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Scales of JusticeIn your commercial litigation case, you need several things for success. One of the essential things is to make sure that the place where you bring your action is a place that has jurisdiction over all of the people or entities from which you seek damages. In a recent South Florida case litigating a joint venture agreement, that proved to be a critical problem. The courts dismissed a key defendant because the Florida statutes did not give the Florida courts jurisdiction, due to a lack of sufficient contact with the state.

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jetWithin any contract, there are probably several clauses that are carefully analyzed and extensively negotiated. Regardless of the amount of time negotiating any given paragraph, all of the provisions in your contract are important, since any one could be the key to your being able to protect your interests (or not). In the case of one LLC’s breach of contract and fraudulent inducement case, it was the agreement’s “choice of law” provision that provided the key to the LLC’s success in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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signatureIn almost any legal agreement, it is important to review and understand all of the terms of that agreement before you sign off on it. That’s because, once it is completed, you are legally bound by its terms and can create problems for yourself by not following it. This includes settlement agreements made relative to your creditor claim in a Chapter 11 case. For one South Florida creditor who settled but then violated the agreement’s terms, that meant being forced by the court to pay attorney’s fees.

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JudgmentA buyer who backed out of the purchase of two different pieces of commercial property remained potentially liable for those non-purchases, since the buyer’s efforts to win a dismissal of the sellers’ lawsuit failed. The buyer’s efforts failed because, contrary to its arguments, the existence of an arbitration clause in the parties’ contracts did not act as an automatic bar to legal actions based upon the failed transactions. The Third District Court of Appeal case provides some useful insight into how arbitration clauses work and what they can (and can’t) do for the parties that sign contracts that include them.

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beach homeA Palm Beach County real estate agent got a renewed opportunity to go after the large commission she alleged she was owed after working for nearly a year to sell a $4.7 million property on Palm Beach Island. As is true in many contract dispute cases, the details were key to the agent’s success. The broker whom the agent sued did not have enough of the proper type of evidence to establish that it was entitled to keep or split the commission, so it wasn’t entitled to summary judgment in the agent’s case.

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Florida condominiumsWith anything that contains considerable minutiae, it is said that the “devil is in the details.” This can definitely be true of contractual agreements. In the case of one broker’s dispute with a developer, the courts allowed the broker to proceed with its claim for unpaid commissions precisely because of the details in the listing agreement the broker and a developer signed. That agreement’s details were enough to establish that the broker was more than just a general unsecured creditor of the developer, according to a Third District Court of Appeal decision published recently.

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nurseryWhether you are pursuing or defending against a legal action asserting misconduct in the management of a corporation, partnership, or other business entity, one of the keys to your case may be whether or not the person suing has the legal right to bring the action he seeks to advance. In a recent Miami case, that issue was the undoing of a minority shareholder’s breach of fiduciary duty action against the majority shareholders, who were also his brothers. The minority shareholder failed because he tried to bring derivative claims in a direct action, which led the trial court to throw out the case and the Third District Court of Appeal to uphold that decision.

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yellow diamondSometimes, litigating a divorce action can be expensive. In addition to your legal team’s hours spent litigating your case on your behalf, you may also need other experts, like forensic accountants, working on your case. Even if you have substantial wealth, obtaining the liquid assets needed to pay these bills can be complicated. In some cases, resolving this problem may mean selling a major asset. However, once the asset sells, how should the sale proceeds be divided? A recent case originating from Palm Beach County addressed this issue.

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fitness equipmentA South Beach sports medicine clinic got another chance to “step up to the plate” in its breach of contract lawsuit against a condominium association over the assignment of parking spaces in the condo’s garage. Since the tenant’s lawsuit could be amended to state potentially viable claims for breach of contract and tortuous interference, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that it was improper for the trial court to dismiss the case without giving the tenant the opportunity to amend and re-file its complaint.

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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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