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Kev-Pic-195x300Brick Business Law founding attorney Kevin Brick was recently awarded the distinction of Board Certification in Business Litigation.  This is the highest level of competency and experience awarded by the Florida Bar.  Currently there are about 108,000 members of the Florida Bar, but less than 250 have earned Board Certification in Business Litigation.

Each year, the Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) evaluates applicants for professionalism and tests them for expertise in particular areas ofbusinesslitigation-227x300 practice.  Applicants must undergo peer and judicial review and must demonstrate significant recent relevant experience and specialized continuing legal education before being approved to take a rigorous 2-day exam.  The certification distinguishes attorney Brick as an expert and specialist in the area of Business Litigation.   Overall, only about 7% of Florida Bar members are Board Certified in any practice area.

The recognition follows other recent honors for Attorney Brick.  He was recognized in 2019 as one of the top 100 “Bet-The-Company Litigators” by America’s Top 100.  He also maintained an AV-rating from Martindale Hubbell and was recognized again as a SuperLawyer by SuperLawyers Magazine.  In 2020, Mr. Brick was interviewed multiple times on the “Ask The Experts” radio show in Tampa to provide relevant information to local businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and government lock-downs.

Jocelyn-Smith-Headshot-2-002In March, 2020 attorney Jocelyn Smith, Esq. joined Brick Business Law’s business litigation practice.  Ms. Smith joins the firm as a senior associate-level attorney and will be working primarily on contract, corporate and commercial disputes and other litigation matters along with the firm’s current Senior Attorneys, John Koda, Joe Kennett and Kevin Brick.

Ms. Smith received her B.A. degree, with honors, in political science from University of Florida in 2002.  While at UF, she was on the varsity Speech and Debate Team.  She went on to obtain her J.D. degree from Georgetown Law School in 2006 where she served on Barrister’s Counsel and competed on the Moot Court Team.

Ms. Smith brings 13 years of litigation experience from her prior firms (as well as the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida), where she focused on consumer finance, complex commercial litigation and intellectual property matters.  A significant portion of her experience includes litigating disputes throughout central Florida.

Doctors rushing patient to surgeryToday I was contacted by an investigative reporter wanting to interview me about business that are charging Covid-19 surcharges and increasing fees for providing services.  The reporter wanted to know (1) if this is something to be expected, (2) is this legal and (3) what can affected (a) consumers or (b) businesses do about it.

Here are my responses:

1. Should We Expect Businesses to Raise Their Rates During COVID-19?

Below is a link to a white paper for Florida small business owners outlining legal issues related to Covid-19.   Please contact us if you’d like to set up a free consultation with a business attorney related to a specific matter or concern.  We are available by phone or video conference.  We look forward to hearing from you.

BBL Covid 19 White Paper

Court-Image-300x200In the case of Colon v. Accountable Climate Solutions, Inc.Brick Business Law prevailed in its Motion for Final Summary Judgment in full defense of the Plaintiff’s case and was awarded its attorney’s fees and costs.  The case was brought by a former employee of Brick’s client who claimed he was forced to work overtime and was due unpaid wages and overtime wages.  Brick was able to obtain admissions and secure other documentary and testimonial evidence which left no genuine issue of material fact to be litigated as to the employee’s claims and the Motion for Final Summary Judgment was brought on behalf of the employer in May of 2019.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 448.08, the prevailing party in any action for unpaid wages may be awarded their reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party.  Although it is not required, the Court found that Brick had properly noticed, plead and supported entitlement to all fees and costs and, in addition to rejecting all of the employee’s claims, entered a final judgment against the employee for all of the fees and costs incurred by the defendant in defense of the suit.

Critical to the defense of the case was the employer’s record-keeping system, its document-management system and implemented practices, which required the employer and employee to sign-off on and document hours, jobs and earnings.  Certain employers are subject to record-keeping requirements with regard to employee records.  Additionally, EEOC, FDA and FLSA each have their own requirements for how long employment records must be retained.  However, even where records are not required, clearly set-out processes of signing in and out, approving hours, requiring employees to sign-off, setting up policies and procedures which are consistently enforced, having a clearly-defined compensation plan and maintaining employment records are all best practices which can make the difference in the defense of an informal claim or a lawsuit by a former employee brought for a number of different reasons.

press-conference-1547299-300x215One of my favorite books is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey.  If you are starting a business, thinking about starting one or have one up and running and you have not read it, go read it.  Anyways, in the book, one of the ‘habits’ is to “plan what you are taking action about”.  The types of actions are broken down into four quadrants based upon whether a specific task is important (or not important) and urgent (or not urgent).  What was surprising to me is that Covey advises that the things that matter the most in the long term for success are things which are important, but not urgent.  Examples might be writing a will, doing financial planning, continuing education and other matters which don’t yield benefits today but will do so in the long-run.  It is with this background that I tell you, entrepreneur and/or new business owner, you need to do a legal audit for your new or early-stage business.  Perhaps it is not urgent, but it is important for the long-term success of your business.

