Category Archives: International

Student Becomes the Master: UM Law Wins International Moot Arbitration Competition in Frankfurt


left to right: Joseph Matthews, L Andrew Riccio, Benjamin Keime, Abirami Ananthasingam

The University of Miami School of Law is already one of the top law schools in the State of Florida.  On March 14 ,2014, Coral Gables, Florida, and the entire UM community, began celebrating it’s first place finish at the 7th Frankfurt Investment Arbitration moot competition.

The three UM law school students representing UM’s team, Joseph Matthews (3L), Benjamin Keime (2L),  and Abirami Ananthasingam (3L), began preparing for the international competition in August 2013.  The competition was held during March 10th through the 15th 2014 at the University of Frankfurt in Germany.

The competition was against 59 other international law school teams.  The UM team was lead by Assouline & Berlowe attorney, and UM alumni, L Andrew Riccio (JD 2011).

The substance of this year’s moot court competition was entitled “The Perfumes of Arabia”, based in 12th century Yemen, relating to a new customs regime on merchants in Aden, the Yemeni port.  Fictional claims were brought under a multilateral investment treaty comprised of countries of the medieval Ayyubid Empire.

In describing the substance of the moot court problem, “Coach” Riccio stated that “this year’s was the most complex and interesting of them all.” He was especially impressed by the caliber of students at the competition.  Given the complexity of the problem, students invested considerable time preparing their arguments.

The moot court team competed against law schools from Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia, and ultimately tied for first place with the team from Sciences Po (Paris).  The winners, both the UM and Sciences Po teams, will receive a three week placement at the Hague Academy of International Law.

The distinguished tribunal in the final round consisted of Charles Brower, Abby Cohen-Smutney, and Judge Awn Al-Khasaweh.  The University of Miami is the only to twice make it to the final round of the competition, and twice win the competition.

This victory was extra special for Attorney Riccio, who participated on the team as a law student participant in 2011 , when UM won the competition for the first time.  After this win, UM is the first repeat winner of the competition.  When Riccio competed in 2011, it was under the guidance of his mentor, Assouline & Berlowe International Arbitration Partner Daniel Vielleville.  Now, Riccio has taken the reins of UM’s team and as the coach, the student has proved himself as the master of UM’s second winning team.

Assouline & Berlowe was founded by University of Miami School of Law graduates Eric N. Assouline (JD 1996) and Peter E. Berlowe (JD 1998).  Since that time, several other UM law graduates have joined the firm, including Sheri Alter (JD 1996), Meredith Gussin (JD 2001), as well as current partners Loren D. Pearson (JD 1996) and Daniel E. Vielleville (JD 2003).

For more information about the competition, or to discuss any business issues, please contact Mr. Riccio.

L. Andrew Riccio, Esq.


3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343


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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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B’nai B’rith Justice Unit – Installation Brunch

Bnai Brith Justice Unit Installation BrunchCommercial Litigation Partner Eric Assouline, on behalf of Assouline & Berlowe, is proud to sponsor the 34th Annual Installation Brunch of the Officers and Directors B’nai Brith Justice Unit #5207, taking place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Outgoing President, Broward County Court Judge Lisa Porter, has done an amazing job leading the Justice Unit during the 2013-2014 term.  We all thank her for the extraordinary time and effort spent to further the goals of B’nai B’rith and make this the best year in the history of the Unit.

B’nai B’rith, founded in 1843, is one of the world’s oldest and most respected service organizations.  B’nai B’rith focuses on helping people in the community that cannot help themselves.  Whether responding to national disasters, working with America’s elderly, or promoting the development of the youth, B’nai B’rith works to improve people’s lives in our community.  Older than the American Red Cross, B’nai B’rith is a vital part of the community and their leaders deserve much recognition for their efforts.

The Justice Unit is composed of judges and lawyers in Broward County that aim to spread the quality and professionalism expected from its distinguished members of the bar and the bench.

The installation brunch is scheduled for Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 10am – 12pm at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale – Plantation Hotel, 1230 South Pine Island Road, Plantation, Florida.

To register for the event, click here.


Telephone: 954-929-1899

With offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton



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

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I Lost the Case…Should I Appeal?

Courthouse Litigator - Miami Assouline & Berlowe Business Law Firm “When a party comes to us with nine grounds reversing the district court, usually there are none.”  Best said by a jurist from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recently issued appellate opinion.

