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

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

*Licensed in England and Wales, Florida and Washington D.C.

Fort Lauderdale

754-332-2101

Miami

305-399-3832

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IL business lawyerBusinesses may become involved in multiple types of disputes with other parties, and in some cases, these disputes may need to be resolved through the legal system. By filing a civil lawsuit against an organization or individual, a business may seek to recover financial losses, or it may ask that the other party be required to cease certain activities or fulfill their legal obligations. For businesses that are planning to take legal action against someone else or need to respond to a lawsuit filed against them, it is important to understand the stages of the business litigation process.

Steps Followed in a Civil Lawsuit Involving a Business

A legal dispute that is handled in civil court will usually proceed as follows:

  • Demand letter - Prior to initiating a lawsuit, a person or business will usually send a letter to the other party asking them to take certain actions. For example, a company may request that money owed by another party be paid according to the terms of a contractual agreement. This will give the other party the opportunity to resolve the issue before legal action is taken, and the parties may be able to negotiate an agreement at this stage.
  • Complaint, summons, and response - If the other party does not answer the demand letter, or if the parties cannot come to an agreement on how to resolve their dispute, the plaintiff may initiate a lawsuit by filing a complaint in court. This complaint and a summons to appear in court will be served to the defendant. The defendant may also file a response to the complaint, and in some cases, they may choose to file a counter-claim against the plaintiff.
  • Discovery - At this stage of the process, the parties will gather information pertaining to the case. They may do so through interrogatories or requests for information from each other. Subpoenas may also be used to obtain financial records or other information, and depositions may be performed in which either party may answer questions after being placed under oath.
  • Negotiations or alternative dispute resolution - Before a trial begins, the parties may be able to negotiate a settlement and resolve the case. They may also choose or be required to use other methods of resolving their dispute, such as mediation or arbitration.
  • Trial - If other forms of dispute resolution fail, the parties will argue their case in the courtroom before a jury. Each side will make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury will rule in favor of the plaintiff or defendant, and they will determine the actions that the losing party will be required to take, such as paying a monetary judgment.

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Business Litigation Attorney

At The Elliot Legal Group, P.A., we provide representation to plaintiffs and defendants who are involved in business litigation. We can help you determine the best steps to take to protect your rights and interests, and we will work to help you negotiate a settlement or argue on your behalf in the courtroom. Contact our Hollywood business litigation lawyers at 754-332-2101 to get legal help with business disputes.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_605950769.jpgAt The Elliot Legal Group, P.A., we work to provide our clients with knowledge of how the laws affect them and the legal issues that they may need to address when dealing with matters such as business litigation, real estate transactions, and bankruptcy. The blogs we publish address these issues and offer helpful information, and we wanted to highlight the most-read blogs from the past year:

  1. What Is the Status of Florida Evictions and Foreclosures Due to COVID-19? - The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to play a significant role in people’s lives, and those who have experienced financial difficulties may need to determine their options if they are facing a foreclosure on their mortgage or an eviction due to an inability to pay rent. 

  2. How Can Florida’s Homestead Exemption Benefit Me? - Homeowners who file for bankruptcy will need to determine whether the equity they own in their home will be exempt from liquidation. This blog also looks at the tax exemptions that may be available to homeowners in these cases.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_120064627.jpgBusinesses use contracts for a variety of purposes, and these agreements can ensure that both parties fully understand their rights and requirements while also detailing how matters will be handled if one party fails to follow the terms of the agreement. In a previous blog, we looked at the elements needed to make sure a contract is valid and enforceable. As a follow-up, we wanted to discuss the terms that may be included in a contract to protect the parties and ensure that they will meet their obligations.

Types of Clauses That May Be Used in Business Contracts

A contract will detail the rights and duties that apply to each party, and it will also specify relevant dates, such as when work will be completed or products will be delivered. It will also include information about payment, including the amount that will be paid and the methods and dates of payments. In addition to this information, the parties may include a number of other clauses that address issues such as:

  • Severability - These clauses will ensure that a contract will be enforceable even if certain terms are found to be invalid. Without this type of clause, if one provision of the contract is found to be unenforceable, the entire contract may be invalidated.

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Ft. Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyerOwning and operating a business will involve a variety of agreements with other parties. When these agreements take the form of contracts, they will be legally binding, and both parties will be required to meet certain obligations or face consequences. By understanding what makes a contract a legal agreement and the elements that should be included in a contract, business owners can make sure they understand their obligations and have the protections they need.

