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

Florida Probate & Estate Litigation: Invalidating a Will Due to Lack of Capacity

August 9, 2018

By: Justin C. Carlin, Esq.

Capacity usually refers to a natural person’s legal ability to make binding agreements relating to their rights, duties, and obligations, such as entering into contracts, getting married, or executing wills.  For example, minors lack the capacity to enter into binding contracts and to execute wills, and certain mental conditions may render a person incapable of testamentary capacity.  Agreements made by persons who lacked capacity can be either void (invalid from the beginning) or voidable (capable of being invalidated).  In the area of probate, trusts, and estates, testamentary capacity is an important concept to keep in mind when trying to affirm the validity of a will or to attack its legality. READ MORE