Civil cases are often long, drawn out, expensive, and unpleasant affairs.  Litigants may encounter innumerable pleadings, extensive document production requests and witness depositions, seemingly never ending pre-trial motions, and pre-trial conferences and settlement discussions. All this, even before the jury trial begins. Then we have jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination (and possibly redirect and re-cross), and closing statements, jury instructions, jury deliberations, and a then final judgment. In some cases, the emotional impact of this process can be devastating.

But the story may not end there. A losing party may then consider appellate review of the final judgment. A federal administrative agency’s decision may be reviewed by a court of appeals. Also, in certain cases, review may be obtained, first in a district court, rather than a court of appeals.

In most bankruptcy courts, an appeal of a ruling by a bankruptcy judge may be taken to the district court. Several courts of appeals, however, have established a bankruptcy appellate panel consisting of three bankruptcy judges to hear appeals directly from the bankruptcy courts. In either situation, the party that loses in the initial bankruptcy appeal may then appeal to the court of appeals.

Let’s consider some statistics. According to recent statistics, during the year ending September 2013, a total of 284,604 new civil cases were filed in the US District Courts:

  • Florida Northern District,  2,016
  • Florida Middle District,     8,443
  • Florida Southern District, 8,398.

The Median time from filing to trial:

  • Florida Northern District,  25.7 months
  • Florida Middle District,     19.8 months
  • Florida Southern District, 16.5 months

Number of civil cases over 3 years old:

  • Florida Northern District, 49;
  • Florida Middle District, 1,423
  • Florida Southern District, 94

During the same period, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia District Courts) had a total 6,366 new cases filed and 3,352 still pending. And, the median time from Notice of Appeal to Final Disposition: 7.6 months.

Considering the nature of the case and the complexity of issues, attorneys fees and costs can realistically reach six and seven figure dollar amounts.  To begin with, the Federal District Courts pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) may hear cases and controversies where “the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000.” Then, unless otherwise specifically provided for by statute, attorneys fees are subject to the so-called “American Rule,” That is, each party pays its own attorneys fees (unlike the “English Rule” in United Kingdom where the winner is usually awarded those).

Certainly, the volume and backlog of civil cases in appellate courts, as well as the potential costs of further litigation, a disappointed losing party must carefully consider, in concert with trial and appeals counsel, the ramifications of pursuing an appeal.

At times, emotion, the need to establish legal precedent, or some other idiosyncratic factor may a be primary driver.  However, unless permitted by statute to review factual issues de novo (anew), an appellate court will only review legal error. And then, generally, trial counsel at the district court must have preserved legally sufficient grounds to appeal; in the case of an administrative agency decision, the hearing record. Trial counsel may also preserve grounds for appeal in a post-judgment motion; bringing up new issues very rarely prevails.

Moreover, counsel should decide which issues to assert in an appeal.  Appealing a litany of issues (the kitchen sink approach) may tell the appellate body that you are grasping at straws and there are no genuine appealable issues.  See Fifth Third Mortg. Co. v Chi. Title Ins. Co., 692 F.3d 507 (6th Cir. 2012).  In Fifth Third Mortg. Co., a title company appealed nine (9) issues to the Sixth Circuit in an attempt to overrule the district court.  The opinion from the appellate court opens with: WHEN A PARTY COMES TO US WITH NINE GROUNDS REVERSING THE DISTRICT COURT, USUALLY THERE ARE NONE.  This is a classic line that every litigant should consider when analyzing how many issues to argue should be reversed on appeal.

Ultimately, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district courts granting of summary judgment requiring the title company defend and indemnify the bank in a property dispute.

Litigation, at all stages requires comprehensive and reasoned legal analysis, strategic planning, and zealous but thoughtful advocacy.  Civil appeals require the same level diligence. However, constrained by the trial record, appellate counsel in written briefs and, in most instances, at oral argument before a panel of appeals court judges must know and artfully articulate the law.  One commentator has said “they have a refined skill set, an often academic focus on the nuances of the law and the precedent, and a preference for cool and collected analysis that remains “above it all.”

Should you appeal? It is not an easy question to take lightly or answer quickly. Each case is unique. And, only a dispassionate and reasoned analysis can only help provide perspective.

For more information contact:

Carl H. Perdue, JD, LLM

Senior Counsel and Partner


1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466


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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

This article was edited by Litigation Partner Eric N. Assouline and Patent Attorney Greg M. Popowitz, who can be reached at their Email addresses: ena@assoulineberlowe or respectively.

