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A lot of times, people will hear advice instructing them to “get it in writing” when it comes any sort of business promise they’ve received. That’s because there are far fewer situations where a written contract is unenforceable as compared to an oral agreement. While oral contracts are generally enforceable, there are circumstances where the law requires a written document in order for that agreement to be enforceable. This law is called the “Statute of Frauds” and it may be the key thing your skilled South Florida commercial litigation attorney can use to get the breach of contract case against your business thrown out.

The Florida Statute of Frauds lays out several circumstances in which, to have a valid and binding agreement, the parties are required to put their terms in writing. These scenarios include: real estate transaction contracts, agreements to pay a debt owed by another, lease agreements where the lease term extends for more than one year, contracts for the sale of goods valued at $500 or more and agreements that cannot be performed within a one-year time period.

That last circumstance — contracts that cannot be performed within one year — is one where that time restriction is a strict one, as a recent federal breach of contract case illustrates.

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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 prenuptial agreement 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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When you need to sue because your business was harmed as a result of a breached contract, there are many litigation strategies that may be available to you. One of those is presenting the court with alternate theories of liability. Using strategies like this effectively can be essential to ensuring that your business receives every opportunity to achieve a positive outcome. When it comes to deploying this and other litigation strategies in your breach of contract case, it is essential to make sure you’re using it properly within the confines defined by Florida law. Whether you have one theory or liability or several, make sure you have the right South Florida commercial litigation attorney handling your matter for you.

When you decide to present multiple theories of liability, it is important to ensure you are not seeking inconsistent remedies, as that may trigger an invocation of the legal doctrine of ‘election of remedies’ and cause your case irreparable harm.

As an example, there is a commercial lease case from South Florida. In late 2011, a tenant subleased a space to a restaurant. The agreement gave the subtenant the option to terminate the lease early, provided the subtenant supplied nine months prior written notice. If the subtenant opted to exit early, the agreement obligated it to pay an early termination penalty fee.

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Here in Florida, there are a variety of types of agreements that can be valid, enforceable contracts. Your oral agreement may constitute a binding contract. You may have a handwritten document that potentially could be an enforceable agreement. Of course, in other circumstances, that “handshake” agreement or handwritten “contract” you signed may not be enforceable at all, especially if it lacks essential terms. If you intended to create a binding agreement, the last thing you want is for it to fail for lack of some required provision, which is just one more reason (among the many others) why it pays to have legal representation from an experienced South Florida commercial contracts attorney when you’re setting up your contract.

Just because an agreement is handwritten, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid contract. On the other hand, as a group of business entities found out from a Florida appeals court recently, just because all sides signed onto a handwritten agreement, that doesn’t necessarily make it an enforceable contract, either.

That handwritten document could be many things. It could be a binding contract. Alternately, it could be simply an “agreement to agree,” or it could be not even that. The key often lies in the contents of that handwritten document.

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Making sure the commercial contract you get is the one you need involves careful attention to detail where an experienced South Florida commercial attorney can provide invaluable input. One of those things is helping you to understand what is – and what isn’t – required by your agreement, and making sure your final agreement is something that matches what you agreed to in your pre-execution negotiations.

That may all seem very easy, but, in reality, it’s often not. As an example, take a look at this case, litigated in Miami-Dade County, that involved two LLC principals. The two businessmen, J.G. and R.A., had been in business together but decided to go their separate ways professionally in March 2016. One of the key entities impacted by that decision was another LLC, “MM,” that the two principals’ respective LLCs owned equally.

To establish a written plan for this break-up, the principals created and executed a Reorganization Agreement. That contract bound the parties to pursue restructuring or liquidation of MM and to pay off an investor who MM owed $80,000. R.A. paid the full $80,000 to the investor with no input from J.G.

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Many divorces by middle-class or working-class couples without children, no matter how complex emotionally, may be relatively simple from a legal perspective. The spouses often need only to divide up a marital house, the vehicles, banking and financial accounts and basic personal property. A high-asset divorce, by contrast, is often much more complicated. The spouses may own businesses, commercial real estate, significant investments or other items with large values. If that’s you, then, as you enter this profound transition in your life, make sure you have a skilled South Florida divorce attorney by your side to protect you and ensure that you get everything you should in your divorce judgment.

