Tag Archives: business litigation

Assouline & Berlowe’s Litigation Department Selected as Top 19 of 116 for Miami

Assouline & Berlowe is pleased to announce that Expertise has selected Assouline & Berlowe’s attorneys as the top 16 law firm for litigation, out of 119 selected.

Expertise published on its website that it based its results on the following criteria when choosing its top 19 selections:

  • Reputation: A history of satisfied customers giving excellent recommendations
  • Credibility: Established in their industry with licensing, accreditations, and awards
  • Experience: Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education
  • Engagement: Approachable and responsive to clients and available for new business
  • Professionalism: Dedicated to providing consistent quality work and impeccable customer service

The Expertise website also stated the following information:

The selection process is performed annually across business categories and geographies. Minor updates may be made throughout the course of the calendar year.

Hand-Picking the Best

Our team conducts a manual review to verify the accuracy of the selections. We then write unique and detailed business descriptions for each hand-picked businesses.

Coming off the heels of already winning the Daily Business Review’s Litigation Department of the Year for Real Estate and Other Litigation (for Small Firms of 69 attorneys or less), the firm management is humbled by this award.

 

ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW MIAMI ADDRESS

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

 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 Awards, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, IP Litigation, Litigation, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Business Litigation, Daddy Yankee, Mossack Fonseca, panama papers, Uncategorized

Is Your Data Security Program Lost in the Weeds?

Assouline & Berlowe

“I.R.S. Adds New Safeguards to Thwart Identity Theft and Fraud”

 “Federal Data Compromised at OPM and Interior; Could Affect 4 Million People”

 “North Shore (University Hospital) Warns About 18,000 Patients of Potential Data Breach”

 “Massive Data Breach Affects Hundreds of Miami-Dade County”

As you check your incoming morning email; malware surreptitiously checks your every keystroke and monitors your cyber movements. At your doctor’s office you provided enumerable consent and other extremely personal and confidential information forms; then, within earshot of waiting patients, the receptionist announces your social security number to a colleague. You buy a new condo, providing the Condo Association Board an approval application with your family’s personal and financial history; now your neighbors “know your business!”

The headlines are real; the scenarios occur every day. Scenarios endemic to the hyperbolic expansion of technological innovation, the public’s enchantment and dependence on B2C and social media, and the progressively steep upward trend in information creation and cyber monitoring. Information (“Data”) creates Knowledge; and Knowledge is Power! In the era of “Big Data,” confidential personal and proprietary business Data, mishandled or acquired without authorization by third parties, may have disastrous consequences to the Data Owner.

“In the day,” businesses focused Document (Record) Retention Policies and Programs. Internally-focused initiatives to identify proprietary or sensitive documented information required for possible future use (e.g., government regulations, tax audits); that may be needed to respond to customer, client, or other third-party complaints or litigation (e.g., contracts and collateral documents); and for general historical or other purposes (e.g., corporate or business records). Today, with Information Technology’s potentially illegitimate intrusion in personal privacy, these initiatives must also include externally-focused component to protect those privacy interests.

A company (or other Data Custodian with legitimately acquired Data Owner information) should establish a Data Breach Security Plan with policies and practices for the handling of sensitive Data Owner information. The Plan identifies and “ring-fences” sensitive Data Owner information; sets parameters for limited or “need-to-know access;” identifies potential live and IT systems Data Breach threats; and establishes a Data Breach Response Procedure to adequately notify a Data Owner where his or her information has been compromised.

Florida, along with a number of states, however, have recently begun to actively legislate and establish statutory schemes. Florida’s Information Protection Act of 2014 (“Security of Confidential Information) requires businesses, and government, to take “reasonable measures to protect and secure personal information.” If a Florida business collects personal information, it is now required to establish and maintain a Data Security Program. Once the business, or government entity, acquires personally identifiable information, it is obliged to safeguard the information; and, where appropriate, have a prescribed plan for the information’s destruction or return.  Specified Data includes:

  • social security number;
  • driver’s license or identification card number, passport number, military identification number, or other similar personal identifier issued on a government document used to verify identity;
  • financial account number or credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that is necessary to permit access to an individual’s financial account;
  • financial account number or credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that is necessary  to permit access to an individual’s financial account;
  • information regarding an individual’s medical history, mental or physical condition, or medical treatment or diagnosis by a health care professional; or
  • health insurance policy number or subscriber identification number as well as any unique identifier used by a health insurer to identify that person.

