How to Handle a Florida Business Dispute

Florida business disputeNo business wants to get sued or become a part of a lawsuit that could have been avoided. Florida business disputes are settled much more pleasantly when the proper actions are taken before, during, and after the incident arises. In addition to avoiding litigation, the following tips are business practices that all entrepreneurs should implement to ensure professionalism, consistency, and customer satisfaction in their business:

1. Establish and maintain good relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, and business partners. A dispute will be much easier to settle outside of court if you maintain a good relationship with the opposing party. Litigation often causes rifts in relationships, and the need to avoid these rifts could aid you in avoiding litigation.
2. Know who you are doing business with. Persons and businesses with a history of entering into litigation are much more likely to engage in litigation in the future when a Florida business dispute arises.
3. Put every agreement in writing and do not sign a contract or agreement unless you know what you are signing. This will ensure that both parties understand both their responsibilities and the responsibilities of the other party. Additionally, if the agreement is in writing, then the parties will be able to refer to the agreement if a Florida business dispute arise. It is usually a good idea to have an experienced Florida contract attorney draft or review the agreement before you sign the document.
4. Purchase orders and standard agreements are another form of contract, and it is equally important to ensure these documents reflect your current business practices and the most recent laws. A Florida contract attorney will be able to properly review and revise these documents for you and your company.
5. You should maintain written files and documentation of your business relationships. If the relationship is not properly documented, then a “he-said, she-said” situation can easily arise and cause confusion. If a Florida business dispute should arise that requires litigation, this document trail will be important evidence in the process.

When a dispute arises, it is important to address the issue immediately so that it does not escalate. Many cases that proceed to litigation could have been avoided or settled if properly handled from the onset. One of the best examples of this is when a customer complains. The manner in which you handle this complaint could not only keep your company out of litigation, but it offers an opportunity for your company to exemplify its customer service. If you are able to transform a disgruntled customer into a happy customer, then they are much more likely to use your business in the future.

Source: Business Journal

Collect on a Foreign Judgment in Florida

Foreign judgmentIf you have received a foreign judgment in another state or country and the defendant owns property or other assets in Florida, then Boyer Law Firm, P.L. can assist you to domesticate the judgment to Florida. This will allow you to collect the monies owed to you.

A judgment issued in another state can be domesticated in a Florida Court. This is due to the Florida Domestication of Foreign Judgments Act.

Once the foreign judgment has gone through the domestication process, it will be recognized by the Florida Courts System, and a Florida Final Judgment will be issued. This final judgment will allow us to collect the monies owed to you. This can be done through placing a lien or garnishment on the property or other assets of the defendant.

A lien is an official claim or charge placed on a property for payment of a debt.

A garnishment is the process of petitioning and obtaining a court order directing a third party (usually a bank or employer) to hold funds of the debtor in order to pay the monies owed to the creditor (plaintiff).

In order for these monies to be collected through the Florida Court System, the defendant must have property or other assets in Florida.

Collect on a Final Judgment in Florida

Florida Final JudgmentScenario: You sued someone and won! Congratulations!

Now, how do you get your money? It is more than likely that the opposing party is not going to just hand over the money, otherwise there would not have been a suit in the first place.

The judicial system has accounted for this by allowing prevailing parties and attorneys to collect the monies through liens and garnishments. However, in order to place a lien or garnish wages in Florida, the judgment must be a Florida Final Judgment.

There are two ways to obtain a Florida Final Judgment:

  1. The case took place in Florida and a Florida court issued the judgment
  2. A final judgment was entered in another state or country and the judgment was domesticated to Florida.

If you have a judgment in another state or country, you should hire an attorney experienced in domesticating foreign judgments, as properly enacting this legal procedure is vital to being able to collect monies through a lien or wage garnishment.

If you have received a final judgment against a person who lives, works, or owns assets in Florida, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s international law attorneys today.

What Documents Do I Need to File a Florida Civil Lawsuit?

What Documents Do I Need to File a Florida Civil LawsuitWhen you contact a Florida civil litigation attorney for a Federal or Florida civil lawsuit, it is important to gather all of the information you have regarding the matter first. This information should include any and all contracts, emails, other correspondence, and any other documents that demonstrate your claim(s).

Having all the information up front will benefit you in at least two ways:

–          The attorney you contact will be better equipped to analyze your situation and decide the best way to proceed

–          You will ultimately save time, and therefore money, when the case proceeds to the Florida litigation discovery process, which can be very overwhelming.

Each Federal or Florida litigation case is separate and will require different document production, but these items are usually a good place to start. If you believe you have a claim against another party and are considering filing a Florida civil lawsuit against them, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s litigation attorneys today to see if and how we can assist you.

