Articles and information on commercial litigation, business disputes, real estate litigation. Call (954) 440-0901, (561) 406-0440, (813) 510-5800

Florida Business Litigation: Federal Court Subject Matter Jurisdiction

November 13, 2020

By: Justin C. Carlin, Esq.

Many Florida business litigation and Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach commercial litigation lawyers file lawsuits in state court without recognizing that the lawsuit may be filed in federal court. Litigating cases in federal court may sometimes be preferred because, among other things, federal judges generally have fewer cases than state court judges (and, therefore, may have greater resources to devote to the case) and implement scheduling orders (see Fed. R. Civ. P. 16) to ensure that the case will be tried within a reasonable time (e.g., 18 months). On the other hand, in state court, there are often no scheduling orders, and the rules for amending pleadings are more liberal, often making the proceedings more protracted (i.e., at least twice as long). If federal court may be preferred, how does one get into federal court?

There are two ways in which a federal court may have subject matter jurisdiction over a case. The first is so-called “federal question” jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which provides that “district courts shall have jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” The other is diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, which permits a federal court to preside over matters where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00 and the dispute is between citizens of different states. Complete diversity is required, meaning that no defendant may be a citizen of the same state as a plaintiff.

A business entity’s “citizenship” is determined by its state of incorporation or where its place of business is located—i.e., its “headquarters” or “nerve center,” where its directors, officers, or managers control the entity. See Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77 (2010). For partnerships and limited liability companies, however, citizenship is determined by the individuals who control the entity—namely, its partners and members. Finally, when a decedent’s estate is a party to the litigation, citizenship is determined by the estate in which the decedent was a citizen; the personal representative’s citizenship is irrelevant.

If you’re in need of representation in a federal business dispute, call a Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach business lawyer at (954) 440-0901 for assistance. The Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach business lawyers at The Carlin Law Firm, PLLC represent individuals, corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships with litigating federal business disputes throughout the State of Florida.

Member-Initiated Florida LLC Litigation: Direct Actions Versus Derivative Actions

June 7, 2017

By: Justin C. Carlin

Florida LLC Litigation: Theft or Other Misconduct by a Managing Member of an LLC

In the context of Fort Lauderdale business litigation, some members of Florida limited liability companies, also known as “LLCs,” learn that the managers or other members of the LLC have wrongfully taken funds from the company, or have otherwise harmed the company by breaching their fiduciary duties to the company.  When this happens, the members’ ownership interests in the company—which entitles them to distributions of the company’s profit—are usually dramatically reduced or completely eliminated.  Understandably, these members may wish to sue the managers and members whose conduct caused their losses. READ MORE

A “Notice of Lis Pendens”: A Valuable Tool in Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Litigation

May 4, 2017

By: Justin C. Carlin

A common dilemma in Florida real estate litigation is preventing the property that is the subject of a lawsuit from being dissipated during the lawsuit.  For example, if A invested money to purchase real estate purchased by B, and B endeavored to sell the property without providing with his proportionate share of the sale proceeds, what could A do to prevent the sale of the property during the pendency of his lawsuit against B for breach of contract? READ MORE

Florida Probate & Estate Litigation: Contested Incapacity/Guardianship Hearings

August 15, 2018

By: Justin C. Carlin, Esq.

Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes outlines the procedures for having someone declared legally incapacitated and appointing a “guardian” to make some or all decisions for the alleged incapacitated person (referred to as an “AIP”).  This process is known as “involuntary guardianship.”  The process begins when the person alleging incapacity files in Circuit Court both a petition to determine incapacity and a petition for the appointment of a guardian.  READ MORE

Florida Business Litigation: Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, and Limited Liability Limited Partnership. What is the difference?