Under the Statute, a Florida business or other “covered entity” ” must notify the Attorney General, in writing, no later than 30 days after a Data Breach or possible Data Breach. That is “any breach of security affecting 500 or more individuals in this state.” The notice must include:

When a Data Breach occurs; that is where there is “unauthorized access of data in electronic form containing personal information.” More broadly, when specific third-party “sensitive, protected, or confidential information has potentially, been viewed, stolen, or used by an individual not so authorized.” For example, where a physician’s laptop is lost or stolen; or where a company IT system has been “hacked.” Parenthetically, insurance companies are now offering Data Breach Insurance.

  1. A synopsis of the events surrounding the breach
  2. The number of individuals in this state who were or potentially have been affected by the breach
  3. Any services related to the breach being offered or scheduled to be offered, without charge, by the covered entity to individuals, and instructions as to how to use such services
  4. A copy of the notice to the individuals affected by the breach or an explanation of the other actions taken to notify the individuals affected by the breach
  5. The name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the employee or agent of the covered entity from whom additional information may be obtained about the breach

The Attorney General may also request additional information including: (a) a police report, incident report, or computer forensics report; (b) a copy of the policies in place regarding breaches; and (c) steps that have been taken to rectify the breach.

Although the Statute does not allow a private right of legal action, a Data breach is considered “deceptive trade practice.” Within the jurisdiction of the Department of Legal Affairs, violations are subject to injunctive relief and the following civil penalties: for failure to notify Data Owners:

  1. In the amount of $1,000 for each day up to the first 30 days following any violation and, thereafter, $50,000 for each subsequent 30-day period or portion thereof for up to 180 days; and
  2. If the violation continues for more than 180 days, in an amount not to exceed $500,000.

The civil penalty assessed is for each breach, not for each individual affected by the breach.

Data Security and Data Privacy should be a major concern to individuals and business alike. The law in this area is evolving. It has become an important focus of business law practice.

For more information on Data Security Programs matters, 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/

 

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Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, Florida Bar, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law

Is Your Data Security Program Lost in the Weeds?

Assouline & Berlowe

“I.R.S. Adds New Safeguards to Thwart Identity Theft and Fraud”

 “Federal Data Compromised at OPM and Interior; Could Affect 4 Million People”

 “North Shore (University Hospital) Warns About 18,000 Patients of Potential Data Breach”

 “Massive Data Breach Affects Hundreds of Miami-Dade County”

As you check your incoming morning email; malware surreptitiously checks your every keystroke and monitors your cyber movements. At your doctor’s office you provided enumerable consent and other extremely personal and confidential information forms; then, within earshot of waiting patients, the receptionist announces your social security number to a colleague. You buy a new condo, providing the Condo Association Board an approval application with your family’s personal and financial history; now your neighbors “know your business!”

The headlines are real; the scenarios occur every day. Scenarios endemic to the hyperbolic expansion of technological innovation, the public’s enchantment and dependence on B2C and social media, and the progressively steep upward trend in information creation and cyber monitoring. Information (“Data”) creates Knowledge; and Knowledge is Power! In the era of “Big Data,” confidential personal and proprietary business Data, mishandled or acquired without authorization by third parties, may have disastrous consequences to the Data Owner.

“In the day,” businesses focused Document (Record) Retention Policies and Programs. Internally-focused initiatives to identify proprietary or sensitive documented information required for possible future use (e.g., government regulations, tax audits); that may be needed to respond to customer, client, or other third-party complaints or litigation (e.g., contracts and collateral documents); and for general historical or other purposes (e.g., corporate or business records). Today, with Information Technology’s potentially illegitimate intrusion in personal privacy, these initiatives must also include externally-focused component to protect those privacy interests.

A company (or other Data Custodian with legitimately acquired Data Owner information) should establish a Data Breach Security Plan with policies and practices for the handling of sensitive Data Owner information. The Plan identifies and “ring-fences” sensitive Data Owner information; sets parameters for limited or “need-to-know access;” identifies potential live and IT systems Data Breach threats; and establishes a Data Breach Response Procedure to adequately notify a Data Owner where his or her information has been compromised.

Florida, along with a number of states, however, have recently begun to actively legislate and establish statutory schemes. Florida’s Information Protection Act of 2014 (“Security of Confidential Information) requires businesses, and government, to take “reasonable measures to protect and secure personal information.” If a Florida business collects personal information, it is now required to establish and maintain a Data Security Program. Once the business, or government entity, acquires personally identifiable information, it is obliged to safeguard the information; and, where appropriate, have a prescribed plan for the information’s destruction or return.  Specified Data includes:

  • social security number;
  • driver’s license or identification card number, passport number, military identification number, or other similar personal identifier issued on a government document used to verify identity;
  • financial account number or credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that is necessary to permit access to an individual’s financial account;
  • financial account number or credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that is necessary  to permit access to an individual’s financial account;
  • information regarding an individual’s medical history, mental or physical condition, or medical treatment or diagnosis by a health care professional; or
  • health insurance policy number or subscriber identification number as well as any unique identifier used by a health insurer to identify that person.

