Allison L. Friedman, P.A.
Working Quickly and Aggressively
to Collect your Debts
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Aventura Debtor/Creditor And Business Law Blog

Starting a business means preparing for possible lawsuits

Starting a business can be an exciting time in any Florida resident's life. While this type of venture can be something to look forward to, individuals may also want to remember that there are also many risks that come with starting a business. Therefore, parties may want to do their best to avoid lawsuits but also prepare for the potential for litigation.

One of the biggest ways that individuals can work to protect themselves and their businesses is to pay attention to their words and their actions. There are many instances in which business owners may need to speak with the public or make announcements, and if any of those announcements are made without thorough review, it is possible that someone could consider such comments  libelous or slanderous. This type of situation could result in a serious lawsuit.

Bank of America dealing with business litigation

Running a Florida business is no easy task. In fact, in some cases, the more successful a business becomes, the more issues they are likely to face, especially when it comes to claims being filed against them. As companies grow, take on new ventures and interact with more people, they also open themselves up to the possibility of more individuals potentially becoming disgruntled with the manner in which they perceive how the companies conduct themselves. As a result, business litigation could occur.

Bank of America is no small business, but it certainly faces its fair share of issues. It was recently reported that a lawsuit was filed against the bank by the National Fair Housing Alliance and similar groups for alleged discrimination. The claims state that the bank allegedly failed to care for homes it foreclosed on in predominantly black and Latino communities, while providing maintenance for foreclosed homes in predominately white neighborhoods.

During business formation, it may be wise to consider contracts

As Florida residents get ready to move forward with creating their small businesses, they will have many factors to consider and steps to take. In particular, they may want to understand how beneficial having employment contracts in place could be. These documents could act as safeguards that any new employer may want to explore during business formation.

The information included in such a contract can vary from position to position and from company to company. In general, these contracts often involve an explanation of job duties, what actions could lead to dismissal and what types of benefits the employee may be entitled to. Some employers may also want to consider including noncompete and nondisclosure clauses as well as how intellectual property rights may apply to the employment relationship.

Business litigation: Patron files suit against Burger King

There are many types of lawsuits that could potentially come against a Florida business. While there are many that involve issues relating to unhappy employees, there is also the chance that a customer could also feel the need to file suit against a company. Whatever the type of business litigation, it is important that company owners understand their defense options.

Because any type of legal action against a business can prove detrimental, it is important to find the best way to approach the situation. Fast food giant Burger King will undoubtedly want to explore their possible options due a lawsuit recently filed against the company. Reports stated that a homeless man had visited one of the fast food establishments in 2015 and tried to use a $10 bill to purchase breakfast. However, the cashier at the time apparently thought the money to be counterfeit.

The importance of follow-through in business torts

Cash flow is a major element of any successful business. The smoother the flow, the greater the flexibility a business operator in Florida has in directing financial resources where they will do the most good.

Unfortunately, many factors can crimp movement. Disputes with partners over contracts, unpaid accounts from customers, attachments or liens on products or equipment can have deleterious effects. Many businesses have dealings that go beyond state boundaries. Global commerce increases the risk of judgments coming from foreign sources. Having legal help committed to understanding your end-to-end challenges and advocating all the way through is essential.

Executing on a Judgment for Defamation

I was recently retained to execute on a domesticated foreign judgment awarded in favor of my clients for defamation and damages. The defendant is basically uncollectible, however, my clients had me obtain a writ of execution and execute on all computers and communication devices in possession of the defendant in an effort to 'silence' her defamatory statements. Naturally, once that was completed, the defendant found access to new communication devices and has gone on a defamatory rampage against my clients.

New Rules for Fraudulent Transfers & Proceedings Supplementary

Fraudulent transfers beware! The Florida legislature has revamped the statute governing proceedings supplementary. The changes will go into effect July 1, 2016. The good news for creditors is that all the same avenues to attempt collection are still viable, including debtor examinations and actions for fraudulent transfers.  In addition, the changes clarify that the statute of limitations for fraudulent transfers remains 20 years as opposed to 4 as set forth in the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act ("UFTA").  The revisions will streamline an often confusing process both with attorneys and the courts in Florida. There is also good news for debtors and third parties. Now, instead of blanket motions for proceedings supplementary followed by a fishing expedition for transfers and assets, the creditor must describe property being held by the third party before impleading that party.  This will require that the creditor have a legitimate reason before dragging a potential third party recipient of a fraudulent transfer into court.  The new rules also require that the third party be served with a notice to appear and directs the third party to file an affidavit explaining why the asset transferred should not be turned over to the creditor.  This procedure provides the court with a process and a quick resolution of the issue.  If the third party fails to comply presumably the court will enter an order requiring the asset be turned over. 

Pre-Judgment Writs of Garnishment

Pre-judgment writs of garnishment against bank accounts and accounts payable can be very effective in collecting funds owed by a debtor. Florida Statutes §77.031 allows a creditor to obtain a writ of garnishment before serving the debtor with any notice. This collection tool is especially important if the creditor beleives the debtor will be quickly disposing of its assets. 

Appellate Court Upholds Garnishment Exemption for Non-Resident

A few months ago I handled a claim of exemption hearing for a client seeking a head of household exemption for garnishment of his wages. My client resides in another state, but his employer is a Florida corporation and was served with a writ of garnishment in Florida. My client testified at his claim of exemption hearing that he earned a salary and provided more than one-half of the support for his minor children. The creditor's counsel argued that because my client resided out of Florida, he could not use the exemption because it is only applied to Florida residents. The Court rejected his argument and granted my client's exemption. The creditor appealed the ruling to the Fourth District Court of Appeals.

Florida Protects Marital Property

Florida provides excellent protection for collection against marital property by presuming that the property is held as tenancies by the entireties. Tenancies by the entireties means that property is held by husband and wife jointly with rights of survivorship of 100% of the property without the ability to sever the property. Therefore, a creditor cannot partition any part of the property.  This allows a debtor to shield assets held jointly with a spouse. A creditor has the right to challenge the presumption but the burden is on the creditor to demonstrate that the property is not held as tenancies by the entireties to satisfy a debt due by one spouse.