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Resolving Investor and Broker/Dealer Disputes

FINRA - Chess MatchSecurities disputes are traumatic. The loss of investment capital can be devastating whether one is a sophisticated investor in search of capital appreciation or a retail customer looking for a safe haven for retirement funds.

The subprime real estate meltdown, an accompanying sharp decline in securities valuations, and a host of well-publicized, questionable (in some cases illegal) business practices in the financial markets resulted in systemic economic dislocations. The so-called “Great Recession” brought into sharp focus individual investor risk of loss as well as a sharp increase in customer and broker/dealer disputes.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the successor to the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc.’s (NASD), is the non-governmental, self-regulatory organization regulating New York Stock Exchange brokerage firms and the exchange markets. FINRA monitors 6 billion share trades a day. With 20 offices across the United States and 3,400 employees, the Authority writes and enforces rules governing more than 4,145 securities firms and 636,290 brokers.

FINRA’s dispute resolution forum is the largest in the country for the securities industry, handling nearly 100 percent of securities-related arbitrations and mediations from more than 70 hearing locations—including at least one in all 50 states, London and Puerto Rico.  Its District 7 Office in Boca Raton covers Florida, Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Virgin Islands.

In 2012, FINRA referred 692 fraud cases for prosecution, and levied $102 million in fines and restitution against fraudulent traders.  Through November 2013

4,181 arbitration cases were resolved (18% after hearing; 5% after document review; 52% by parties’ settlement; and 10% in mediation) and 3,342 new cases were filed. During the same period, 513 mediation cases were closed (80% of which settled) 451 new disputes filed.

The following Tables reflect FINRA’s latest dispute resolution statistics.

Arbitration Cases Served by Controversy Involved

Type of Controversy1





November 2013

Margin Calls












Unauthorized Trading






Failure to Supervise












Omission of Facts






Breach of Contract






Breach of Fiduciary Duty


















1 Each case can be coded to contain multiple controversy types.   Therefore the columns in this table cannot be totaled to determine the number   of cases served in a year.

Security Types Involved in Arbitration Cases

Type of Security1





November   2013

Corporate Bonds






Certificates of Deposit






Mutual Funds












Common Stock






Limited Partnerships












Preferred Stock






Variable Annuities






Derivative Securities






Auction Rate Securities






1 Each case can be coded to contain multiple security types. Therefore the columns in this table cannot be totaled to determine the number of cases served in a year.

As an alternative to litigation, FINRA arbitration, generally confidential, proceeds with the convening of a panel comprised of one or three arbitrators selected by the parties. Each party, either represented by counsel or proceeding pro se, submits written pleadings to the arbitrators setting his or her claim or defense. After considering the pleadings, the panel will consider any documentary evidence and under oath testimony at a formal hearing. Thereafter, the arbitrator or arbitrators, as the case may be, will issue a formal award that is binding on the parties. The prevailing party can then submit the award to the appropriate court for enforcement. And, unless challenged on very limited grounds, the court will not overturn the award.

Arbitration cases are eligible to be heard in FINRA’s forum if the following criteria are met:

  • For disputes with investors:
    • The cases involve an investor and an individual or entity registered with FINRA, such as cases between investors and brokers, between investors and brokerage firms, and between investors and brokers and brokerage firms; and
    • The claim is filed within 6 years from the time the events giving rise to the dispute occurred.
  • For disputes involving industry parties only:
    • The cases involve an individual or entity registered with FINRA, such as cases between brokerage firms, between brokers, and between or among brokerage firms and brokers; and
    • The claim is filed within 6 years from the time the events giving rise to the dispute occurred.

An investor must arbitrate at FINRA if:

  • The arbitration is required by written agreement;
  • The dispute is with a member of FINRA, which could be a broker and/or brokerage firm; and
  • The dispute involves the securities business of the broker and/or brokerage firm.

A broker or a brokerage firm must arbitrate at FINRA if:

  • The dispute arises out of the securities business activities of a broker and/or a brokerage firm; and
  • The dispute is between or among the following members of FINRA: brokerage firms, brokerage firms and brokers, or brokers.

If an investor requests arbitration, a broker or a brokerage firm must arbitrate at FINRA.