A “Legal Audit” is a review, discussion and consultation by a Florida Business Attorney and a Florida business owner regarding actual or potential legal matters as they relate to the existence and operations of a business. Learn the basics about the reasons why this is important, what it concerns and what topics will be covered in a legal audit by clicking on this link to download our whitepaper: Business Legal Audit – Brick Business Law White Paper.

When you are ready to schedule your business legal audit, contact us for a Florida Business Attorney consultation at 813-816-1816 or by using the contact form on our website, located here.

Brick Business Law, P.A. is pleased to announce that Joseph Kennett, Esq. has joined Kennett-Pic-199x300the Firm as a Senior Litigation Attorney. Joe adds considerable trial, litigation and business experience to the Firm’s growing practice. Joe will be handling primarily business litigation matters for the firm out of the St. Petersburg office location. A link to Joe’s biography is located on the Firm’s website in the “about us” section.

Brick Business Law has its main office in Tampa with branch offices in St. Petersburg and Orlando. Founded in 2015, the Firm focuses on serving the needs of businesses, primarily with regard to business litigation, advice and counseling. The Firm is accepting new clients and offers free initial consultations at its offices or by phone. For more information, visit www.brickbusinesslaw.com or call 813-816-1816.

In the case of Mandarelli, et al v. Power Line Industries, Inc., filed in the Circuit Court of Hillsborough County, Brick Business Law filed and gavel-1238036-300x201won a motion for contempt and sanctions resulting in a rare final judgment sanction in the case.

The Plaintiffs sued Brick’s client under a number of theories of liability such as breach of contract and fraud alleging that Power Line Industries sold a defective product to the Plaintiff and defrauded him.  Brick counter-sued on behalf of its client for defamation due to videos that the Plaintiff posted on YouTube claiming that the product was defective and the Defendant was deceiving the public.

The Firm aggressively executed its litigation strategy, including motion practice and discovery, over the course of a year of litigation.  The Plaintiffs were continually dilatory and obtuse in their responses.  Due to the Plaintiff’s tactics, Brick filed a Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.380(b) motion for contempt and sanctions, arguing at the hearing that the Court should find that the Plaintiffs’ tactics constituted the “rare circumstance” which justified the ultimate sanction of the striking of the Plaintiff’s claims and dismissal of the lawsuit, plus contempt of court and an award of Brick’s attorney’s fees and costs.  The Court heard Brick’s Motion on June 4 and ultimately issued its Order on September 4 granting all relief requested in the Motion.

John-Pic-214x300Brick Business Law, P.A. is pleased to announce that John Koda, Esq. joined the Firm as a Senior Litigation Attorney, effective July 2, 2018.  John brings over twenty years of business, real estate, commercial and consumer litigation experience to the Firm and will be heading the Firm’s St. Petersburg/Sarasota practices.   John’s full biography can be found here.

Brick Business Law focuses its practice on two areas: business counseling and business litigation.  The Firm’s main office is located in downtown Tampa with a satellite office in St. Petersburg.  The Firm offers prospective clients free initial attorney consultations and has flexible pricing plans including flat fee, hourly, monthly, blended and contingent fee pricing plans (when appropriate).   The Firm can be contacted by calling the main office line at 813-816-1816 for an initial consultation.  More information is located at the Firm’s website.

 

504018046-300x200On June 11, Brick Business Law prevailed in the final hearing in a case involving claims of conversion, breach of implied in fact contract and civil theft pursuant to Fla. Stat. 772.11.   Brick represented a national seller of home environmental products which had a long-standing relationship with a vendor for the storage and transportation of its marketing materials.  After the termination of the arrangement, the vendor failed to return the subject property.  Brick’s client made multiple attempts to get its property, but the Vendor refused.  Brick sent the required civil theft demand letter to the future defendant; however, the vendor persisted in refusing to return the property, claiming it was not owned by Brick’s client.  Thereafter, the lawsuit was filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

Florida Statute 772.11 is known as Florida’s Civil Theft Statute.  It carries a higher burden of proof, requiring the Plaintiff to prove the case by a “clear and convincing evidence” standard rather than the “greater weight of the evidence” standard that is prevalent in most civil cases.  The statute permits a Plaintiff that proves that he is the victim of civil theft to recover triple actual damages, attorney’s fees and costs.  However, there is a significant strategic consideration required prior to filing a civil theft claim because if the Plaintiff is unable to prove that his evidence meets the heightened burden, he can be liable for the Defendant’s attorney’s fees and costs.  Despite the risk, Brick pursued the Defendant for statutory civil theft damages.The Court found that Brick’s client’s evidence met the standard required to obtain triple damages, plus attorney’s fees and costs, ultimately rewarding Brick’s client the full amount of damages requested. law-education-series-2-1467427-300x225

Brick Business Law focuses its practice on Florida litigation of business issues.  The firm litigates cases related to the protection and prosecution of business’ interests in regard to breach of contract, civil theft, collections, real estate, consumer, employment and other related issues.  The Firm offers a free initial consultation, which can be arranged by calling the Firm’s main phone number at 813-816-1816 or by visiting the contact page on the Firm’s website.

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