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PANAMA PAPERS – Subpoena Issued to Mossack Fonseca Regarding Daddy Yankee Assets

Miami Attorneys Issued a Subpoena to Mossack Fonseca, of the Panama Papers, regarding Daddy Yankee Assetsassouliene-vielleville-berlowe-2
4/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Picture from Daily Business Review Article 4-14-2016 By AM Holt

 Keeping the whereabouts of your assets is ok, except when . . .

This is a burning question that has surfaced in light of the Panama Papers.  When is it ok to have off shore accounts?  The simple answer is when you do not owe anyone any money and after you have paid all the taxes that are due on the assets that you wish to keep secret.   See recent article by Real Estate and Corporate Law Partner David Blattner: Have the Panama Papers Taught Us Anything We Didn’t Already Know?

You cannot maintain a secret web of companies, with the intention of hiding this information from creditors to whom you owe money.  That is illegal.

You cannot transfer assets that would be subject to execution by a creditor to an off shore, or out of state company, in order to not pay debts that you owe.  That is illegal.

This is the basis of the investigation that has been opened up as to all the public figures mentioned in the Panama Papers.  Including noted celebrity Daddy Yankee.

In today’s Daily Business Review, South Florida’s prominent daily business paper, one of the headline stories regards Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.’s subpoena issued to Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm that has gained notoriety for opening off shore accounts for high profile individuals all over the world.

Through their subpoena, Assouline & Berlowe, on behalf of their clients, creditors of Daddy Yankee, are seeking financial information from Mossack Fonseca as to Daddy Yankee’s assets and financial affairs.

A link to the complete article is: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/home/id=1202754983211/Panama-Papers-Reports-Show-Daddy-Yankee-Might-Have-a-Way-to-Pay-Millions-Owed?mcode=1202617073880&curindex=2

For more information regarding this case, please contact Daniel E. Vielleville, Peter E. Berlowe, or Eric N. Assouline.

assouliene-vielleville-berlowe-2

/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Photo by Daily Business Review Photographer AM Holt 

 

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Learn How to Protect Your Clients’ Valuable Intellectual Property

Assouline & Berlowe

Assouline & Berlowe patent attorneys Peter Koziol and Greg Popowitz will be speaking at a webinar focusing on Intellectual Property for the Non-IP Attorney.  The Pincus Professional Education webinar will take place on August 06, 2015 at 3 p.m. EST

To view the full announcement and register for the event, click here.

An overview of the Intellectual Property Topics that will be discussed are highlighted below.

IP is a complicated area, even for IP attorneys. For the rest of us, the nitty gritty rules are sometimes a mystery.  Listen in on this IP for the Non-IP attorney webinar so you can understand how to best protect your client and their assets. You will learn:

Origins of Intellectual Property (IP) in the United States and Internationally

  • The USPTO is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Patents and Trademarks)
  • WIPO covers International IP rights
How a non-IP lawyer can identify IP to Protect their Clients and Generate Value for the Business (Emphasis on Patents)
  • Patents (patent process, patentability opinions, freedom to operate opinions; limited time)
    • Design, Utility, Plant Patents
  • Trademarks (common law, state, federal rights; rights continue with use)
    • Strategy of using intent to use application vs. actual use application
  • Copyrights, and
  • Trade Secrets
What Does IP Protection Provide?
  • IP creates value to the business (it is an asset owned by the business)
  • Protects inventions, brands, etc. of the business, which can provide a marketing and sales edge over competitors
  • Patents – generate new business opportunities since a patent gives you an exclusive right
  • Licensing and sales opportunities
  • Access to Financing
  • Leverage in Litigation (damage calculations and discovery access)
  • Leverage in Business (assets and monopoly like rights)
How to Secure International Protection
  • Work with international: IP counsel, companies and connections, and markets
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • Madrid Protocol (trademarks)
  • Industrial Designs Treaty
  • Berne Convention
General Considerations for IP
  • Coordinate with transactional and litigation counsel, insurance providers, venture capital, and tax counsel
  • Bankruptcy and creditor rights impact
  • Receiver/trustee
  • Estate planning
Common Mistakes and Misconceptions
  • Poor man’s copyright
  • Statutory Bar Date (Loss of Rights)
    • Public Use/Disclosure (trade shows, publications, offers to sell)
    • Social Media Posts
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Priority of Use

For questions about the webinar or any Intellectual Property matters, contact Peter Koziol or Greg Popowitz below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Litigation Partner Eric N. Assouline to Speak at Circuit Court Boot Camp CLE

Eric N. Assouline, Litigation Partner of The Business Law Firm Assouline & Berlowe, P.A., has been again invited to present as a panelist at the upcoming Circuit Court Boot Camp for Practical Trial Litigation Skills. 

Mr. Assouline has been involved in a wide range of business and commercial litigation.  At this seminar, he and other distinguished panelist, will share their experiences practicing in the state courts.

Learn tips of the trade from experienced members of the bar and bench about litigation skills. 

Circuit Court Boot Camp (4th Annual)

A Practical Trial Litigation Skills Program (Fort Lauderdale 2015)

April 10th, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel 1825 Griffin Road  Dania, FL 33004

Click here for more information or to register.

