Category Archives: Arbitration

Assouline & Berlowe is a Proud Member of Nextlaw, the Largest Worldwide Network of Attorneys – Now Ranked by Chambers

Chambers Approved (00261036xA4579)

MIAMI, Florida – March 15, 2019. Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. is pleased to announce that Nextlaw Referral Network (NRN) has been recognized as a Leading Global Legal Referral Network by Chambers & Partners in the Chambers 2019 guide. Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. has been a member of Nextlaw Network since September 2016.

Nextlaw Network has achieved this milestone faster than any network in history, having been founded in October 2016 by Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. The Network grew to be the largest in under one year and is now three-times larger than the second largest network in the world.

“We are proud to be the champion of the small to medium-size law firms,” said Nextlaw Network CEO Jeff Modisett. “Until now, medium-sized law firms were excluded from most networks because of high annual fees and the exclusive, territorial and monopolistic nature of the traditional network business model. Our Network welcomes all top law firms in the world, focusing on quality, not size.”

Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. Managing Partner Eric N. Assouline, Esq. said, “Membership in the Nextlaw Referral Network provides us with unprecedented global reach, including leading capabilities in 205 countries. We have access to top lawyers in any practice, industry or sector, anywhere in the world, enabling us to provide our clients with the best local and global services possible. The Nextlaw Referral Network makes us truly ‘in and of the community.’”

Chambers is an independent legal directory that conducts in-depth interviews, reviews submissions from law firms and collects feedback from clients to identify and rank the most outstanding legal referral networks, law firms and lawyers.

Nextlaw Network has more members and covers more countries than any other single legal referral network in the world. Members conduct more than 2,000 searches per month on the network’s advanced proprietary platform, which is seamlessly linked with its sister network, the Nextlaw Public Affairs Network. More than 70 percent of NRN members are Chambers ranked.

The Network also serves as a strategic platform by distributing cutting-edge legal technology at discounts to members, working with another sister company, Nextlaw Labs. Nextlaw Labs curates the best technology in the profession. The Network also promotes thought-leadership in emerging, disruptive technologies, such as AI and Blockchain.

Nextlaw Network is one of the only referral networks that offers inter-disciplinary functionality. In today’s complex global environment, clients often need access to professionals who understand the regulatory, business and economic cultures everywhere they do business, which means integrating legal and public affairs representation.

The Network provides no jurisdictional exclusivity, due to its guiding principle to offer clients the best lawyers in any practice, sector, anywhere in the world.
Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. is a South Florida Business Law Firm, formed in 2003, with offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton. Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. concentrates its practice in the areas of: Intellectual Property Law and Litigation; International and Domestic Dispute Resolution, including litigation, arbitration, and appeals; Real Estate and Corporate Law and Litigation; Labor & Employment Law; Trusts, Estates & Probate Administration and Litigation; and Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy.
About Nextlaw Referral Network
Nextlaw Referral Network is the broadest and most sophisticated legal referral platform in the world. Introduced in October of 2016, it already includes nearly 670-member firms, over 25,000 lawyers covering all of the world’s major jurisdictions in more than 205 countries. In addition, working closely with its sister company, Nextlaw Labs, the platform will also introduce new technologies, products and services to its members. The platform also includes Nextlaw Global Public Affairs Network, the first of its kind network that includes more than 50 of the world’s top public affairs and public relations firms.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE

Miami Tower, 100 SE 2nd Street, Suite 3105, Miami, Florida 33131

Telephone: 305-567-5576

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law, Trust & Estates, Probate and Guardianship

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Filed under Appeals, Arbitration, Awards, Bankruptcy, BK, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Copyright, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, International, International Arbitration, IP Litigation, Judgments, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law, Litigation, Patent Prosecution, private equity, Real Estate, trademark, Trusts & Estates, Uncategorized

ALL RISE – This Moot Court Is Now In Session

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Assouline & Berlowe has a long history of supporting both the legal and non-legal community in South Florida.  From its inception, the Firm has been involved in numerous charitable events and community endeavors.

