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Sometimes, when you’re a defendant in a commercial litigation action, success is measured by the ability to avoid liability and avoid paying any damages. Other times, though, the possibility of paying $0 in damages is not realistic. Even then, there are still important goals to reach; namely, avoiding paying more in damages than the law says you really should owe. As a defendant, whether you are seeking a defense verdict or just to minimize the damages you owe, be sure to retain a skilled South Florida commercial litigation attorney to help you reach your goals and protect your business interests.

A concrete contractor from Davie was one of those commercial litigation defendants. The recent case revolved around the construction of a new airport taxiway, and several other improvements, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. The owner, Broward County, hired several entities to handle the work, including the entity from Davie, which served as the general contractor.

There were problems with the new taxiway’s construction, as the county spotted flaws on the taxiway’s surface. Eventually, the county ended up hiring a different engineering firm to reconstruct the taxiway, costing the county millions of dollars. That led the county to sue several contractors involved with the allegedly defective initial construction of the taxiway. The trial court found that the county had suffered $6 million in damages and ordered the general contractor to pay the county $900,000.

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The White House’s recent executive order on immigration has (justifiably) caused a degree of concern among potential immigrants to the United States. The Associated Press has called the Trump Administration’s statements “contradictory and confusing.” There are some things that we do know for certain, however. One of those things is that, if you are applying for legal immigration status, you potentially can increase your chance of success by retaining the services of a skilled South Florida immigration attorney.

Another thing we know is that, as Forbes reported, the Executive Branch’s possible plans of action don’t involve curtailing the EB-5 investor visa program. In fact, some sources are reporting that the administration’s plan may include expanding the investment visa program. If you are considering obtaining legal status through the EB-5 program, you should definitely consult a knowledgeable attorney and proceed forward.

Recent statistics have shown that, increasingly, citizens of India are availing themselves to the EB-5 program. In the 2019 fiscal year, Indians accounted for more than 30% of all filings, with 726. (China had 351 and Vietnam had 240.) Another piece of good news for Indians considering the EB-5 program is that the U.S. government is completely current on processing applications from Indians and they face no backlog (or backlog-triggered delay) at all.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all business sectors in South Florida. Commercial rental property is no exception. The shutdown of non-essential businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties has left many commercial tenants severely restricted or completely unable to generate revenue. The current circumstances have also placed great financial pressures on commercial landlords, as well. For tenants and landlords facing major issues, there may be alternatives to eviction. These may include things like workouts or lease restructuring, among other possibilities. To discuss your options and what makes the most business sense for you, be sure you are working with an experienced South Florida commercial real estate attorney.

As therealdeal.com noted, several South Florida commercial landlords are working with their tenants to keep those tenants out of the eviction process and in the spaces they currently occupy. Two South Florida-based landlords offered their tenants options including rent deferments, rent forbearances and partial rent payments.

Landlords have several options if they have tenants impacted by COVID-19-related restrictions that are having difficulties paying rent. A landlord may declare a tenant in default and immediately begin pursuing legal action against the tenant and any guarantors, the landlord can declare a tenant in default but hold off on taking any enforcement action or the landlord can negotiate an amendment to the tenant’s lease.

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As shareholder, you may eventually find it necessary to contemplate a derivative lawsuit. Like anyone considering legal action, you must identify what your goals are, and also identify what your potential risks are. For some types of shareholders, the fear of the negative repercussions of defeat may intimidate them into not taking action. Fortunately, a recent case from Miami-Dade County offers some potentially good news for certain shareholders considering derivative actions. In short, don’t let your fear scare you away from asserting your rights. Instead, reach out to a knowledgeable South Florida shareholder litigation attorney to get the advice you need about your case.

In that recent case, R.C. filed a shareholder derivative suit in Miami-Dade County against a corporation and several of its directors. The corporation fought back by filing a motion to dismiss the shareholder’s lawsuit.

After an independent investigator completed her work and issued her report, the trial judge dismissed R.C.’s lawsuit with prejudice, which meant that he could not re-file. After winning the motion, the corporation asked the court to order the shareholder to pay attorney’s fees and costs, including the costs related to the independent investigation.

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Whenever you prepare to enter into a commercial contract, you almost certainly have a range of outcomes that you’d define as “likely” regarding how the arrangement will work out. A good commercial contract will have “failsafes” that protect your position, not only when the project achieves an expected outcome, but also when the project is far more successful – or a much bigger failure — than you would have ever imagined. This way, a truly complete commercial contract can protect your interests whatever the final outcome. For these reasons and more, be sure to seek representation from an experienced South Florida commercial contract attorney when it comes time to draft your next deal.

A recent case decided by the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose ruling directly impact Florida, Georgia and Alabama,) offers an example of how things can go wrong and how you can be harmed if you have the wrong contract.

The parties to the contract were an insurance brokerage firm and a company that provided consulting services related to helping life insurance companies set up plans. The contract called for the consulting firm to provide services to the brokerage firm, including substantial pre-rollout services. The agreement included various provisions related to compensation, including one that said that, notwithstanding a deferral provision, “no payment shall be made” to the consulting firm “in excess of 20% of any commission payment.”

