Commercial / Business Litigation
Our firm prosecutes and defends a wide variety of commercial and business claims in state and federal courts, and before arbitration panels. These cases may be pursued on the basis of breach of contract or fiduciary duty, tortious interference, unjust enrichment, or a variety of statutory claims. The fact patterns differ widely, but typically the stakes are quite high.
By way of example, our firm defended an international hotel company against a multi-million dollar breach of contract action brought by a manufacturer of in-room service bars. After a lengthy trial, we obtained a defense verdict. In another case, our firm successfully defended a prominent publicly traded company in a complex partnership dispute through trial and appeal. In the arbitration context, our firm successfully represented an international resort in multi-million dollar claim involving the application of St. Lucian law. And in one remarkable case, we successfully defended a commercial claim when the plaintiff brazenly committed witness tampering during trial.
Some years ago on behalf of a corporate client, we defended a multi-million dollar commercial fraud and negligence case in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. At trial during the cross examination of Plaintiff’s CFO, we were called sidebar to discuss an objection with the judge. When the sidebar ended, I was informed by a spectator that it appeared to her that the Plaintiff and the witness were exchanging text messages! I immediately brought this fact to the attention of the judge, who then directed his bailiff to confiscate the witness’ cell phone. After discovering that the witness, while under oath and still on the witness stand, had indeed been exchanging substantive texts with the Plaintiff, the judge declared a mistrial and discharged the jury.
We filed a motion to dismiss the entire case as a fraud on the court. The judge granted the motion, dismissed the case, entered final judgment, and awarded our client attorney’s fees. To my knowledge this result was the first of its kind involving the improper use of a cell phone in a civil trial.
Not all of our clients are large companies or partnerships. In many cases we represent individuals who have been victims of unsavory business practices, fraudulent dealings, unwarranted foreclosure proceedings, or even civil theft. We are frequently retained to assist in the enforcement or defense of significant money judgments. And in recent years we have become the law firm of choice for individual homeowners that find themselves embroiled in byzantine boundary disputes.
If you have ever traveled east along the MacArthur Causeway toward Miami Beach, undoubtedly you have glanced to your left at the beautiful homes on Star Island. The homes are arrayed along the nearly perfect oval boundary of the island. The shape of the island is no coincidence. Few people know this, but Star Island was created in 1917 by filling a sealed wall with dirt. It was the first manmade island in Biscayne Bay.
There is bridge from the Causeway that travels in a perpendicular direction to the Island - or so it appears. In 1919, using the most accurate methods then known, an engineering company constructed the bridge at an angle of 57.07 degrees. Subsequent to the initial construction of the bridge, however, the engineering company prepared and filed a “Plat of Star Island” that instead depicts the bridge at an angle of 60 degrees.
Our client purchased his property adjacent to the bridge in 2010. His neighbor purchased the adjoining property in 2011. After having a survey performed, which naturally relied on the official Plat, the neighbor tore down our client’s fence and claimed ownership of a valuable sliver of his property from the interior road to the bay. We had no choice but to litigate this case to the finish.
Despite the existence of an unambiguous Plat that supported the neighbors case, we persuaded the judge that location of the bridge, rather than its depiction on a Plat, controlled the case. In support of our position, we introduced into evidence a treasure trove of historical documents and photographs we obtained from the venerable engineering company that designed the bridge. Not only was the engineering company still in business, it had retained its records for almost a hundred years!
The trial judge wrote a 36 page Final Judgment entirely in our client’s favor which was affirmed on appeal. Not only did our client get his property back, since that time, our firm has handled numerous boundary dispute cases throughout South Florida.
One prominent portion of our litigation practice is devoted to the field of professional negligence including legal malpractice, an area of the law that often combines both contract and tort principles. We have achieved great success holding prominent law firms accountable for mistakes that caused millions of dollars in damages.
Because commercial and business disputes take so many forms, we try to be creative with our fee arrangements to meet the needs of our clients. Depending on the circumstances we may be able to offer reasonable hourly rates, contingency fee arrangements, or a combination of both.