As part of its support for the local legal community and the South Florida Law Schools, the Firm supports St. Thomas University’s School of Law Moot Court Room, where oral argument by the Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals is often held.

We as a Firm give thanks to the hard work of the local law schools’ professors and staff, which has allowed the legal community to thrive and produce high quality lawyers and judges.

Thank you.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Managing Partner

@assoulineberlowe

 

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Filed under Appeals, Arbitration, Awards, Bankruptcy, BK, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Copyright, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, International, International Arbitration, IP Litigation, Judgments, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law, law school, Litigation, Patent Prosecution, St. Thomas University, trademark, Trusts & Estates, Uncategorized

When You Go to Court, all that Matters is “THE LAW” (and Reality)

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Clients often ask attorneys, “what are my chances of winning?”  It sounds like a reasonable question.  But what clients do not seem to understand is that there is “the law” and there is “reality.”  All a good lawyer can tell you is: here is what I think is good about your case and here is what I see as the weaknesses, and here is the law “as I see it”.   Huh?

I was preparing for a hearing in Broward Circuit Court, on an Order to Show Cause why the other party’s entire case against my client and several others should not be dismissed.  I had case law precedent from both the Supreme Court of Florida and the District Court that binds the Judge hearing the case to support my client’s position.  I provided a copy of these cases to opposing counsel as we waited for our turn.

Before our case was heard, opposing counsel came over to me and advised that he agreed to dismiss my client as defendant from the case (leaving other defendants still in the case).  I thought this was great news, because the client would be very happy.

I still had to wait my turn for the hearing, because I wanted to make sure that the Judge’s order clearly reflected that my client was now out of the case.

I waited and waited and then I heard the calendar begin on the next round of hearings.  I asked the Clerk what happened since my case from the earlier round had still not been called.  The Clerk advised that I should notify the Judge that my case was not yet called.  the Judge asked me for the name of the case and I told him.  The Judge then blurted out “I find that cause was shown why the case should not be dismissed.”  As I said, luckily, opposing counsel and I had already agreed that my client was being dismissed from the case.  Opposing counsel so notified the Judge and he was ok with the dismissal of my client.

But what would have happened if we did not work it out?  What would have happened if I did not give opposing counsel a copy of the cases that supported our position?  Instead of going into the hearing with “the law on my side”, I would be going into this hearing with a Judge who had already made up his mind.  Perhaps I could have changed the Judge’s mind.  But I cannot count on that.

Instead, my client would be stuck in this case for who knows how long.  Could we appeal the Judge’s finding of cause to not dismiss the case, maybe.  Courts of appeal do not let you appeal every ruling as soon as it is made.  We could try, but it is likely it would not be heard until the case is over.

Maybe we would win the case in the end.  But maybe not.  And, if we did not win, could we appeal and argue that that the plaintiff’s case should have been dismissed at the Order to Show stage.  Probably.  Would we get the entire proceeding thrown out for failing to follow the correct procedure, maybe.

So many “maybes”.  Hmmm.  Sounds like there is “the law” and there is “reality”. 

Eric N. Assouline, Esq., Litigation Partner, Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

 

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Filed under Arbitration, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, IP Litigation, Labor & Employment

Attorneys: Thanks-for-Giving Back to the Community

Legal Aid Picture of Litigation Attorney Eric N. Assouline

Happy Birthday Eric N. Assouline, and thank you for your Pro Bono work at the Legal Aid Service of Broward County!

At a time when the front page article of the Daily Business Review is reporting on an $18M legal fee being imposed upon a public company for unnecessarily fighting about every legal issue in a drawn out commercial dispute, and lead counsel’s normal hourly rate of $1,200 an hour being cut down to $675 an hour by a Federal Magistrate to be more in line with prevailing community rates, it is very humbling to discuss “real life” legal problems ordinary people deal with every day.   