Either during or as an alternative process and by mutual agreement, the parties may submit their dispute to mediation. In such case, FINRA staff facilitates the mediation process and provides a roster of qualified mediators from which a mediator is selected to facilitate the parties’ discussions towards a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediation is confidential and non-binding until resolution.

For more information, please visit and contact:

Carl H. Perdue

Senior Counsel and Partner


1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466


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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Partner Eric Assouline Presents at Deposition Skills Training Course

Certified Deposition Transcript

Cases are often won or lost through depositions.  A well taken deposition can make the difference at all the stages of the litigation, including mediation, summary judgment, and trial.

All litigation attorneys must treat depositions as the most critical aspect of the case.  A deposition is as close to hand to hand combat as litigation will become.  The deposition is the only time that the parties and the attorneys will all be together at the same time without a judge or mediator present.  It is the first time the parties and their counsel will all be starring one another in the eyes to size up their to take a deposition

Every litigator must ask themselves:

Would I like to be more effective when taking depositions?

Would I like to learn from attorneys who are experienced in taking depositions?

Would I like to learn from attorneys who have crafted a CLE seminar that will provide me with practical, useful advice?

If yes, you’ll will want to sign up for the upcoming CLE program Mastering the Deposition: A Critical Skills Workshop, presented by Pincus Professional Education. This program received outstanding evaluations last year, so you don’t want to miss it.

“I know a lot more practical information about depositions than when I woke up this morning.” N. A. Marzuk, Esq.

“This was a great program, and I greatly appreciate the practical advice on how to handle difficult situations that sometimes arise during a deposition.”

“I appreciated the practical advice regarding how to deal with problematic situations which arise during the taking of a deposition…” J. Scifo, Esq.

Mastering the Deposition: A Critical Skills Program
March 21, 2014; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hampton Inn & Suites

Miami/Brickell Downtown
50 SW 12th Street

What attendees will learn:

  • Overview & Strategy
    • What is your purpose in       taking the deposition? Not a “one size fits all” process
    • Tips and tricks that       may give you the edge
  • Rule 30(b)(6)
    • Difference between Rule       30(b)(6) and a fact witness
    • Preparation required
    • How to avoid sanctions
    • What to do when you       have an unprepared witness
    • Best practices for a       Rule 30(b)(6) request
  • Witness Preparation
    • How to best prepare       your witness
    • The percipient witness       vs. a PMK
    • Ethical considerations
  • Expert Depositions
    • Effective strategies to       qualify and/or attack expert witnesses
    • Using Motions in Limine       to exclude expert or testimony
  • Technology
    • Super depositions       (picture-in-picture video depositions that bring trial presentation       software into the deposition)
    • Streaming video       depositions
    • Tips for successful       video depositions (i.e. how to prep your witness for a video depo)
    • How to get the most out       of video/text synchronization (i.e. searching transcripts and exporting       video depo clips to link in eBriefs)
    • Video impeachment at       trial
    • Strategies for       deposition playback at court (i.e, video only, video with text scrolling,       linking exhibits with video and how to decide which is appropriate for       your trial)
    • Case Study: How a       Picture-in-Picture Video Deposition Changed the Course of a Jury       Deliberation
  • Handling the Difficult      Witness and/or Opposing Counsel
    • Concrete tips and       advice
  • Handling Documents &      Exhibits – Making the record; get the authentication you need
  • Deposition Objections
    • How do I do it?
    • Why do I do it? – Depo       objection strategies
    • What to avoid
    • Biggest risks in       objecting and not objecting
    • What works
    • What matters
    • Additional tips from       the trenches

This is an excellent chance to become more effective at taking – and using – depositions, from start to finish.

Plan your deposition with care.

Decide on an effective strategy before you start.

Use your deposition in the courtroom for the most impact.

Plan to attend.

CLE Summary:

Pincus Professional Education certifies that this seminar is pending approval for 7.0 hours of Florida general CLER credit. Approved for 6.0 hours MCLE in CA.

Prior attendee’s thoughts:
“I thought all topics covered were informative and to the point.” M.MCallister, Esq.

“Thought all speakers were very interesting and informative.” J. Young, Esq.

“The sample production requests and outline for experts will be very helpful.”

“Seminar was very helpful and fulfilled/exceeded my expectations…”

To attend the CLE, REGISTER HERE!   For any of your business needs, please contact Mr. Assouline.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.


