gavel-1238036On June 3, in the case of Yifat Shaolm, et. al. v. Nissim Sabatani, the Hon. Bruce Boyer of the Pinellas County Circuit Court conducted on evidentiary hearing on the Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion For Temporary Injunction Without Notice and to Expel And Dissociate Defendant As a Member of Reflection Fashions, LLC.  The Plaintiffs sought wide-ranging relief in their Motion, ultimately attempting to have the court remove the Defendant as a Member of his business and to have the Plaintiffs unilaterally control all operations of the business.  This relief was sought by the Plaintiffs under an alleged oral operating agreement as well as under the new Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act, which permits involuntary judicial dissociation of a member.

Attorney Brick made his initial appearance in the case for the Defendant shortly after the Motion was filed and denied the Plaintiff’s attempt to have the outcome of the hearing determined without an opportunity for the Court to hear argument from the Defendant. (Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.610 permits an injunction to be entered against a litigant in certain circumstances without providing notice of the hearing to that litigant or an opportunity for them to be heard by the Court.). Additionally, the court denied the Plaintiff’s request to designate the hearing as emergency in nature.  Finally, at the June 3 full evidentiary hearing on the Plaintiff’s Motion, the Court agreed with Attorney Brick and completely denied all relief requested by the Plaintiff.  As a result, the Defendant has maintained all of his management and ownership rights in his business during the pendency of the case.

Attorney Brick has also filed a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint in its entirety on behalf of the Defendant due, in part, to a misjoinder of direct and derivative causes of action.  A motion hearing on the matter is forthcoming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrick Business Law, P.A. was named as the 9th best “Small Business Professional Service” Provider in the entire State of Florida by Startup Savant, a resource guide for small businesses.  The firm was the top law firm in the Tampa Bay Area to appear on the list, which includes multiple categories of top resources for business owners, entrepreneurs and aspiring start-ups.

The list includes a total of 152 professionals, organizations and service providers which cater to small businesses throughout the State of Florida.  The honor was bestowed upon Brick Business Law in only its first year of service.  The firm was notified of the distinction on April 20th by way of an e-mail congratulations from Startup Savant founder Ryan James.

Brick Business Law is a Tampa Bay Area law firm which focuses on serving businesses’ legal needs in and around the Tampa Bay Area. The Firm’s practice areas include business consulting services (such as reviewing and drafting contracts or providing risk mitigation advice) as well as business litigation.

broken-glasses-1-1316764In the case of Tina Accomando-Himpler v. Phillip David Hines, attorney Kevin Brick successfully argued for the imposition of a repeat violence injunction against petitioner’s business partner, David Hines.  After a contested evidentiary hearing in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, the court granted the full relief requested by attorney Brick in a Final Judgment of Injunction Protection Against Repeat Violence.  As a result, the respondent will be prohibited from numerous actions, including contacting the petitioner, being within 500 feet of her or possessing any firearms or ammunition for a period of one year.

The court’s complete order can be read here: InjnuctionOrder.Himpler.

If your business dispute has become violent or your business partner has begun harassing or threatening you, please call us at 813-816-1816 to talk about your options.

computer-keyboard-1188763There are some common sense ways for small businesses to minimize the threat of employee theft of trade secrets.  This is the second in a three-part series on the subject.  The first post, on using HR policies to protect trade secrets can be found here. Today’s post deals with the employer’s use and implementation of technology to protect its data, trade secrets or other intellectual property.

Most businesses use some form of basic technology-based security solutions using their existing systems and software.  For instance, if the trade secret is a computer-stored source code, a basic protection is to regulate access to it by requiring and assigning unique user names and passwords to each employee.  A company may also choose to maintain electronic access records of computer logs to be able to isolate and determine who accesses their network and when.  Most businesses also use some type of firewall to protect the business’ network or even maintain their trade secrets on separate servers.

Businesses should also consider providing technology solutions to employees so that they do not use unauthorized procedures to assist them in completing their work.  For instance, when file sharing by e-mail becomes difficult due to data size restrictions, employees may use a third-party service such as dropbox to share restricted company data with an intended or authorized recipient.  While the employee may have no bad intention, the sharing of the data in this way may permit unauthorized access, storage and sharing of the company’s trade secrets. For this reason, businesses should proactively implement regulated and authorized technology solutions to solve common problems encountered by employees who access protected data.

hand-on-keyboard-1243602Increasingly a business’ most important assets are digital in nature.  Client databases, business plans, source code and other intellectual property often represent a significant portion of a business’ value.  Technology such as cloud-storage and sharing applications make it simple for such assets to be shared, sent, manipulated, downloaded, transferred, accessed or deleted in a few moments.  Theft of data due to breaches and backdoor access by sophisticated hackers makes the news; however, the most common form of theft of digital assets occurs by a business’ employees.  There are a number of reasons why an employee may steal such assets from being disgruntled, to helping a competitor to becoming a competitor themselves.  Small businesses are more likely to be targeted because they have less sophisticated systems of protection.

So how does a small business protect itself from such theft?  The best way is to implement some common sense best practices to limit such exposure with HR Policies and Practices, Technology Protections, and Trade Secret Litigation.  In this series, we will look at the first of these methods: HR Policies and Practices.  These front-end defenses are so important because laws to protect businesses after the theft occurs are often inadequate.

A business’ HR Policies and Practices should focus on protection of business data.  Some common sense policies include subjecting new employee candidates to a background investigation.  Background investigations may reveal prior crimes of dishonesty or terminations of employment due to dishonest actions.   Identifying and avoiding the hiring of candidates for employment who may have a proclivity for dishonest behavior is one significant way to reduce the likelihood of employee theft of data.

where-s-the-money-gone-1513359Fraud victims often feel embarrassed, humiliated and helpless once they realize that they have been victimized. Business, internet and other fraud schemes are so pervasive that the FBI has outlined and notified the public of  four categories of fraud schemes, each of which may target a business as well as an individual, as (1) Common Fraud Scams, (2) Investment Related Scams, (3) Internet Scams, (4) Senior Citizen Targeted Scams.

From a legal standpoint, a  fraud occurs in Florida when: (1) a person makes a false statement regarding a material fact; (2) that person knew or should have known that the representation was false; (3)  that person intended that the representation induce the other party to act on it; and (4) the other party suffered damages in justifiable reliance on the representation. Jackson v. Shakespeare Found, Inc., 108 So.3d 587, 595 (Fla. 2013).  Small businesses may be defrauded by vendors, suppliers, creditors, customers, employees and others.  One of the most common and devastating sources of small business fraud in Florida occurs between and among business partners.

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contract-1426885Generally, for a person to recover damages under a theory of breach of contract, that person has to prove that the other party committed a “material” breach of a contract causing damages to the plaintiff.  Normally, a failure to perform a certain important task before a required contractual deadline would constitute a material breach if the contract states that “time is of the essence”.  However, many people write their own contracts without the assistance of a lawyer or have no written contract at all.  The result is that the contract may not contain the necessary terms to establish that time is of the essence or the contract does not state a time for completion of performance by the other person.

So what happens if performance does not occur for a long time but there is no deadline in the contract?  Can the non-performing party be held in breach?

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