When it comes to getting a divorce judgment that gives you everything that’s rightfully yours, one essential thing is to make sure your separate property is recognized as such. If, for example, you own properties that you bought before your marriage, you want to be sure that they remain 100% yours at the conclusion of your divorce process.

That was what one Tampa Bay area husband was fighting for in his recent divorce case. He had purchased several parcels of real estate prior to the marriage, and bought one more during the marriage. The husband purchased the final parcel by increasing the mortgage on the other parcels.

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When you’ve been wronged – and suffered harm – in a commercial activity, there is a great deal of decision-making in which you must engage as a result. One thing you should know, once you’ve decided to seek compensation in court, is what is – and what isn’t – a proper venue. To do that, rely on a knowledgeable South Florida commercial litigation attorney for the advice you need.

If you’ve suffered a breach of contract in Florida, any trial court in the state has jurisdiction, but not all of them are proper venues for your lawsuit. Determining which counties are proper venues is very important, especially in a state like Florida with its peculiar geography. If your business is based in Miami-Dade County, there is a massive difference in terms of the overall costs of litigating a case in the Seventeenth Circuit as opposed to the First Circuit. The Seventeenth Circuit is in Fort Lauderdale, only 30 miles away. The First Circuit, located in Pensacola, is more than 670 miles away. The latter, of course, will cost you much more in terms of both time and money.

A recent case offers insight into how this process of venue determination works under Florida law. The case involved a property restoration company, a Bay County-based subcontractor and their breach of contract dispute. The subcontractor sued in Bay County after the restoration company allegedly failed to pay sums that were due.

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The ability to keep certain proprietary information secret is essential to the well-being of many businesses. Much of those assets’ inherent economic value may derive from the fact that they are not readily known or available to the broader business community. When your business’s secret information gets stolen, co-opted or otherwise misappropriated, the economic loss for your business can be massive. Be sure to fight back promptly and aggressively. Start by retaining the services of an experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney.

When someone misappropriates your trade secrets and you have to sue, there are several evidentiary hurdles you have to clear in Florida. A recent case from right here in South Florida offers a good illustration of that.

The plaintiff was a Coral Springs-based company that provided “cruise ship entertainment production solutions,” according to its website. Along the way, the entertainment company had created a “proprietary training system and a digital tracking system used in aerial acrobatics entertainment aboard cruise ships.”

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There are a wide variety of Floridians who have the potential to find themselves facing a high-asset divorce: professional athletes, actors or models, people who have inherited massive wealth, people who own businesses or people who have accumulated substantial wealth through passive investments. For any of these people, a divorce presents the possibility that a soon-to-be ex-spouse may attempt to obtain a share of assets that were not part of the marriage and should not be subject to equitable distribution. To prevent that, be sure you have the legal representation you need from an experienced South Florida family law attorney.

A husband from Naples found himself in that kind of situation in his divorce case recently. He married in 2006 and the wife filed for divorce in 2014. During those eight years, neither the husband nor the wife “was employed or earned a wage income.” The couple lived off loans from the husband’s father, along with passive income and funds from accounts that mostly were solely the husband’s.

During the divorce litigation, the wife asserted that eight of the husband’s investment and banking accounts, along with much of the husband’s stock, were actually marital assets. The trial judge ruled in favor of the wife on six of those eight banking/investment accounts, as well as the stock.

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If you are someone to whom a business owes money and that business files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, you may begin to hold grave concerns about whether or not you’ll get paid in full… or maybe whether you’ll get paid at all. Creditors do not lose all their rights to collect just because a debtor files for bankruptcy, though. If you find yourself in that position, be sure you act without delay to retain the services of a skilled South Florida commercial bankruptcy attorney to preserve your right to collect, or at least minimize your losses.

Recently, a Tampa builder was in exactly that sort of position. The builder had inked a deal with a local veterinarian’s LLC to do approximately a half-million dollars of interior finish work on the veterinarian’s new clinic in Tampa. However, in the middle of the project, the LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The builder wisely took the step of retaining counsel and filing a claim in the bankruptcy case. In most bankruptcy cases, a creditor has only a limited period of time in which to file a proof of claim. In a Chapter 11 case, the bankruptcy judge will enter an order that sets the deadline date for that case. Soon after the court enters that order, the debtor is required to send notice to all known creditors telling them when that deadline date is.

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