Under the Statute, a Florida business or other “covered entity” ” must notify the Attorney General, in writing, no later than 30 days after a Data Breach or possible Data Breach. That is “any breach of security affecting 500 or more individuals in this state.” The notice must include:

When a Data Breach occurs; that is where there is “unauthorized access of data in electronic form containing personal information.” More broadly, when specific third-party “sensitive, protected, or confidential information has potentially, been viewed, stolen, or used by an individual not so authorized.” For example, where a physician’s laptop is lost or stolen; or where a company IT system has been “hacked.” Parenthetically, insurance companies are now offering Data Breach Insurance.

  1. A synopsis of the events surrounding the breach
  2. The number of individuals in this state who were or potentially have been affected by the breach
  3. Any services related to the breach being offered or scheduled to be offered, without charge, by the covered entity to individuals, and instructions as to how to use such services
  4. A copy of the notice to the individuals affected by the breach or an explanation of the other actions taken to notify the individuals affected by the breach
  5. The name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the employee or agent of the covered entity from whom additional information may be obtained about the breach

The Attorney General may also request additional information including: (a) a police report, incident report, or computer forensics report; (b) a copy of the policies in place regarding breaches; and (c) steps that have been taken to rectify the breach.

Although the Statute does not allow a private right of legal action, a Data breach is considered “deceptive trade practice.” Within the jurisdiction of the Department of Legal Affairs, violations are subject to injunctive relief and the following civil penalties: for failure to notify Data Owners:

  1. In the amount of $1,000 for each day up to the first 30 days following any violation and, thereafter, $50,000 for each subsequent 30-day period or portion thereof for up to 180 days; and
  2. If the violation continues for more than 180 days, in an amount not to exceed $500,000.

The civil penalty assessed is for each breach, not for each individual affected by the breach.

Data Security and Data Privacy should be a major concern to individuals and business alike. The law in this area is evolving. It has become an important focus of business law practice.

For more information on Data Security Programs matters, 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/

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Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Florida Bar, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment

Intellectual Property Infringement Insurance – Is your Business Protected?

Assouline & BerloweAdvertising Injury coverage? Yes, it exists.  It is fairly standard in most commercial general liability policies with personal injury coverage, which insures a company from its advertising of its goods or services, such as libel, slander, copyright infringement, trademark infringement.   As a trademark attorney, I routinely inform my clients about the benefits of this type of coverage, and if they already have it, to make sure it covers trademark infringement.

If your company already has advertising injury coverage, does it include, or possibly exclude, trademark infringement coverage? In a recent case in a Minnesota federal district court, a defendant’s insurance carrier disclaimed trademark infringement coverage, which caused the infringing company to pay damages out of pocket.

Excell Consumer Products sued Smart Candle for their use of the protected trade name and trademark “Smart Candle” relating to LED lights. Smart Candle requested that its insurance carrier, Selective Insurance Company, defend the lawsuit. However, Selective Insurance disclaimed coverage under Smart Candle’s policy. Selective Insurance focused on the personal and advertising injury coverage, which the policy defined as injury resulting from “Infringing upon another’s copyright, trade dress or slogan in your ‘advertisement.’” The policy excluded from coverage injury “arising out of the infringement of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights.” Notably, this exclusion did not apply to the infringement resulting from the companies advertising of copyright, trade dress, or slogan.

Smart Candle claimed that “slogan” in the policy required Selective Insurance to defend or indemnify Smart Candle in the Excell Consumer Products lawsuit. The federal district court granted Selective Insurance’s motion for summary judgment. Notably, the policy failed to define the term “slogan” so the court used the “popular and ordinary meaning”. Since the Excell Consumer Products lawsuit centered upon the use of “Smart Candle” as a mark, trademark, trade name, and name, a reasonable jury would not determine that Excell Consumer Products’ lawsuit was based on slogan infringement. The appellate court agreed with the district court’s interpretation of the policy.

If you currently have advertising injury coverage, it is critical that you check to find out what the policy covers and what it does not cover. With any business decision, fully understanding the liabilities and risk to your business will aid in the decision making process. Instead of fighting a significant infringement lawsuit expecting insurance coverage, it may be worthwhile to settle the lawsuit early on and limit your exposure. If you do not have advertising injury coverage, investigate obtaining coverage that will adequately protect your business.