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Contentious divorces can come in all shapes and sizes. When your contentious divorce also involves multiple high-value assets, it can become all the more complex. Your hotly contested battle may impact multiple highly valuable real estate properties and perhaps even affect the control of your businesses. If that’s you, you need the right South Florida family law attorney on your side to provide legal representation that is both thoughtful and, at the same, diligent in protecting your legal rights.

In Miami-Dade County, at least one such contentious contest played out recently. The ex-spouses were music superstar Phil Collins and his ex-wife. The centerpiece of the dispute was a $40 million mansion in Miami Beach. In that legal case, Collins accused the ex-wife, along with her new husband, of enlisting four armed men to take illegal possession of the Miami Beach mansion.

The ex-wife asserted that she did not nothing wrong by taking possession of the mansion even after the divorce. Her argument was that she was entitled to reside at the property due to a “verbal cohabitation agreement” she and Collins had established, according to a Daily Mail report.

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Due in part to the nature of its geographic location and its culture, Miami has a strong connection with much of the Caribbean and Latin America. While business activities in other parts of the U.S. might spill across state lines, here in Florida, business activities (and their related legal actions) often cross national borders. If you find yourself needing to undertake a legal proceeding in Florida to enforce rights you acquired in another country, you need to be sure you have the right South Florida commercial litigation attorney on your side.

A recent court battle involving a Chilean wine company is a good illustration. A Chicago-based LLC had an investment in the wine company (it had purchased 4.24 million shares) and it also had a Shareholders’ Agreement that was created to protect its interest in the wine company. The agreement stated that, if certain breaches occurred, the LLC could demand that the majority shareholders of the wine company buy back the LLC’s shares at a premium price.

Eventually, a dispute erupted related to the agreement, which led to arbitration in Chile. The Chilean arbitrator ruled in favor of the LLC and awarded it $28 million.

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Especially here in South Florida, businesses frequently find themselves doing business with entities based outside the United States. Whether your contractual partners are based in the USA or elsewhere, it is extremely important to make certain that the arbitration clause in your agreement is drafted with the utmost care. That’s because, whether you’re using Florida rules, federal rules or United Nations rules, if you’ve included provisions about how arbitration will occur (or if it is to occur at all,) the courts will generally follow what’s in that contract. This is another reminder of the profound importance of having a skilled and knowledgeable South Florida commercial contract attorney on your side as you negotiate and draft your commercial agreement, because even one seemingly small provision can have major consequences.

A recent CBD oil contract dispute from South Florida is a good example. The plaintiff was an El Salvador-based supplier of hemp-based biotechnology. The defendant was a Doral-based distributor of CBD oil products. The two entities had a distribution agreement whose arbitration clause indicated that “exclusive International Arbitration through JAMS International using UNCITRAL rules in New York.” The contract also specifically declared that a United Nations convention on International Sales of Goods did not apply.

Just four months after the two entities inked their distribution agreement, the supplier served a demand for arbitration on the distributor. Three years later, the dispute (which encompassed a mixture of contract and tort law claims) went before an arbitration panel, which found for the supplier, awarding $3.9 million in damages.

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There are many different situations in which you might need a good South Florida commercial litigation attorney. You might be a Florida corporation needing to sue for breach of contract. You might be a Delaware corporation needing to sue your commercial tenant for breaching a lease in South Florida. Or you might be an out-of-state construction subcontractor who needs to engage in arbitration in Florida or to file a Florida court action against an out-of-state contractor in order to obtain judicial confirmation of the arbitration award you just won. In any of those scenarios, having the right attorney is essential.

A recent case from Miami-Dade County is a good example. S.C., a Texas LLC headquartered in San Marcos, signed several contracts to perform construction services for a utility. The Texas LLC hired a South Dakota corporation to serve as a subcontractor on the project. The South Dakota corporation brought in a Utah-based corporation to serve as its partner. The rights and obligations of each of the three entities were governed by a “Master Agreement for Contract Services.”

The contractor allegedly fell behind in paying invoices that the subcontractor and its partner submitted, so, in accordance with the protocol dictated in the agreement, the subcontractor and its partner filed for arbitration.

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When you decide to enter into a contract to purchase (or sell) commercial real estate, you always hope the transaction proceeds seamlessly, free of any unexpected “snags,” and that both sides walk away with a completed transaction with which each is satisfied. Regrettably, not all transactions are seamless and, when problems or disputes erupt, your skilled South Florida real estate attorney may be even more valuable to you than ever. Disputes often mean litigation, and the right attorney can help you navigate that process in a way that protects your rights and business interests.

A Virginia-based LLC found itself caught in one of those non-seamless transactions where litigation took place. After it had signed a contract to purchase commercial real estate in 2016, a dispute arose, and litigation ensued.

In that legal action, the trial judge concluded that the contract had an indefinite duration. Based on that conclusion, the trial court ruled for the Miami-based seller and granted it the declaratory judgment it sought.

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