August 29, 2018

By: The Carlin Law Firm, PLLC

A limited liability partnership (an “LLP”) offers a major advantage to a common law partnership, in that partners in a LLP are not personally liable for the LLP’s obligations.  A LLP is governed by the rules of the Revised Uniform Partnership Act (“RUPA”), except that, if a limited liability partnership also is a limited partnership, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (“ULPA”) will govern all issues dealing with the limited partnership. READ MORE

Florida Probate and Trust Litigation: Custodial Accounts and the Florida Uniform Transfer to Minors Act

February 8, 2019

Custodial accounts may be created under the Florida Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, see §710.101, et seq., Fla. Stat (2018) (the “UTMA”), so that an adult (the “custodian”) is placed in charge of a minor’s funds until the minor reaches the age of 18 years.  Such an account is frequently utilized by parents as part of a general estate plan or is the result of divorce proceedings in which the parents agree to set aside funds for their child or children. READ MORE

Infographic : 4 Reasons You Need a Business Lawyer

April 24, 2019

The attached infographic titled ‘Why do I Need a Business lawyer’ explains the reasons for hiring a business lawyer. A business lawyer specializes in commercial law. Hiring an attorney specializing in commercial law has many benefits, some of which are:

Understanding the law: Laws can be confusing, and a business lawyer can help you understand the complexities. As a business owner, there are rules and regulations that pertain to different business laws. Errors in understanding can have consequences. A business lawyer can help you understand those consequences and ensure that you are protected.

Dealing with litigation: A business can face litigation from many sources — employees, clients, suppliers or the general public. If your business is particularly vulnerable to litigation, hiring an experienced business litigation lawyer is unavoidable, whether the case is settled by negotiation or through the courts. A lawyer will see that any damages you face are minimized.

Dealing with legal documents: Every business must deal with legal documents. Legal counsel is especially important when drafting agreements such as client contracts, contractor contracts, and partnership agreements. A business lawyer is essential to protect your interests.

Legal protection: Not every issue a business faces results in litigation. But a lawyer’s advice is still necessary to understand the legal aspects involved and protect your interests.


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Hiring a Fort Lauderdale Divorce Attorney: Tips to Simplify Your Life During a Chaotic Time (Divorce)

January 31, 2019

It is a good idea to try to gain some self-awareness of your own personality and that of your soon to be ex-spouse before you interview divorce attorneys.  If you want to settle your case amicably, but you hire an attorney who is known to be a “shark,” it is more likely that you will end up in a long drawn out process and incur more fees than are necessary.  If your spouse is completely unreasonable and you think you have no choice but to litigate in court, and you hire a negotiator who has never tried a case, it is likely your outcome won’t be as positive.  Remember that most divorce cases (approximately 95% in Florida) settle in mediation and do not go to trial.  Be sure to hire an attorney who is experienced in the kind of divorce process that you want to use. READ MORE

Things You Should Know About Child Support

July 15, 2020

This infographic titled “Things You Should Know About Child Support” provides an overview of the aspects of your child support about which you should be aware.

Deciding to end a marriage and going through divorce is stressful for everyone involved. When your marriage ends, the needs of your children must be met. Child support covers the financial needs of a child,including the cost of education, food, housing, childcare, etc. If you are going through a divorce, here are a few things that you should know about your child support obligation.

You need a child support lawyer
It is recommended that you work with a reputable lawyer who understands child support. You should discuss the financial needs of your children and agree on an amount with which you are comfortable. A child support attorney will represent you and will argue your case in court to increase the chances you get the desired outcome.

You must pay the agreed amount
The amount of child support is set by the court, and you must pay it. You should always keep track of your payments and keep documents to prove you have paid the agreed amount. Failure to prove you have made the required payments may result in court penalties and enforcement proceedings.

Child support can be modified

Child support payments can be modified upwardly or downward. To succeed, the parent requesting the modification will have to show a significant change in his or her financial circumstances. Any change in the payment requires the court’s approval and must be done with a court order.

Some expenses will be considered when calculating child support
Florida’s child support guidelines consider each parent’s regular “take-home” pay after deductions. Other expenses, such as health insurance and daycare, are also considered.