The Elliot Legal Group, P.A. Offices | Fort Lauderdale and Miami

3101 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 609,
Oakland Park, Florida 33306

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Recent blog posts

broward county business lawyerThere are a variety of reasons that business partners may encounter disputes. Partners may disagree about the direction of the company, or one partner may be unhappy about how another partner has managed their responsibilities. Disputes may also involve allegations that one or more partners have acted inappropriately or illegally, such as by misappropriating a company’s funds for personal use or making decisions meant to benefit one partner at the expense of other partners or the business as a whole. When partnership disputes arise, partners will want to understand the methods that may be available to address these issues, reach agreements when possible, or determine how the end of the partnership will be handled.

Dispute Resolution Methods for Business Partners

If partners want to be able to resolve their differences and continue working together to manage their company, they may be able to work together to reach agreements on how the issues in dispute will be addressed. However, this is not always possible, and partners can often benefit by receiving assistance from outside parties. The methods of resolving disputes in these cases may include:

  • Mediation - Partners may work with a neutral mediator to determine the best ways to resolve any disputes. Since the mediator will not represent either party, they will be focused on finding ways to reach agreements on any issues that are being disputed. During mediation, the partners can make decisions about how they will address each partner’s ongoing concerns, and they may create agreements that will allow them to work together going forward. If they decide to end their partnership, they can make decisions about how this will be handled. Mediation is a cooperative process, and any decisions made must be fully agreed upon by both parties.

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illinois business lawyerWhen parties who have entered into a contractual agreement encounter disputes in which one party allegedly breached the contract terms, litigation may be required to resolve these issues. In many cases, the plaintiff in a breach of contract case will seek to recover damages from the other party, and these damages may address the losses that occurred because of the breach, including both direct and indirect losses. However, a plaintiff may also ask the court to require the defendant to take or refrain from certain actions. This is known as injunctive relief, and it will usually only be granted if a plaintiff meets specific legal requirements.

Injunctions and Specific Performance

In many cases, a contract will include an injunctive relief clause stating that one or both parties are entitled to relief to prevent them from suffering harm due to a breach of contract. If a party pursues litigation to address an alleged breach of contract, it may ask the court to issue an injunction against the other party. In some cases, temporary injunctions may be used while a case is ongoing, or a permanent injunction may be issued at the conclusion of the case.

In many cases, an injunction will prevent a party from taking certain actions. For example, if a former employee is accused of violating a severance agreement by failing to follow the terms of a non-compete clause, their former employer may ask the court to issue an injunction preventing the employee from engaging in competitive activities. Other types of injunctions, which may be known as mandatory injunctions or specific performance, may require a party to take certain actions, such as performing the work that a person agreed to do as part of a contractual agreement.

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Employment contracts, severance agreements, and other types of contracts will often contain clauses that restrict a person from taking certain actions or engaging in certain activities. These are known as “restrictive covenants,” and they are used to protect the interests of a company, ensure that its trade secrets and proprietary practices will not be disclosed, and prevent unfair competition. Restrictive covenants may include both non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. If a person is accused of violating these agreements, a company may pursue litigation to address the harm suffered due to the violation. By understanding what these agreements cover and when they may be enforced, the parties in these types of disputes can determine their best options for resolving any disputes that may arise.

Differences Between Non-Solicitation and Non-Compete Agreements

Restrictive covenants place limits on the types of business activities that a person can engage in. A company may ask employees to agree to these terms to ensure that a person will not engage in unfair business practices that may cause the company to suffer financial losses. 

Non-compete agreements will place restrictions on the types of work or business activities a person can perform. These clauses may state that a person cannot work for a competitor of the company after the end of their employment, or they may be prohibited from starting a new business that directly competes with their former employer. 

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Miami Landlord Tenant Litigation LawyerBusinesses may encounter multiple types of legal disputes, and in some cases, litigation may be required to address these issues. In some cases, these disputes may be related to a commercial lease. A landlord may need to address concerns about the actions taken by a tenant, or a business that leases space may need to take legal action against a landlord to protect its interests. In these cases, landlords and tenants can work with an attorney who is experienced in real estate litigation to determine how to resolve lease-related disputes.

Common Commercial Landlord/Tenant Disputes

Landlords and tenants may need to address multiple concerns related to a commercial lease, including:

  • Maintenance and repairs - While the terms of a lease will usually specify who is responsible for paying maintenance costs or performing repairs to a property, disagreements may arise between landlords and tenants regarding what types of maintenance are covered by the lease’s terms, who is responsible for maintenance in common areas of a property, and the extent of repairs that may need to be made to a building’s interior or exterior.

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Miami Business Contract LawyerMost businesses rely on different types of contracts to make sure agreements are legally binding. These may include vendor contracts, partnership agreements, employment contracts, and multiple other types of business-related agreements. In cases where one party does not fulfill the terms of a contract, the other party may pursue litigation to enforce the contract’s terms. However, there are some cases where it may not be possible to legally enforce a contract, and business owners will want to understand the potential issues that may make a contract unenforceable.

Making Sure a Contract Is Enforceable

A contract will need to meet a number of legal requirements, and one party may believe that the contract is invalid because it violates the law or does not include certain terms. Some issues that may affect the enforceability of a contract include:

  • Offer, acceptance, and consideration - These three elements must be included in every contract. One party must make an offer, and the other party must accept that offer. Each party must also receive consideration in return for meeting their contractual obligations, and this may include monetary payment, the receipt of goods or services, or other benefits. If these elements are not clearly defined in a contract, it may be unenforceable.

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Miami Construction Defect Litigation LawyerThere is a multitude of legal issues that commercial real estate developers will need to address, including financing, permits, and zoning laws. Construction is a major aspect of a commercial real estate development project, and in some cases, developers may encounter construction defects that affect the value of a property and the ability to use it as intended. In these cases, a developer may need to pursue litigation against a construction company, contractor, parts manufacturer, or other parties who were responsible for defects.

Reasons for Construction Defect Litigation

Construction defects may involve multiple issues. Defects may be patent, meaning that they are easily observable or can be uncovered through a routine inspection, or they may be latent, meaning that they are not immediately evident. In general, construction defect litigation may address the following types of defects:

  • Design defects - A development project will involve multiple types of plans and specifications, and defects may arise because of errors committed by architects or engineers during the planning process. These errors may occur due to failure to consider important factors such as soil quality, or mistakes may be made when creating blueprints or other plans.

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Miami  Business Litigation Lawyer

In many cases, business partners are able to work together for the benefit of themselves and their company. However, there are a variety of situations where partnership disputes may arise, and in some cases, partners may be unable to resolve these matters and continue working with each other. Disputes that cannot be resolved may lead to a “business divorce” in which partners decide to stop working together. While some partners may be able to reach an agreement on how to dissolve their partnership, others may need to pursue business litigation to protect their rights and interests.

Options in a Business Divorce

The procedures followed during a business divorce will depend on a variety of factors. These may include whether this type of situation was addressed in a partnership agreement, whether one or more partners wish to continue operating the business after a partner leaves the company, and whether a partner believes that one or more other partners have acted improperly or violated the law. Partners will also need to address issues such as liability for business debts and taxes and the methods used to calculate the value of business assets.

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Sunrise Florida Business Litigation LawyerThere are multiple reasons why a company may pursue business litigation against another company or person. In many cases, litigation will seek to address losses or other damages caused to a business by another party’s actions. Tortious interference is one issue that may arise during business litigation, and it addresses cases where another party interfered with a business’s relationships and caused the business to suffer losses. An attorney with an understanding of business law can ensure that a company will be able to address this issue properly when pursuing litigation or resolving business disputes.

What Is Tortious Interference?

Businesses may engage in a variety of activities as they work to build relationships with customers, engage in contractual agreements, and build positive reputation and goodwill in the marketplace. While some activities may be considered standard forms of competition, others may be seen as intentional attempts to cause harm to someone else. 

A business may pursue litigation against another party based on tortious interference if that party has wrongfully interfered with the business’s contractual relationships, leading to a breach of contract. Tortious interference may also involve interference with other types of advantageous business relationships in a way that causes harm to a business.

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Sunrise Florida Business Law AttorneyThere are multiple types of fraudulent activity that can affect a business. Fraud may be committed by an officer or employee of a company, another company that has misrepresented information during a transaction, or any other party that engages in theft of a company’s money or assets. These actions can result in significant losses for a company. While a person who commits fraud may face criminal charges, a company may also be able to pursue civil litigation to address the damages resulting from fraud.