I spent part of my 49th Birthday at the Legal Aid Service of Broward County’s offices in Fort Lauderdale speaking to individuals who called Legal Aid for assistance with their legal problems.

I learned long ago, from my former boss Hank Adorno, who taught all the associates at Adorno & Zeder, that it was the culture of the firm to give back to the community.  Going back to the Adorno days, we were paid by the firm to help those that were less fortunate, including reading to elementary school children and participating in Hands On Miami. 

Keeping up with that tradition, Litigation Partner Eric Assouline is seen here speaking to a group of young men and women about how hard work pays off.  Attorney Assouline also received a FLITE Program framed certificate as a thank you for his time.

FLITE Photo

Giving back time to the community has been part of the culture at Assouline & Berlowe.  As mentioned on the Community Service page of the Firm’s website:  The Firm has been involved in giving back to the community, in the form of time, money, and energy in order to support those who are less fortunate as well as in support of other important causes.

Examples of how the firm has been involved in philanthropic commitments are many. As early as in 2004, when the Firm was just a year old, the Firm sponsored a mayoral debate for Miami-Dade County.

In 2005, the Firm sponsored the Beauty and the Best Fund Raising Program for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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In 2006, the Firm sponsored Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk-a-Thon in Sunrise, Florida.  In 2014, the firm again returned to support JDRF when the Firm sponsored a charity golf tournament in support of JDRF.

In 2008, during the economic crises, as the headlines were filled with news about Americans losing their jobs, the Firm did not feel it appropriate to have a year end holiday “party” for its staff.  Instead of celebrating another successful year, the Firm made a donation to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for the support, care and treatment of children at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

The donation is commemorated by an inscribed brick to be placed next to the statute of Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio at the hospital.

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Joe DiMaggio Paver

Brick Paver at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, in Hollywood, Florida

 

In Miami, the Firm donated to the Miami Children’s Hospital, and was recognized with another inscribed brick at the Fountain.

The Firm has also been involved in several directorships for non-profit organizations. For example, Eric Assouline serves as a director for both the B’Nai Brith Justice Unit and Jewish National Fund. Ellen Leibovitch is a director with the South Palm Beach County Bar Association. Mr. Assouline and Ms. Leibovitch have also been involved in supporting the Florida Bar as members of the Florida Bar Grievance Committees in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

On this Thanksgiving Holiday, on behalf of my firm and all those attorneys that Give Back to the community, I want to say Thank you.

Happy Holidays.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Managing Partner, Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

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Filed under Arbitration, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, International, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Florida Judgment Interest Rate Increase to 5.35%, sort of.

Crowdfunding

Hamilton – Assouline & Berlowe – Business Law Firm – joint tax disclosure by US and Swiss governme

Florida has a very interesting way to keep track of the interest rate of a Florida judgment.  Unlike the old system that was in place, Florida requires a judgment holder to compute the interest rate of their judgment by the quarter of the year.  The interest rate is determined by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.  So, it is possible that a judgment that is one year old may have more than one interest rate for the past one year period.

After being stuck at 4.75% from October 2011 to March 2016, Florida’s interest rate has been steadily creeping upward.  During the second quarter of 2017, Florida’s judgment interest rate was 5.17%.  Florida’s CFO has just announced that the new applicable interest rate for the third quarter of 2017 is now 5.35%.  Florida’s interest rate is now at its highest in 6 years.

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Filed under Arbitration, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, International, Uncategorized

Former U.S. Ambassador Discusses Technology & Miami as Global City

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Assouline & Berlowe Partner Peter E. Berlowe had the privilege of listening to firm friend Former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Hon. Kirk Wagar speak last week at Pipeline Workspaces. Ambassador Wagar spoke about opportunities in South and Southeast Asia and how Miami can grow in to a truly global city.  In part, Ambassador Wagar discussed how driverless vehicles and related technology will begin to have far reaching implications for worldwide employment and economics over the next five to ten years.  Ambassador Wagar reflected upon the United States as the true world power, in part because of U.S. private business’ continued respect for business formalities and intellectual properties of the other countries in which they invest.  Pictured are Peter E. Berlowe, Hon. Kirk Wagar, and WLRN V.P. of News Tom Hudson.