What is a Breach of Contract in Florida?

breach of contract in floridaA contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is intended to be enforceable by law. When one of the parties does not perform their obligations under the contact, then a breach of contract occurs.

In order for a breach of contract in Florida to exist, the following must be true:

–          There is a contract that was entered into by both parties (It is always better if this contract is in writing.);

–          There was a breach of that contract; AND

–          The second party incurred damages as a result of the first party’s breach of contract. (The damages incurred MUST be a result of the breach.)

A contract is an agreement that is intended to be enforced by the courts. Therefore, if you have entered into a contract with someone, they breached the contract, and you suffered damages as a result, then you have a right to sue the other party for the actual damages your suffered and, in some cases, punitive damages (punishment damages).

If you have been a victim of a breach of contract in Florida, then Boyer Law Firm can help. Our civil litigation attorneys have handled all types of breach of contract cases for all types of contracts.

Negligence in Florida

Negligence in FloridaNegligence law was originally created in response to the Industrial Revolution when railroads, factories, machinery, and new technology increased injuries to people and caused harm to their property.

Negligence in Florida is a failure to use reasonable care, with harm to another party occurring as a result. For example, if John pulls the trigger on what he thinks is an unloaded gun and inadvertently shoots Jane, than John has negligently harmed Jane.

Negligence law was formed under the belief that members of society should act in ways that avoid the creation of unreasonable risk of harm to others.

In order for a negligence claim to exist, the following must apply:

  1. The defendant owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiff.
  2. The defendant breached that duty
  3. The plaintiff suffered injury or loss.
  4. That breach was the direct cause of that injury or loss.

If you have been negligently harmed by a person or entity, or you are being sued for negligence in Florida, contact Boyer Law Firm’s civil litigation attorneys today.

 

Defamation: Slander and Libel

Defamation in Florida | Defamation Attorney Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami | Libel Lawyer | Slander LawyerDefamation can be a criminal or civil offense. It is a false statement that harms another persons’ reputation by decreasing the respect, regard or confidence in which the person is held. Disparaging or hostile opinions are also considered defamation.

According to Florida law, there are two different types of defamation: libel and slander. Libel refers to written or printed defamation, and slander usually refers to spoken defamation. However, today most Courts will treat defamatory statements on television, radio, or the internet as libel.

The law treats libel and slander differently because libel is more permanent by its very nature. Traditionally, plaintiffs have been able to recover for libel without proof of special damages (harm to reputation or actual harm).

In order for a statement to be defamatory, it must:

–          Be false: Truth is always a complete defense against libel
–          Be “Of and Concerning” the Plaintiff: This issue usually arises in fictional and satirical accounts.
–          Be “published.” The defendant’s communication of the defamatory statement to a person other than the person being defamed is considered publication in a defamation suit.

Defamation law can be very complicated. There are many defenses to defamation and many instances when it does not apply, such as litigation privilege. Be careful what you say, especially in print. If you feel that someone is defaming you or you are being sued for defamation, contact Boyer Law Firm’s civil litigation attorneys today.

Florida and Federal Trademarks and Service Marks

Florida and Federal Trademarks and Service MarksWhen you register a trademark or service mark, the first thing to decide is if you should register the mark with the Florida State Government, Federal Government, or both. A Florida trademark attorney can assist you in making this decision as well as assist you in applying for the mark.

Although you can establish your right to a trademark or service mark through its use in commerce without registration, owning a federally-registered trademark or service mark can provide you with the following advantages:

–          There is a public notice of your claim to ownership of the mark.
–          There is a legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration.
–          You have the ability to bring forth a lawsuit in Federal court if someone has infringed upon the mark.
–          The federal registration will be useful, should you choose to register your mark in foreign countries.
–          You can record the registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service to prevent the importation of foreign goods that infringe on the trademark.
–          You will be listed in the United State Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.
–          If you do not federally register your mark, you may use the “TM” (trademark) or “SM” (service mark) designations. You may only use the “®” symbol after the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has registered the mark.

The Federal trademark process is complicated and can take a year, or a few years, to process. Hiring a trademark attorney is recommended, as legal issues may arise throughout the process.

Florida trademarks are less expensive than filing a federal trademark, and they have fewer requirements, but a Florida trademark, or any other state trademark, is superseded by a Federal trademark, if one exists. Florida trademarks allow the owners to bring suit in a Florida court for infringement on the mark.

If you need help registering your Florida or Federal trademark or service mark, contact Boyer Law Firm’s trademark attorneys today. Our litigation attorneys can also assist you in both Florida and Federal court if your mark has been infringed upon.

 

The New Florida E-Filing System

Florida E-filing | Florida Civil Litigation Attorney Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami | Boyer Law Firm, PLThroughout the state of Florida, filing court document and official records through the new Florida e-filing system is becoming the new norm, and Boyer Law Firm is on the bandwagon!