Forms of Fraud That Can Affect a Business

Some common types of fraud that may be addressed through business litigation include:

  • Embezzlement - An employee, officer, or partner of a company may steal or misappropriate money or other assets belonging to the company. This type of theft may involve physically taking cash or property, redirecting a business’s funds into a personal account, or deceptive practices by one partner that deprive other partners of their rightful share of a company’s earnings or profits.

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Oakland Park Business Law AttorneyWhen operating a business, owners and partners will want to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their financial interests. In many cases, this means maintaining certain types of trade secrets that will allow them to provide value to their customers and remain competitive in the marketplace. Unfortunately, there are many situations where these trade secrets may be stolen or misappropriated and used by a company’s competitors to gain an unfair advantage. In these cases, a company may be able to pursue litigation against the parties who have stolen or trafficked in trade secrets and engaged in anti-competitive practices, while also ensuring that this information can remain confidential.

Defense of Trade Secrets in Florida

For companies in Florida, the state’s Trade Secrets Act provides a number of protections against the misappropriation or misuse of trade secrets. A company may pursue litigation against a person or company that disclosed or acquired a trade secret through methods such as theft or bribery, as well as methods of espionage such as hacking into protected computer systems or illegally accessing a company’s premises. In addition to taking legal action against a person who stole a trade secret, such as a former employee, a company may pursue litigation against another company that acquired a trade secret that they knew or had reason to know was stolen or obtained without their express consent.

The statute of limitations for litigation involving misappropriation of trade secrets is three years. A company must pursue litigation within three years after discovering that trade secrets were misappropriated or within three years after a misappropriation should have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence. During litigation, a company will need to prove that actual or potential value can be derived from the trade secrets in question and that it took reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy. A company may seek remedies including:

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Hollywood, FL Business Law AttorneyOperating a business will involve interactions with a variety of other parties, including customers, vendors, other companies, and employees. There are many situations where disputes involving these or other parties may arise. Business litigation may be necessary to resolve these issues and address losses that a company may have experienced because of other parties’ actions. If disputes related to non-compete agreements become an issue, business owners will need to understand how the law applies to these situations and how they can enforce the terms of these agreements.

Enforcing Restrictive Covenants in Florida

Non-compete agreements are often used in employment contracts or severance agreements, and they are meant to ensure that a former employee will not directly compete with their employer and use their knowledge of a company’s operations or customers in a way that negatively affects the company’s business interests. They may also be used in other situations, such as a joint venture agreement between two companies. Non-compete agreements are known as restrictive covenants because they restrict a person from working for a competitor or engaging in certain types of business activities.

If disputes involving non-compete agreements arise, Florida law details the requirements that must be met for an agreement to be enforceable. These include:

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Oakland Park, FL Business Law AttorneyEmbarking on a business partnership can leave one feeling optimistic and excited about the future. Unfortunately, not all business relationships live up to this initial hopefulness. If your partner relationship has taken a negative turn, you may have questions about your legal rights. You may wonder, “Can I sue my business partner?”

Breach of Partnership Agreement

When a partner damages the business by breaching the partnership agreement, the remaining partners may have cause for legal action against the breaching party. Breach of contract involving a partnership agreement occurs when:

  • The partner has violated one or more terms of the contract

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Oakland Park, FL Business litigation lawyerThere are multiple different types of disputes that may be addressed through business litigation. When disputes arise between business partners or the shareholders of a corporation, these cases will often involve claims that a party has committed a breach of fiduciary duty. Those who are involved in these types of disputes will need to understand their rights and obligations. By working with a skilled business law attorney, a business partner or shareholder can make sure they are taking the correct steps to resolve these issues effectively.

Understanding Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Certain parties have an obligation to act in a way that will benefit someone else. This is known as fiduciary duty, and the party who has this duty is known as a fiduciary, while the party to whom the duty is owed is known as a principal or beneficiary. Business partners have a fiduciary duty toward other partners, and a corporation’s majority shareholder has a fiduciary duty toward the other shareholders. 