Legal Elements of a Contract

For a contract to be valid and legally binding, it must function as an agreement in which one party makes an offer, and another party accepts that offer. This may be a straightforward offer, such as stating that goods or services will be provided at a certain price, or a contract may involve a more complex offer in which both parties will have obligations. After an offer is made, the other party may agree to the offer, or they may make a counteroffer. The parties may negotiate to finalize the details of each party’s obligations.

A contract must also include consideration or something of value that is exchanged between the parties. Consideration will often involve a monetary payment made by one party in exchange for goods or services provided by the other party. However, it may also involve other types of actions, such as the right by one party to use the other party’s intellectual property in exchange for performing services. 

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Orange County Employment Litigation Lawyers

There are a variety of situations where employers and employees may become involved in legal disputes. When employees believe that they have been treated unfairly or that an employer has taken actions that are illegal, they may pursue litigation to address these issues. By understanding the potential reasons that employees may take legal action, employers can take steps to prevent these issues or resolve any disputes that may arise. In some cases, employers may be able to resolve disputes with employees through mediation or by negotiating a settlement, while in others, litigation may be necessary, and an employer will need to address these matters in the courtroom before a judge or jury.

Issues That May Be Addressed in Employment Litigation

Disputes between employers and employees often involve issues such as:

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Orange County breach of contract lawyer

Contractual issues are one of the most common reasons why a company may pursue business litigation. Entering into a legal contract with another party will put protections in place, and both parties will be required to fulfill the terms of their agreement. However, there are many situations where one party may violate a contract’s terms, and they may do so out of negligence, such as by performing substandard work; because of circumstances beyond their control; or in an intentional attempt to cause the other party to suffer financial harm. Different types of contract breaches may be approached differently, and business owners will need to understand how the laws will address these types of breaches during litigation.

Minor Breach Vs. Material Breach

The way a contract dispute will be approached will usually depend on the seriousness of the alleged breach. In a minor breach of contract, a party may partially fulfill some of the contract’s terms while failing to fully meet their obligations. For example, a purchase contract may state that goods will be delivered by a certain date, but the vendor may only be able to deliver 90 percent of what was ordered by that date. In these cases, the parties may be able to reach an agreement on how to resolve these issues, such as by offering a discount on the 10 percent of the goods that were not delivered on time.

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Orange County non-disclosure agreement lawyerSuccessful businesses often spend years, if not decades, figuring out the most effective business strategies, establishing vendor and client relationships, and creating profitable products and services. Understandably, businesses want to protect this valuable information from falling into the wrong hands. Non-disclosure agreements, or confidentiality agreements, are an important legal tool for protecting trade secrets, intellectual property, and other proprietary information. Unfortunately, non-disclosure agreement violations can happen, and confidential information may be leaked to other parties.

Violation of a Florida Non-Disclosure Agreement

Non-disclosure agreements can be valuable legal instruments for businesses that want to protect confidential information. Unfortunately, including a non-disclosure agreement in an employment contract does not always prevent violations of the agreement.

Employee breaches of contract may involve:

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Non Compete Lawyer Broward County

For many employers, non-compete agreements provide essential protections. These agreements ensure that employees who have gained a knowledge and understanding of a company’s business practices and trade secrets cannot use this information to engage in unfair competition by working for a competitor or starting their own competing business. In some cases, a business may need to pursue litigation to enforce non-compete agreements and address violations that have resulted in financial losses or other issues that have affected a company’s ability to operate successfully. However, the ability to do so may change in the future as new laws and regulations are implemented that affect non-compete agreements.

Potential Limitations on Non-Compete Agreements

Some advocates believe that non-compete agreements place unfair restrictions on workers, limiting their ability to change jobs, pursue opportunities, and increase their income. To address this issue, multiple states have passed laws restricting non-compete agreements in certain situations, such as for employees under a certain income level. For employers in Florida, non-compete agreements are generally enforceable as long as their restrictions are reasonable and they are necessary to protect a company’s legitimate business interests.

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Illinois business litigation lawyer

The free market is based on healthy competition, and businesses can succeed by competing with each other to provide quality goods and services to consumers at the best prices. However, there are many cases where companies may attempt to unfairly influence the market and increase their profits by discouraging or eliminating competition. If a company has suffered harm because of another company’s anti-competitive practices, it may be able to pursue business litigation to address this issue.

Antitrust Lawsuits

Cases that address unfair practices meant to reduce competition are known as antitrust cases, and they may be filed in response to issues such as:

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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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