Success in your commercial litigation matter is often made of many smaller “wins” leading up to ultimate victory. These can cover a variety of issues from discovery disputes to where the case will be tried. Each one of these smaller items can be the thing that ultimately proves to be the key to success, which is why it is essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced South Florida commercial litigation attorney on your side from the very start.
For one defendant in a breach of contract matter, the “win” it sought related to where the case would proceed.
The underlying dispute involved a retirement plan fiduciary and an administrative services provider, P.F.S., with which it contracted. According to the fiduciary, P.F.S. improperly reached out to retirement plan sponsors and solicited them to work directly with P.F.S., which would have the effect of cutting the fiduciary out of those clients’ business.
As a result, the fiduciary sued P.F.S., alleging a violation of the non-solicitation clause within the parties’ agreement. P.F.S. argued, in its defense, that it had made the alleged contacts, but that its conduct did not constitute a breach of the parties’ contract. According to P.F.S., the non-solicitation provision only barred it from contacting businesses as a plan administrator and, while it made contacts, none of its contacts violated that rule.
The fiduciary brought the lawsuit in state court in Alabama, and the case was later moved to the federal court for the Northern District of Alabama. After that, P.F.S. made a request to move the case to the federal court for the Southern District of Florida.
The Proof that Will Help You Get Your Case Moved
When you find yourself in need of moving a case from one place to another, such as moving from one federal district court to a different federal district court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that there are several factors that you may argue to prove that your case should be moved. That list includes: “the convenience of the witnesses; the location of relevant documents and the relative ease of access to sources of proof; the convenience of the parties; the locus of operative facts; the availability of process to compel the attendance of unwilling witnesses; the relative resources of the parties; a forum’s familiarity with the governing law; the weight accorded a plaintiff’s choice of forum; and trial efficiency and the interests of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances.”
In this lawsuit, P.F.S. had a compelling case for moving the lawsuit to South Florida. P.F.S. had no offices in Alabama, had no employees who resided in Alabama, did not solicit business in Alabama and its employees did not travel to Alabama on business. Furthermore, P.F.S. conducted all its business operations in Florida and all of its corporate books and records were located in Florida.
On top of those things, the two sides’ contract contained a choice-of-law clause that said that disputes would be resolved using Florida law, which also weighed in favor of having a court in Florida decide the matter.
Altogether, these things were enough to “tip the scale” in favor of moving to the case, so the judge in Alabama granted the request and sent the case to the Southern District of Florida.
There’s so much that goes into building a successful result in a breach of contract case. Each victory, whether seemingly great or small, can be the difference between winning or defeat, so you need the right legal team and you need them right from the beginning. Rely on the South Florida commercial litigation attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman to be the sort of powerful and persuasive advocate your business needs for success.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation.