Complex Business and Commercial Litigation in State and Federal Court
Some of the most common disputes between businesses involve the failure of one or more parties to comply with the terms and obligations of their respective agreements. Unfortunately, what may start out as a straightforward dispute of a party’s failure to pay or failure to perform obligations becomes a complex case involving counterclaims and defenses which the plaintiff never contemplated at the outset of the case. At Haber Slade, we analyze the facts at the outset, review potential risk of counterclaims and the types of defenses which are likely to be raised, so that in the event you chose to go into litigation, you do so with your eyes wide open. Oftentimes, the best result is to settle up front and not litigate, whereas in other cases litigation is either the only option or the means to an end of a more favorable settlement down the road. Our commitment to helping you analyze that risk reward scenario is a primary tool we utilize as part of our commitment to excellence.
We litigate all types of breach of contract claims, whether they be promissory notes, commercial landlord and tenant disputes (including evictions), construction contracts, vendor disputes over the delivery of goods or services, shareholder or partnership agreements, or other commercial contract disputes. We are adept at prosecuting and defending breach of contract claims of all types in all types of business settings. Over the years we have represented NYSE companies in such disputes, such as in the banking industry (lender/borrower), the provisions of goods and services in the aviation industry, purchases and sales and other contract disputes in the real estate industry, construction and manufacturing, as well as other types of businesses.
At Haber Slade, we search relentlessly for the other side’s “Achilles heel” in order to work proactively towards bringing litigation to a prompt, cost effective and favorable conclusion. While other litigation attorneys may meander through a case at a snail’s pace, the attorneys at Haber Slade litigate aggressively and execute on a pre-determined game plan to get to the end zone, not the red zone. We try to get to the bottom line as quickly as possible, so that you don’t spend excessive amounts of money litigating disproportionate to the value of the dispute. Simply put, we try not to “beat around the bush” and we treat you the way we want to be treated when we are receiving legal services—with promptness in our responses and communications, courteous service, sophisticated legal analysis and effective results--all for a fair price.Business Torts
A. Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Negligence Litigation
Florida has recently been recognized in the national media as the fraud capital of the United States.The attorneys at Haber Slade have been combating fraudulent conduct in South Florida through aggressive litigation for three decades. Over time, we have seen virtually every type of scam and ruse – fraudulent invoices, forged signatures, bait and switch, Ponzi schemes, financial fraud, identity theft, cyber crime, health care and insurance fraud, to name just a few. Haber Slade almost always represents Plaintiffs in these actions seeking redress and compensation when one of our clients fall victim to fraudulent conduct. Haber Slade can promptly file lawsuits in these cases and can often seek pre-judgment remedies to ensure that valuable assets in the hands of potential defendants do not disappear so that a defrauded party is more likely to recover not just a “paper judgment”, but a judgment that can be collected. Haber Slade always considers the likelihood of collection in any case it pursues and makes every effort to analyze “collectability” issues at the outset before substantial funds are expended.
Oftentimes, lawsuits for fraud claims are combined with claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, negligent supervision, and intentional or negligent interference with business relationship. Since fraud claims requiring intent to defraud are oftentimes difficult to prove and are excluded from coverage under almost all D & O policies, these other business tort claims can frequently be used as a vehicle to collect, since the defrauding perpetrators have often hidden or spent the money, and there is a chance of finding other pockets to collect from, such as the company’s insurers for negligent oversight and supervision, or breach of fiduciary duty.
B. Statutory Causes of Action
We represent businesses and individuals in matters involving conversion and civil theft, bad check lawsuits, and other statutory causes of action related to fraud or other improper activities. We always try to analyze up front the best path to recovery, or to the result you are trying to achieve. Our Firm prides itself on “getting to the bottom line” analysis as soon as possible, and communicating with the client very quickly as to any new case developments which may alter that strategy. We file actions for the appointment of a receiver where appropriate to avoid a dissipation of funds from tenants or the businesses of the Debtor, and to avoid waste of corporate assets or failure to protect the real and personal property.
Similarly there are numerous business disputes we handle involving the sale of goods under the UCC-1, as codified by Florida law, as well as transactions involving security interests or chattel paper, checks, drafts, wire transfers, ECT transfers and other banking transactions.