“The beauty of electronic filing is that attorneys can file documents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year,” said Jackson County Clerk of Courts Dale Rabon Guthrie. “E-filing is absolutely awesome!”

On April 1, the Florida Supreme Court mandated that all attorneys file documents electrically including probate cases and civil cases heard in both circuit and county civil courts. Florida is one of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide electronic filing system.

By embracing the new Florida e-filing system, Boyer Law Firm is able to process matters faster and more efficiently, benefiting our clients by saving them time and money because we no longer have to wait for the slow process of “snail mail.” As we continue into the 21st Century, we can expect the courts to slowly embrace increasing technology, and we will be right alongside them.

The next major revision to the Florida e-filing portal is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Source: Jackson County Floridian

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Contracts and Minors

Contracts with MinorsThe law gives minors the ability to void the contracts based solely on their age, even if they misrepresented their age to the other party.

In order to void the contract, the minor must still be under the age of 18. Once the individual is no longer a minor, the contract is ratified, becomes legally viable, and can be held up in court. If a minor chooses to void a contract, they must void the whole thing; they cannot void one part and agree to another.

Additionally, if the contract included the purchase of goods, the items or money must be returned when the contract is voided. If there is damage to the goods, such as the purchase of a car, the minor must pay restitution. If a minor chooses to void a contract and does not return the goods, they could face criminal charges.

There are certain exceptions when a minor cannot void a contract. These include:

–          Sports or Entertainment Contracts
–          Contracts for goods that are necessary to the health or safety of the minor
–          If the minor has been married

Before entering into a contract with someone, especially if you think they may be a minor, you should check the person’s identification if they are not known to you, consider asking for a co-signer, and have a business law attorney review the contract before you sign it.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Civil Litigation Suit at St. Joseph’s London hospital

freeimage-3991272In 2008, St. Joseph’s London hospital was named one of the top 100 cardiac hospitals in the country by Thompson Reuters, but that reputation has quickly taken a turn for the worse. Nearly 400 people are suing St. Joseph’s London hospital in Kentucky, and 11 of their cardiologists, claiming the hospital conspired to perform unnecessary cardiac procedures.

After suffering through at least 24 heart procedures over 20 years at St. Joseph’s, Edward Marshall, a disabled former meat cutter and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, decided enough was enough. He went to see a specialist in Lexington, Dr. Michael R. Jones, who told Marshall that his most recent procedure was unnecessary because the blockage was too small. Further investigation found that these unnecessary procedures had been performed on many of the other patients at St. Joseph’s.

In addition to the alleged harm caused to all of these patients, perhaps the most detrimental is the decreasing amount of trust that people can place in doctors today. We expect that after all of their training, we should be able to trust our doctors. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is not the case.

The suit alleges that two patients died, others will be required to take dangerous blood-thinning medications for life, and the patients are at risk of other potentially fatal complications. The hospital is currently under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office.

If you have doubts about a diagnoses or procedure your doctor wants to perform, get a second opinion. If you have already had an unnecessary procedure, you should contact an attorney immediately to find out your rights.

Source: Courier Journal

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Business Piracy of Intellectual Property

Business piracy is the unauthorized use of intellectual property owned by a business. Business piracy is stealing.

Theft of intellectual property costs businesses in Florida and throughout the United States billions of dollars per year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). On their website they state that intellectual property theft is the top priority of their cyber program.

Due to the internet, business piracy occurs on an international level, and the lax laws in some countries make it harder to enforce.

business piracyBecause of this, the California Bar Association lists some tips to help businesses prevent business piracy. These tips include:

  1. Employment contracts should have certain provisions to protect your intellectual property
  2. Use strict procedures when dealing with licensing
  3. Keep detailed minutes of all meetings
  4. Keep records of who is privy to the intellectual property
  5. Share the intellectual property with others strictly on a need to know basis

Although you can never be fully protected from business piracy in this day and age, these tips will help minimize the likeliness of it to occur, and if you are pirated, you will have detailed records that will aid you and your attorney in the litigation process.

Sources: CEB Blog ; FBI

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Fake Attorneys

freeimage-5553348With the invention of the internet, it is very easy for people to misrepresent themselves as lawyers.

In Arkansas, Anthony Calderon is accused of defrauding non-English speaking immigrants and taking their money. In New York, Terence Kindlon Jr. was indicted for practicing law without a license and filing false documents while unlawfully representing a criminal defendant.

If you are not a licensed attorney, giving legal advice is a third-degree felony.

When you are looking for an attorney, it is important to do your homework. At the very least, be sure that your attorney is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, and that they are eligible to practice in the jurisdiction your case requires. Also, be sure that your matter matches the areas of law they practice.