Main: 954.929.1899


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

Miami • Ft.Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Partner Carl H. Perdue appointed to the Senior Lawyers Committee of the Florida Bar

Carl Perdue - Senior Lawyers Committee of the Florida BarMr. Eugene K Pettis, President of The Florida Bar, has appointed Carl H. Perdue to a new committee of the Florida Bar, the Senior Lawyers Committee.  In his appointment letter, Mr. Pettis said: “This committee will serve the interests of the profession by fostering an interchange of ideas, sharing accumulated legal knowledge and experience of its members and address issues of particular interest to senior lawyers. We want the committee to identify and enhance the benefits senior lawyers can provide to The Florida Bar, the profession and the community by utilizing such lawyers’ wisdom, expertise, and experience.”

The Committee will address issues from a Florida Bar survey that highlighted the top concerns of members 55 and over:  opportunities for senior lawyers, discounts on products or services, assistance on the sale or closure of a law practice, and help with technology.  The Senior Lawyers Committee is open to all members of the Florida Bar, regardless of age, and will meet throughout the year.

During his 40 years of practice, Mr. Perdue has represented individuals, private businesses, and public companies. For nearly 20 years of those year, Mr. Perdue practiced in the Arabian Gulf Region. Initially, managing one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent corporate law firms and representing Saudi Aramco (the world’s largest oil company). He later Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), as its principal legal counsel. SABIC is another Top – 100 Global Company, and the world’s largest chemicals producer. During his 16 years with the Company, he advised C-level corporate and affiliate executives and operating affiliate managers, and he was expatriate leader of the Corporate Acquisition and Finance Teams.

Mr. Perdue’s practice focuses on domestic and international acquisitions and divestitures; business advisory and corporate governance; business transactions; corporate and project finance; government and regulatory compliance; litigation, mediation, and arbitration; and private equity and venture capital. He has represented global engineering and construction firms; industrial manufacturers; and international financial institutions as well as a Fortune – 100 global diversified agribusiness corporation. Mr. Perdue has negotiated innumerable high value, cross-border and cross-cultural corporate, commercial, and financial transactions. And, he also has significant international civil and criminal litigation, mediation, and arbitration experience; and a substantial domestic and international government affairs background.

Assouline & Berlowe is proud to announce Mr. Perdue’s involvement in the Senior Lawyers Committee.  Mr. Perdue is available in Assouline & Berlowe’s Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton offices. He heads the firm’s Europe and Middle East Practice. He is a member of the firm’s Latin America Practice, Corporate and Finance Practice, International Law and Arbitration Practice, and Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice.

Please contact Mr. Perdue to discuss your international business needs.

Partner Carl H. Perdue, Esq.


1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466


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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Jury Verdict is In – Latin Grammy Nominee “Daddy Yankee” Found Liable for Defamation

US District Court - Miami

Ramon Luis Ayala Rodriguez, a/k/a “Daddy Yankee,” his record label, El Cartel Records Inc., his former booking agency company, Icaro Services Inc., and Icaro’s president Edgar Baldiri, were found liable for defamation and injurious falsehood in Miami federal district court.

After a three-week trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding Daddy Yankee and the other defendants had defamed the Plaintiffs, Mr. Diego De Iraola and his company Five Live Entertainment. The jury found that Daddy Yankee, through his agent Edgar Baldiri, had published false and defamatory statements regarding Mr. De Iraola and Five Live Entertainment following the cancellation of a ten-concert tour which Daddy Yankee was expected to perform in Argentina in 2010. The jury repeatedly found Mr. Baldiri’s allegations that Mr. de Iraola had ”swindled” others and engaged in “crimes” were false.

Mr. De Iraola is a founder and majority shareholder of Five Live Entertainment, an event production company based in Argentina. Prior to the failed tour in 2010, Five Live had produced two successful concerts for Daddy Yankee in 2009, as well as other concerts for well-known Latin American musical artists.

Mr. De Iraola issued the following statement: “The last three years have been extremely difficult.  I am so grateful to the men and women of the jury who have cleared my name, and I am excited to turn the page and resume my career in the industry I love.”

Miami Partners Peter E. Berlowe, Daniel E. Vielleville, and Associate Andrew S. Riccio of Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. represented Mr. de Iraola and Five Live Entertainment, together with Tomas Leonard, Eric Bloom and Meg Ciavarella, members of Winston & Strawn’s international arbitration practice.

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