For more information about the speech or related issues, please contact Mr. Berlowe at:

Peter E. Berlowe, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: PEB@AssoulineBerlowe.com

http://www.AssoulineBerlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Real Estate, International Dispute Resolution, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, and Bankruptcy

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Filed under Arbitration, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Intellectual Property, International, Uncategorized

Crowdfunding: A New Way to Invest in Florida

Assouline & Berlowe - Business Law Firm - Crowdfunding

How do 4th grade entrepreneurs make their classroom solar-powered?  In today’s day and age they set up a Crowdfunding campaign.  Hoping for $800, the students raised more than $5,000 by Crowdfunding support across America and around the world.

Money is a scare commodity; and it takes effort to have investors part with it. While subjectively attractive to the project sponsor, the business thesis may not be to a potential investor. Some potential investors may not be interested in the particular business or industry sector. Others may have limited funds that are better deployed elsewhere. And yet for others, the potential project may not meet their investment criteria. For example, generally, investors target emerging growth companies over startups and mature over emerging growth companies. That universe of potential investors has been further constrained through federal and state securities regulations that forbid general solicitation of investors and require the sponsor expend substantial, and often prohibitive, transaction costs.

For the entrepreneur taking concept through to IPO, or for a businessperson expanding operations with a merger or acquisition, financing is always an issue; money is a scare commodity. Personal or retirement savings may insufficient; bank loans (with or without personal or other guarantees) could be unavailable; and family, friends, and so-called Angel investors may not be interested or able to provide project support. What is needed is a larger universe of potential financiers….Enter Crowdfunding!

“Crowdfunding is a new and evolving method to raise money using the Internet. Crowdfunding serves as an alternative source of capital to support a wide range of ideas and ventures.  An entity or individual raising funds through crowdfunding typically seeks small individual contributions from a large number of people. “

A crowdfunding campaign generally has a specified target amount for funds to be raised, or goal, and an identified use of those funds. Individuals interested in the crowdfunding campaign—members of the “crowd”—may share information about the project, cause, idea or business with each other and use the information to decide whether or not to fund the campaign based on the collective “wisdom of the crowd.”

The venture life-cycle moves from Concept to Business Plan to Startup to Sales Ramp-up to Emerging Growth Company to Exit (Buyout or IPO). Maturing businesses grow organically or through mergers and acquisitions. Each step in the process requires more capital and capital and transaction costs. The critical factor: adequate financing!

Governor Scott is expected to sign the Florida Intrastate Crowd Finance Act; amending the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act Effective October 1, 2015, Florida-based entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others can use web-based Crowdfunding platforms as intermediaries for their intra-state funding campaigns. The Act amends Florida’s securities transactions law. A Florida entrepreneur or business person will no longer be limited to soliciting financing support from Florida “accredited” or a high net worth individual. Florida joins a growing list of states allowing the general solicitation of in-state investors through crowdfunding internet platforms.

Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation will administer the Crowdfunding Law. The Office, reporting to the Financial Services Commission, provides oversight for the State’s financial service providers. Its mission is “to protect the citizens of Florida, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.” The Agency’s work is divided among the Division of Consumer Finance, Division of Financial Institutions, and Bureau of Financial Investigations.

To ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, the Division of Securities and Finance’s, Bureau of Securities Regulation examines securities dealers, investment advisers, their respective offices, and associated persons who conduct securities business in, to or from Florida. The Bureau of Financial Investigations is a criminal justice agency. It is generally responsible for conducting securities and mortgage fraud investigations.

