractor to handle the parking lot demolition and paving work.

Eventually, a dispute arose related to the post office’s eastern driveway. The general contractor took the position that the removal and replacement of the asphalt on that driveway was within the scope of the existing subcontract, while the subcontractor countered that the contract covered only the removal of concrete.

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Occasionally, a case comes along that is important not because it merely illuminates a specific issue of law, but because it completely rewrites the state of the law in a particular jurisdiction or judicial circuit. When these changes in the state of binding case law happen in Chapter 11 bankruptcy law (as occurred earlier this year here in South Florida) they serve as just one more reminder of why it’s so beneficial to rely on a knowledgeable South Florida bankruptcy attorney who can offer you not just diligent advocacy but also a completely up-to-date understanding of the state of the law, and what changes in the law mean for you.

A January 2021 ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal here in Miami made a very significant change in the law governing when the automatic stay created by Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code does – and doesn’t – go into effect. Knowing when your case will (or won’t) be automatically stayed can, of course, be a massively important consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not to file for bankruptcy.

The origins of the underlying case began after a Minnesota-based lender obtained a $12 million judgment in 2015 against a medical diagnostic imaging company with its holding company based in South Florida.

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When you believe that someone has taken an illegal step like filing for a patent by fraudulently using your invention without naming you as the inventor, obviously, you will need to take legal action. However, simply suing may not be enough. Simply suing without taking the proper additional steps could leave you exposed to some very damaging risks. An experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney can help you ensure you are taking all the necessary additional steps to make certain that your business and your intellectual property is protected fully.

What do we mean by taking the extra steps? An ongoing dispute related to software devices for cruise ship guests offers some insights.

D.D. was an inventor of wearable small, wireless devices (and the customized software associated with them) used in the cruise ship and other hospitality industries. D.D. had worked in this area for more than a decade, including developing systems for big cruise names like Disney. Later on, another competing cruise line brought in D.D. to work on its guest system.

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There are many reasons why two people from two “different worlds” might decide to get married and begin a life together. When they do, especially if those differences include vast financial ones, a prenuptial agreement may be very helpful. A prenup doesn’t necessarily mean that the wealthier spouse-to-be views the less wealthy spouse-to-be as merely a “gold digger.” For many couples, a prenuptial agreement can be a beneficial and pro-active step to ensure that, should the marriage not make it “until death do us part,” that they, and not a court, will be in control of what happens to the assets post-divorce. If that’s you, then, before you start down the road of executing a prenuptial agreement, make sure you have representation from a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney so that you can end up with a prenuptial agreement strong enough to withstand any legal challenges that may come later.

A recent divorce case from the Keys was an example of two spouses from two very different backgrounds. When the pair met in the spring of 2001, he was a 41-year-old divorcee and commercial airline pilot with a personal net worth of several million dollars. She was an 18-year-old Colombian citizen with “the equivalent of a high school education.”

Just days after the pair met, they became engaged. They married just three months after first meeting. It was an eventful three months that included a premarital pregnancy and an abortion.

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If you sue an entity in a commercial litigation matter and that entity fails to respond to your properly served complaint, that failure can be a massive benefit to you, as it may entitle you to obtain something called a “default judgment” in your favor. Even if you are entitled to a default judgment, there are still hurdles you have to clear to get everything out of your case. To make sure you’re getting the outcome and the total compensation you deserve, make sure your business has an experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney on your side, ensuring that all your “t’s are crossed,” and your “i’s are dotted.”

As a recent breach of contract case from the federal court here in South Florida shows, falling short in any of the essential areas of proof can be very harmful.

In the case, a provider of medical billing and “revenue cycle management” services sued its client, a drug and alcohol rehab facility. According to the complaint, the rehab center stopping paying its bills, including at least six invoices that went unpaid.

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Obviously, one hopes not to be confronted with an opposing party or attorney who engages in harassing, dilatory, or knowingly dishonest conduct during litigation. This, unfortunately, will happen from time to time. The key is to recognize that you can, with the aid of a skilled South Florida commercial litigation attorney, take the appropriate action and get the sanctions award you deserve.