The intellectual property attorneys at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. are fully equipped to review your policies and provide feedback as to whether advertising injury coverage protects your business for trademark infringement and other intellectual property causes of action.

For any questions about advertising injury coverage relating to intellectual property, or general questions about patents, trademarks, and copyrights, please contact Greg Popowitz below.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Ellen M. Leibovitch is a 2015 Finalist for Leaders in Law!

Leaders in LawAssouline & Berlowe, P.A. is proud to announce that Boca Raton Partner Ellen M. Leibovitch has been nominated for the 2015 Leaders in Law Award in Labor and Employment Law.  The South Florida Business & Wealth Leaders in Law Awards, created by Lifestyle Media Group, honors lawyers, law firms, and corporate counsel that promote excellence in their field of law, maintain the highest level of ethics, are committed to their community, and are proven leaders in their field.

Candidates for the Leaders  in Law Award are judged on outstanding litigation, advocacy, counseling, and advancements to the legal profession, along with contributions to the advancement of the bar, including public service, bar association activities, and pro bono activities.

The South Florida’s Leaders in Law April 29, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at The Gallery of Amazing Things, 481 South Federal Highway, Dania Beach, FL 33004.  To purchased tickets to the event, click here.

Ms. Leibovitch is proud to be nominated as a finalist for such a prestigious award.  As part of her labor and employment law practice, Ms. Leibovitch routinely counsel clients on employee handbooks, training, and audits.  Employers receive training on topics such as, recognizing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Managers also need to know the dos and don’ts in hiring decisions, employee complaints, and complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Also, some employers use the same employment applications, handbooks, and other forms for years without updating these forms with changes in the law.

Assouline & Berlowe is available to review employer policies, procedures, systems and documentation to ensure compliance with all applicable local, state and federal employment laws.  These preventative exercises will help all employers reduce the costs of non-compliance and avoid litigation in the future.  The often used maxim, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is highly applicable for these type of employment matters.

For a thorough review of your employer policies and procedures, or for any questions about the Leaders in Law award, please contact Ellen M. Leibovitch below.

Ellen M. Leibovitch

Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@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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Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Proposes Harsh New Mold Rules

Assouline Berlowe

On Friday, January 23, 2015, Assouline & Berlowe partner, Michael Greene, presented to an assembly of environmental industry professionals jointly organized by Florida Atlantic University, ASHRAE and the Indoor Air Quality Association on the new Mold Assessor and Remediator Standards and Practices rules proposed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The proposed rules would create minimum practice requirements for both mold assessors and remediators in Florida beyond the existing licensing rules and requirements.

Michael was one of the original drafters, working on behalf of the Indoor Air Quality Association, of the original assessor and remediator licensing law enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2007. The first licensing rules were not established by the DBPR until January of last year and proscribe the minimum educational, experience and testing requirements for those in the mold industry.

The newly proposed rules are unique among Florida licensed professions in providing detailed procedures for the performance of assessment and remediation. DBPR is now deciding what measures and means should apply to both assessment and remediation instead of relying on or incorporating existing industry standards. The closest analogy would be if the medical professional licensing statutes mandated how a surgeon must hold a scalpel. Ultimately, if adopted the proposed rules will increase costs for property owners and consumers as, regardless of the professional opinion of the assessor or the experience of the remediator or the actual scope of the mold event, certain minimum tests and procedures are mandated. The rules are so specific that even the thickness of polyethylene (6-mil fire-resistant) for a containment structure is set forth. The timing of this rule is particularly disconcerting as insurance coverage for mold and other microbiologic contamination has become more limited and more expensive. In contrast to the many years required to promulgate the first licensing rules, the new practice standards rule appears to be on the fast-track; having had its first public comment hearing in September of last year, with public comments closing out on January 20th of this year.

Because certain industry sectors in specific cases, such as property managers, general contractors, engineers, government, and even homeowners, may be exempt from licensing (so long as they do not hold themselves out to the public as mold assessors or remediators), the rules could have the effect of promoting assessment of the presence of mold and remediation of contamination by persons who are also unskilled and untrained in the proper means and methods for resolving mold and fungal problems.

Michael has significant experience in both resolving and preventing construction and indoor environmental legal issues and served for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Michael has spoken on and published numerous articles, see http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/michael-s-greene.html. He is available for consultation by telephone or by appointment at 954-929-1899.

Another public hearing on the proposed rules will be held on February 26, 2015 at 10 am. The public may participate by telephone conference. For more information, please contact Michael Greene below.

Michael S. Greene, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: msg@assoulineberlowe.com

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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