Florida’s Crowdfunding law exempts certain “issuers” (entrepreneurs, business persons, and others) and their intermediaries (Crowdfunding Internet Platforms) from registration requirements relating to the offer and sale of certain securities. Among other things,

a. An issuer must be a for-profit business entity formed under the laws of the State, be registered with the Secretary of State, maintained its principal place of business in the State, and derive its revenue is primarily from operations in State;

b. The securities offering must be made through a registered dealer or intermediary (the Crowdfunding Internet Platform).

c. The issuer must not be company with an undefined business operation, a company that lacks business plan, a company that lacks a stated investment goal for the funds being race, or company that plans to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unspecified business entity.

d. Unless otherwise exempted by certain mitigating factors, the issuer will be disqualified from using the Crowdfunding exemption if a director, officer, person occupying a similar status or performing a similar function, or person holding more than 20% of the shares of the issuer is a so-called “Bad Actor.” That is, that person cannot have been convicted of a felony in the last 15 years or a misdemeanor in the last 5 years of crimes involving registration as a dealer, investment adviser, issuer of securities, or associated person or the application for such registration or involving moral turpitude or fraudulent or dishonest dealing.”

e. The issuer must execute an escrow agreement with the federally insured financial institution authorized to do business in Florida for the deposit of investor funds. Under the Agreement, offering proceeds will be released to the issuer only when the aggregate capital raise from all investors is equal to the target offering amount.

f. Investors can cancel an investment commitment within 3 business days before the offering deadline. This must be stated in the disclosure statement, and the issuer is required to refund to all investors if the target offering amount is not reached by the offering deadline.

g. The issuer must file a written or electronic notice of the offering with the Office of Financial Regulation that includes

i. the intermediary’s website address where the issuer’s securities will be offered;
ii. The target offering amount;
iii. A nonrefundable $200 filing fee.

h. The issuer must provide to investors and the dealer or intermediary, along with a copy to the office at the time the notice is filed, and make available to the potential investors through the dealer or intermediary, a disclosure statement containing certain material information about the issuer, the offering, and the potential risks to purchasers of the securities including a description of the Company’s physical condition.

i. For offerings, in combination with all other offerings of the issuer 12 month period, having target offering amounts of $100,000 or less, the descriptions must include the most recent income tax return filed by the insurer, if any, and a financial statement that must be certified by the principal executive officer of the issuer true and complete in all material respects.

ii. For offerings, in combination with all other offerings of the issuer within the preceding 12 month period, have target offering amounts of more than $100,000, but not more than $500,000, the description must include financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and by an independent CPA using professional standards and procedures for such review the standards and procedures established by the office, by rule, for such purpose.

iii. For offerings, in combination with the other offerings and of the issuer within the preceding 12 month period, have target offering amounts of more than $500,000, the description must include audited financial statements prepared in GAAP by an independent CPA and other requirements as the Commission may establish by rule.

Although the Florida Crowdfunding has a strict intrastate limitation, issuers will shortly have the opportunity to make their offerings nationwide. In 2012, Congress enacted the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”). The Jobs Act makes it easier for an entrepreneur or company to find investors and raise capital. By easing various securities regulations, it encourages small businesses funding. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has promulgated Rules under Title II (Access to Capital for Job Creators) removing the prohibition on general solicitation or general advertising for securities offerings relying on Rule 506 (considered a “Safe Harbor” for the private offering exemption of Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933) provided that sales are limited to accredited investors and an issuer takes reasonable steps to verify that all purchasers of the securities are accredited investors. The SEC is expected to finalize its November 5, 2013 proposed Title III (Crowdfunding) Rule this October. Until that Rule is finalized and promulgated, nationwide general solicitation is illegal.

For more information on this or other Venture Capital or Private Equity matter, please contact:

Carl H. Perdue, JD, LLM
Senior Counsel and Partner
Business and Finance

The above material is for information purposes only; and is not to be considered legal or financial advice.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: CHP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Filed under Arbitration, Business Litigation, Corporate Law, Florida Bar, Intellectual Property