Sources: Channel 5 ; Law Updates

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Florida and Federal Civil Litigation

Unlike criminal cases, which seek to punish the defendant, civil litigation cases seek to remedy the plaintiff of a wrongdoing, usually through a monetary reward. Both Plaintiff and Defendant can be an individual, a non-profit organization, or a business.

Civil litigation trials can be decided by a jury, through mediation, or both parties may agree to let a judge hear the case and make the decision.

Common civil cases include:Civil Litigation

–          Malpractice
–          Contract Law
–          Intellectual Property Law
–          Product Liability
–          Defamation Suits
–          Debt Settlement
–          Class Action Suits
–          Employee grievances
–          And many more

The litigation process in Florida is a complex system. Many people underestimate this complexity, attempt to represent themselves in these cases, and very quickly get in over their head.

Pleadings, pre-trial motions, depositions, motions, and appeals can all be very hard to handle without the right experience. That is why it is important to hire an attorney to represent you, whether you be the complaining party (Plaintiff) or the Defendant. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we represent both Plaintiffs and Defendants in these cases.

“He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” -Proverb

Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation

Mediation is becoming increasingly popular in Florida courts; it is estimated that 75% of all cases in Florida are settled through mediation.

Mediation and arbitration are both alternatives to litigation, the process of presenting your case before a judge or jury.

When arbitration occurs, both sides present their case to the arbitrator, who then makes a decision. Once that decision is made, it is final and usually legally binding. Mediation allows both sides to discuss their issues and try to come to some kind of agreement together. The mediator’s job is not to make a decision but to facilitate a discussion. It is the job of the parties involved to come to a mutually beneficial compromise.

AgreementMediation can be court-mandated by a judge before the dispute goes to trial, or the involved parties can choose to go to mediation on their own. It is a good option to consider before bringing a case to trial and incurring all the financial and emotional hardships that come with litigation.

If mediation does not work and the case does happen to go to trial, Mr. Boyer is licensed to practice law in all Florida courts.

Source: FindLaw

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Technology of a Large Florida Firm, Personality of a Small Florida Firm

Clarity Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Whether you’re going to buy groceries or hiring an attorney, costs and fees are always a concern. That is why we at Boyer Law Firm insist on a written fee agreement with you, the client. We have hourly, contingency and flat fee rates, and we offer convenient online payments with Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal.

We take time to explain any questions that our clients may haven order to provide comfort for you and confidence in our firm.

Technology

We maintain all of our files in electronic format using the latest technology available to large firms, which we have chosen to acquire. Every document is scanned within 24 hours, read,Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com analyzed, and processed. We will often email you the document as well in order to keep you updated on your case. We want to make sure that we are providing for you, our client.

We have subscriptions to online, specialized legal software to access the most up-to-date legal information, case laws, and statutes that may be relevant to your case.

Our central server allows our staff to access information and documents relevant to your case from anywhere, anytime, including while in court, while traveling, and even overseas!

Our case management software allows us to schedule with greater precision. This allows us to not only stay on top of your case, but also to plan well ahead of deadlines imposed by law.

Personality

Because we are a small firm, we are able to build a lasting relationship with our clients. We understand that legal matters usually take an emotional toll on all parties involved, and we strive to show compassion in every case.

If you need legal representation regarding business law, international law, immigration, real estate or estate planning, please contact us today.

Social Media Discovery

While many people are now conscious of what they say in emails, the same does not always remain true for other forms of social media including status updates, tweets and instant messages.  As these methods of communication become more useful in today’s business world, courts have also recognized their importance to the discovery process.

As of September 1, 2012, such messages from social media and any type of Electronically Stored Information, or “ESI”, will be discoverable during the course of litigation in Florida state courts.  With this change the Florida Rules more closely reflects the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  This rule now opens the possibilities of obtaining admissions or agreements of parties, while also providing limits on costs, so courts may address the reasonableness of such practices.

Source: “In Florida, Twitter and Facebook Updates are Discoverable,” Wendy Polit and Jose Ferrer.

Be Careful What you Post on Facebook, It May Just be Discoverable

Facebook is a huge new era for social networking that may have a number of positive aspects for certain social networkers, however it also carries with it significant risks, especially in litigation.

It is very important for clients to realize that the content they share, even if hidden by privacy filters, may very well used against them in litigation.

A majority of courts have required the party seeking to introduce the private content placed on Facebook, to make a threshold showing that their adversary’s public Facebook profile includes content relevant to the case. See, McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, Inc. and Zimmerman v. Weise Markets, Inc.

If you are involved in any litigation matter you should be careful what you write, how much you write and what kind of pictures you post on your social network.