A fiduciary may be accused of committing a breach of fiduciary duty if they acted in a way that benefited their own interests or the interests of a third party instead of benefiting the company. These cases may involve the claims that a fiduciary has failed to uphold one or more of the following types of obligations:

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Contract Litigation Attorney Oakland Park, FLBusinesses often rely on contracts to protect their rights and financial interests. A legally binding contract will ensure that both parties will meet their obligations, which may include making payments by a certain date, performing certain types of services, or following restrictions such as the non-disclosure of sensitive information. If one party fails to follow the terms of a contract, this can cause problems for the other party, including financial losses or the disruption of business operations. In these cases, a business may pursue litigation to address a breach of contract, and if they can show that the other party did not meet their contractual obligations, the court may award certain types of remedies.

Options for Resolving Breach of Contract Issues

When considering an alleged breach of contract, a court will look at factors such as the nature of the breach and the harm caused to one party by the other party’s failure to meet their obligations. A material breach of contract will involve a substantial failure by one party to abide by the terms of the contract, and in these cases, the other party may be released from their contractual obligations, and the breaching party may be required to take certain actions. A partial or minor breach of contract will usually involve a less significant violation of the contract’s terms, and the non-breaching party may still be required to meet their obligations, but the other party may be required to address the non-breaching party’s losses or damages.

The remedies that may be ordered by a court in a breach of contract case may include:

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Bankruptcy Attorney Oakland Park, FLStudent loans make up a significant percentage of the debt carried by people in the United States. In fact, student loan debts are second only to mortgage loans in the categories of consumer debts, and they total more than $1.7 trillion. These debts can place a significant burden on many people, and due to interest charges, collection fees, or other costs, they can last throughout a person’s entire life. Unlike many other types of debt, student loans cannot currently be discharged through bankruptcy in most cases. However, this may soon change due to a new bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate.

The FRESH START Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021

On August 3, 2021, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bill that would allow debtors to discharge student loan debts through bankruptcy in certain cases. This bill would restore an option that was available to borrowers before bankruptcy laws were changed in 1998. Under this provision, federal student loan debts would become eligible to be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding 10 years after the due date of the first loan payment. 

For student loans that have been due for under 10 years, or for private student loans made by non-governmental institutions, debts would be handled the same way they are currently, and they may only be discharged through bankruptcy if a borrower can demonstrate undue hardship. Proving undue hardship can be a difficult process, and borrowers will usually need to initiate a legal case known as an “adversary proceeding.” In these cases, borrowers will be required to provide extensive and invasive details about their finances to show that the requirement to pay student loans has caused significant financial difficulties and affected their ability to provide for their ongoing needs.

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Foreclosure Defense Attorney Oakland Park, FLMany homeowners have suffered financial setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this may have caused them to be unable to make mortgage payments. Government programs have helped protect people who have been affected by COVID-19, including allowing them to receive forbearance on mortgage payments. A moratorium on foreclosures has ensured that those who have defaulted on their mortgage will not be forced out of their homes during this emergency. However, these programs and protections are coming to an end, and lenders may soon begin initiating foreclosure proceedings for those who are delinquent on mortgage payments. To address this issue, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently implemented a temporary rule to ensure that homeowners have options for avoiding foreclosure.

Loss Mitigation Options for Borrowers

While the moratorium on foreclosures for federally-backed mortgages expired on July 31, 2021, the CFPB’s rule has generally prohibited lenders from initiating foreclosures until January 1, 2022. Foreclosures can only be initiated prior to this date if a borrower is not eligible for loss mitigation, if the property has been abandoned, or if a borrower does not respond to communications from a lender regarding loss mitigation.

Borrowers who have been affected by COVID-19 may have qualified for forbearance plans which allowed them to temporarily pause mortgage payments. However, these plans do not pause any delinquency for payments that had not been made prior to entering into a forbearance plan. Because of this, when a forbearance plan ends, lenders may be able to initiate foreclosure proceedings immediately. To address this issue, the CFPB is requiring lenders to contact borrowers between 10 and 45 days before the end of a forbearance plan and advise them of their loss mitigation options. This requirement will remain in effect until October 1, 2022.

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Business Attorney Oakland Park, FLBusiness owners have multiple options for structuring their company. During the business formation process, the selection of a business entity can ensure that a business will be able to operate correctly while providing owners or partners with protection from liability. Establishing a business as a limited liability company (LLC) can offer many advantages, including flexibility and the ability to utilize pass-through taxation. In Florida, certain types of professionals can create a professional limited liability company (PLLC), which will provide them with many of the advantages of a standard LLC.