Can’t Attend? Click here to order the home study audio CD. Want the CD now?  Order the recording of our 2014 boot camp here

What you’ll learn when you attend:

  • Case Development & Theories
  • Motions for Summary Judgment/Adjudication
  • Other Motions
  • Discovery and E-Discovery
  • Depositions
  • Oral Arguments
  • Heading to Trial
  • Pre-Trial Matters
    • Bench trial pointers
    • Client and witness preparation
    • Jury selection – voir dire and questionnaires
    • Jury instructions and jury verdict forms
    • Opening trial briefs
    • Motions in Limine, motions to exclude witnesses from courtroom
    • Requests for Admissions of Fact
  • Trial Presentation
    • Opening statements
    • Direct and cross examinations
    • Objections
    • Exhibits
    • Expert witnesses and reports
    • Closing arguments
  • Post-Trial Motions

Full and partial scholarships are always available to legal aid firm attorneys.

We hope to see you there.

Best wishes,
Eric N. Assouline

Business Litigation

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ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

Business Litigation Partner

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 E. Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Ft. Lauderdale – Dania, FL 33004

Telephone: 954-929-1899

Facsimile: 954-922-6662

Email: ena@assoulineberlowe.com

www.assoulineberlowe.com

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

Miami · Ft. Lauderdale · Boca Raton

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

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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.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: ASR@AssoulineBerlowe.com

http://www.AssoulineBerlowe.com/

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.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE – The BUSINESS LAW Firm

Telephone: 954-929-1899

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

ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

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

Miami · Ft. Lauderdale · Boca Raton

Super Lawyers
Eric N. Assouline
Business Litigation

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11th Circuit Denies Bank’s Argument to Compel Arbitration

ArbitrationMichael Dasher, a checking account customer, sued RBC Bank (Bank) in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that the Bank, rather than depleting debit card purchases chronologically, reordered them at the end of each day drawing funds for larger purchases before smaller ones. The alleged result: larger purchases were accounted for first; leaving smaller and more numerous purchases (each) subject to a $35 overdraft fee each.

Dasher’s 2008 Account Agreement (typically signed when opening an account and governing the bank–customer relationship) included a provision subjecting overdraft disputes to arbitration. The Bank asked the District Court to halt the litigation and compel arbitration. The Court, relying on earlier precedent, denied the Bank’s motion; and voided the provision as it effectively impaired Dasher’s ability to vindicate his rights in Court. The Bank appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before the appeal was heard, the U.S. Supreme Court decided AT&T Mobility v. Vincent Concepcion et ux., 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011). The decision is significant in (1) confirming the liberal federal policy of the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. 2) favoring arbitration; and (2) declaring that certain class-wide arbitration agreements are enforceable, notwithstanding states law to the contrary. Recognizing that the two factors (if considered earlier by the District Court) could have changed the outcome, both parties successfully had the Appeals Court remand the case to the trial court for reconsideration. Parenthetically, Dasher’s action is part of a larger case now pending in the District Court: the Checking Account Overdraft Multidistrict Litigation.

In 2012, PNC Financial Group, Inc. (PNC) acquired RBC Bank and Dasher’s account. Before completing the acquisition, PNC issued a new Account Agreement that neither contained an arbitration clause nor mentioned arbitration. The Bank renewed its motion to compel arbitration. It argued that the earlier RBC Account Agreement controlled. Dasher challenged; arguing that the PNC Account Agreement (which was silent on arbitration) superseded the earlier Account Agreement. The District Court agreed with the later position; and the Bank Appealed.

In its February 10, 2014 decision, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision that arbitration provisions do not automatically survive in a superseding contract unless specifically adopted in the new contract. Dasher v. RBC Bank, Case No.: 13-10257 (11th Cir. 2014).  Neither silence nor the courts’ policy favoring arbitration will help save the provisions.

As the Bank saw it, the District Court made five reversible errors:

  1. The Federal Arbitration Act created a presumption of arbitration that the District Court failed to apply;
  2. Contrary to the district court’s holding, the PNC Agreement’s silence on arbitration cannot invalidate the RBC Agreement’s arbitration provision;
  3. The district court improperly ignored the termination clause in the RBC agreement;
  4. The district court improperly applied the PNC Agreement retroactively to disputes that arose while the RBC Agreement was still in effect; and
  5. The district court relied upon provisions in the RBC Agreement to support its analysis, undermining its holding that the RBC Agreement was entirely superseded and proving that the arbitration clause was “singled out” for disfavored treatment in violation of the FAA.

The Appeals Court, in a 33 page opinion, was not persuaded.

  1. Although the FAA does create a presumption in favor of arbitration, the presumption applies in the case of ambiguity. Where it is not clear if the parties did indeed agree to commit themselves to arbitration as their exclusive dispute resolution process. Here, both contracts are valid agreements. The earlier RBC Account Agreement contains an arbitration clause the later PNC Account Agreement.
  2. The District Court’s holding was proper. Under state law, the PNC Account Agreement superseded the RBC Account Agreement in its entirety. The provisions of the latter agreement did not survive; and, specifically, the arbitration clause was ineffective.

The Dasher decision is in agreement with other Second and Sixth Circuit decisions.

For more information about arbitration, contact:

Carl H. Perdue, JD, LLM

Senior Counsel and Partner

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, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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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

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, 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 gmp@assoulineberlowe.com respectively.

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