That you may have known. A recent federal case points out something you probably didn’t know, which is that, even if the court lacked jurisdiction over the underlying case, you can still get that sanctions award.

That case involved a construction project gone awry. A real estate broker sought to turn a campground in the Keys into a luxury housing community. One of the investors was a restaurateur with whom the broker had partnered before. However, the project did not get off the ground. The property underwent foreclosure, and both men lost their investments.

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When you are the owner of commercial rental properties, the right South Florida commercial litigation attorney can help in many different ways. One of these ways is by “spotting” all the legal issues your case presents and then identifying all your legal options, including ones that you otherwise might never have known that you had.

Take, for example, this Broward County landlord’s eviction litigation. The trial court held a hearing and determined that “(1) rent due from August 14, 2018, through August 13, 2019, was $6,695 per month; (2) rent from August 14, 2019, to August 13, 2020, was $6,895.85 per month; and (3) rent for August 2019 was $6,808.84.”

Subsequently, the landlord moved for an entry of default and an order giving it immediate possession. The landlord’s legal team recognized that the tenant timely paid only $6,695 for August 2019 and $6,695 for September 2019 and that these shortcomings entitled the landlord to a default and writ of possession.

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When you go through the process of selecting the best commercial property for your business, you doubtlessly put in a great deal of thought, research and analysis. When you’ve finished that and finally made a selection, the last thing you want is for some unforeseen pitfall to unravel everything you were hoping to achieve. To make sure your business avoids that, you need to be certain you have a skilled South Florida real estate attorney on your side who knows how to uncover all of the information you need.

One of those unforeseen “pitfalls” can be a restrictive covenant, and, as one Palm Beach County entity discovered recently, those use restrictions are probably going to be enforceable against you, even if you didn’t know about them.

Back in 2005, the owner of a commercial property in Seminole County, looking to sell, worked out with its tenant an early termination of the tenant’s lease. The two entities executed a “lease termination agreement.” At the insistence of the tenant, who ran a gas station, convenience store and restaurant on the other side of the street, that contract contained a clause that said that no buyer “nor any successor or assign will operate, lease, sell or otherwise transfer the Property for use as (i) a convenience store, (ii) a fast food hamburger restaurant, (iii) tobacco/beverage store, (iv) gasoline sales,” or any combination of the above business types.

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Your business probably has many proprietary assets. However, if you are in the professional services or sales industries, one of the most valuable – and jealously guarded – possessions your business may have is your client/customer list. These lists typically are the product of a great deal of effort in terms of developing, growing and cultivating. What, then, should you do if someone has obtained improper access or made wrongful use of your business’s client list? Depending on the specific facts, you may have various legal claims available here in Florida. One thing you should definitely do is reach out to an experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney to discuss your options.

Under Florida law, a customer list or a client list may qualify as a trade secret. Proving that it is a trade secret is important because, if you do that, then the law allows you to seek an award of damages for “trade secret misappropriation.”

So, you may wonder, how do I know if my list is a trade secret or not? A recent ruling from the Fourth District Court of Appeal reviews many of those answers.

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Any time you, as a commercial landlord in Florida, lease a property, you hope for a successful business relationship. Regrettably, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it may become necessary to protect your property and your overall business interests by evicting that tenant. The law goes to great lengths to protect residential tenants facing evictions, and it also imposes some fairly substantial procedural obligations on commercial landlords. Trying to evict a commercial tenant on your own can actually do serious harm to your position. Instead of making this commercial eviction an ill-fated “DIY” project, retain the legal representation you need from a skilled South Florida commercial leasing attorney.

When you’ve decided it’s time to evict your commercial tenant, there are several sets of hurdles you must clear. Before you file a court action to evict, you must first have complied with all the notice requirements of Part I of Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes, as well as all the notice obligations that were written into your lease agreement.

In a rent dispute, you must give your tenant a notice demanding that the tenant either pay the sum owed or vacate the property within three days of the date of that notice document. If the problem is something other than unpaid rent, the law says that you must give the tenant at least 15 days to fix the breach or else vacate.

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