Advantages of a PLLC

Professional services providers who require professional licenses or other forms of legal certification or authorization can establish a PLLC. These providers include:

  • Doctors, surgeons, and other medical providers

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FT. Lauderdale Foreclosure Defense Attorney MiamiThere are many reasons that families may encounter financial difficulties, and homeowners who have struggled to make mortgage payments while covering other ongoing expenses may be concerned about the possibility of foreclosure. Fortunately, there are multiple forms of relief that may allow a family to save their home, and in some cases, a homeowner may be able to do so by refinancing their mortgage.

Options for Mortgage Refinancing

A lender may begin the process of foreclosure if a homeowner has defaulted on their mortgage. A homeowner will be considered to have defaulted if they are at least 30 days past due on a mortgage payment. When this occurs, the lender will usually contact a homeowner, and they may be able to make arrangements to make up missed payments, along with any applicable late fees. In some cases, a homeowner may be able to address these issues by refinancing their home through a new mortgage loan.

When refinancing their home, a homeowner will obtain a new loan that will allow them to pay off their existing mortgage. The new loan may be created through their current mortgage lender or from a different lender. Unlike loan modifications, in which changes are made to an existing mortgage, refinancing a home will require the homeowner to pay closing costs and fees related to the creation of a new mortgage. 

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Surfside, FL Chapter 7 Bankruptcy AttorneyIf you have significant debts, bankruptcy can offer a way out of this difficult situation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the ideal choice for you, since it will allow you to complete the bankruptcy process quickly, usually within a few months. You may be required to surrender certain non-exempt assets, which will be liquidated to repay some of the debts you owe. Once the bankruptcy process is completed, any debts included in the bankruptcy will be discharged, and you will no longer be required to pay them, giving you the fresh financial start you need. However, to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet certain requirements, which are known as the “means test.”

Understanding the Chapter 7 Means Test

As the name of the means test implies, it is meant to determine whether you have the financial means to pay back some of the debts you owe. The means test has two parts, and you will need to fill out a separate form for each part:

  • Form 122A-1: Statement of Your Current Monthly Income - On this form, you will list the average monthly income you earned from all sources over the past six months. In addition to the wages you earned through employment, including tips, commissions, bonuses, and overtime pay, you will also include any alimony or spousal support payments you receive, interest from savings, dividends from investments, royalties, income from a business or rental property that you own, unemployment benefits, and income from a pension or retirement savings account. If you are married, you will also need to list your spouse’s income, even if they will not be filing for bankruptcy with you. After totaling all forms of income, you will compare this amount with the median income in your state for the number of people in your household. In Florida, the median income for one person for 2021 is $53,182. If your income is less than the median income, you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Otherwise, you will need to complete the second part of the means test.

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Ft. Lauderdale Chapter 13 Bankruptcy AttorneyThere are many types of situations where a homeowner may find themselves struggling to make their ongoing mortgage payments, and in these cases, they may be concerned that they may lose their home through foreclosure. Financial difficulties may arise because of medical debts or other unexpected costs, or the loss of a job may affect a person’s ability to pay debts and other expenses. Homeowners in these situations may consider bankruptcy as a way to eliminate their debts and regain financial stability, but they will want to be sure to understand whether they will be able to avoid the loss of their home. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the best option in these cases, and one benefit that it may provide is the ability to eliminate a second or third mortgage on a home.

Lien Stripping in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The way debts are handled during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will depend on whether they are secured or unsecured. Secured debts involve collateral that can be repossessed if a debtor defaults on their debts and these include most mortgages. However, if a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than their home is worth, any subsequent mortgages or a home equity line of credit may be considered unsecured debts.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a payment plan will be created in which the debtor will pay off as much of their unsecured debts as possible over a period of three to five years. The amount of the payments that the debtor will make during the plan will be based on their disposable income, meaning the amount that is left over after they pay their regular living expenses, as well as payments on a mortgage or any other debts that are not included in the repayment plan. Homeowners will be able to avoid the foreclosure of their home if they continue to make their mortgage payments, while also making all of the required payments in the Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

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