C. Partnership, Shareholder and Joint Venture Disputes
At times, business partners just don’t get along and, when that happens, the attorneys at Haber Slade, represent business owners in all types of disputes with their partners sometimes resolving these issues through aggressive negotiation or, when necessary, proactive litigation. We are able to see the “forests through the trees” in these areas and provide competent advice about how to reach the best result in the quickest way possible. Sometimes this requires pugnacious litigation using all the tools at our disposal--injunctions, receiverships and when necessary insolvency proceedings. Calculated, focused and targeted litigation of these matters often results in a favorable resolution. We file lawsuits for dissolution of businesses, reverse mergers, breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity, and breach of agreement. We deal with shareholder derivative lawsuits, appointment of receivers, business valuations, forced sales, liquidations, and other business disputes between shareholders, members and/or partners or joint venture partners.
D. Non-Competition and Trade Secret Litigation
For most businesses, the protection of confidences and secrets is of the utmost importance. Haber Slade represents businesses and individuals in connection with tortious interference cases, non-compete litigation and trade secret litigation. At Haber Slade, we protect businesses from their competitors who may engage in unfair or illegal competition and we represent both companies and individuals involved in non-competition issues. Haber Slade is experienced in navigating this unique and complex legal area. We have represented the company itself, as well as former shareholders/officers, former employees, or competing business owners in these fact intensive cases.
E. Invasion of Privacy, Slander and Defamation
In many business or personal settings, individuals make the mistake of making false and defamatory statements against neighbors, former colleagues or business partners, or competing business owners. Then they double down and publish it on the internet or through emails to third parties, causing damage, emotional harm and embarrassment. We have prosecuted and defended these types of claims, as we have also prosecuted and defended invasion of privacy claims.
F. Estate and Trust Litigation
Our Firm has been involved in many difficult, and oftentimes unfortunate estate and trust lawsuits, sometimes involving family members, friends, nurses, aides, employees or housekeepers, based upon claims of undue influence, fraud, duress and coercion, and similar scenarios. Competency at the time the will or trust was executed is often the issue, as is the relative incapacity and reliance on one individual for daily living. These cases involve tremendous emotional issues, with hurt feelings, anger and resentment, creating family upheaval and chaos. One such case even involves claims alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress by one sister against another for burying their mother without notifying her.
G. Large and Complex Collections Lawsuits
Many cases are complex simply because of the amount of money involved, the fight to the death attitude of the adversary and their counsel and the complications of the underlying transactions giving rise to the causes of action for money owed and debts allegedly due. These cases can be very fact intensive, involve significant and long term financial dealings, with numerous transactions over long periods of time, and each side is entrenched in their position, if for no other reason than the dollars at stake—which can sometimes cripple cash flow or cause a business to be destroyed. There are complex accountings to be completed, numerous witnesses to be interviewed and deposed, massive amounts of documentation, both in paper form and electronically. This paper and electronic discovery needs to be reviewed and analyzed for privilege and turned over where appropriate, and where not, a privilege log needs to be provided. The time and effort involved in these cases is significant, requiring strategic decisions to be made early, reviewed frequently, and updated as necessary—to give the client the best bang for the buck and the best chance of success. Since time is money, and legal fees mount quickly, it is critical to have good communication, alert and pro-active lawyering and a focus on the goal line. Our commitment is to work hard to get you into the end zone, not the red zone, as best we can under the circumstances of each case. Because results count. And while we cannot promise or guarantee results, we can tell you that we are committed in each case to provide an excellent skill level at a fair price.
H. International Litigation, Arbitration and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
The Firm has been involved in many lawsuits involving foreign proceedings with US companies or individuals where we are US legal counsel with local counsel in foreign countries. This includes litigation or business transactions in Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and the Middle East. We try to assist the client in understanding the differences in the laws of the various countries involved, with the guidance of local counsel in those countries, and we are able to substantially leverage our skills to lower the cost of the litigation or arbitration proceedings due to our negotiation of rates with local counsel, our participation in reviewing invoices for legal services, our monitoring of foreign proceedings and the coordination of those foreign proceedings with any domestic litigation or enforcement actions here in the US.
Similarly, we also work with counsel from around the US and the rest of the world to enforce foreign judgments in the federal and state courts of Florida.