Tag Archives: Florida

JUDGMENT INTEREST RATES – PARTY LIKE IT IS 2009!

As we have been updating on this blog over the past several years, Florida’s Interest Rates on Judgments is announced every quarter.  Over the past several quarters, interest rates have little by little steadily climbed.  Every quarter they are updated, either up, down, or they may remain the same.

 

As of this past Monday, October 1st, 2018, the new interest rate on judgments is now 6.09%.  This is the highest interest rate we have seen in Florida since December 31st, 2009, at which time rates were at 8%, and they steadily went down.

 

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

www.assoulineberlowe.com

Miami – Ft. Lauderdale – Boca Raton

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GREG POPOWITZ – A New Law Partner, Engineering the Firm’s Success

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Patent Attorney Greg Popowitz, Litigation Partner Eric Assouline, and Legal Assistants Ana Hesny and Juliana Alvarez all toast to Greg Popowitz’s promotion to Partner at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

Being an attorney was never in his long term plans.  Growing up in South Florida, Greg Popowitz helped his father build wood projects around the house.  He also had the opportunity to take a Manufacturing class in junior high school.  Being able to construct (and sometimes deconstruct) projects took him down a path towards engineering.   Greg loved being able to see how things work, whether it was a simple mechanical pencil or changing the rotors on an automobile’s brakes. 

With that in mind, Greg applied to the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia (or “GT” for short).  Greg started his freshman year of college in 1998 and chose to major in mechanical engineering. 

At Georgia Tech, Greg learned about the complexities of design, manufacturing, and failure analysis, just to name a few.  He also learned how important it was to work in a team environment.  Georgia Tech’s diverse student body afforded Greg the opportunity to work with students across the country and the world.  Greg also learned how to effectively manage his time given the highly technical and aggressive curriculum.  The study skills Greg acquired at Georgia Tech would pay handsome dividends for Greg down the road in law school. 

After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2002, Greg began to work for Visteon Corporation, a former subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.  Greg worked on drive shafts in the driveline systems division, based near the Motor City, Detroit Michigan.  Greg’s first rotation at Visteon started in the plant where he worked as a product engineer on current model designs.  Greg was involved in troubleshooting both design and manufacturing issues, which included Six Sigma principles.  Greg presented his findings to high level executives at Ford Motor Company.  Greg also worked on forward model designs, where he conducted durability tests and helped launch the driveshaft for the 2005 Ford Mustang. 

During his time at Visteon, a colleague received a patent on a new driveshaft that used a “slip in tube” design.  Greg started asking questions about patents and how a patent protects new inventions.  Greg spoke to Visteon’s in-house counsel, who happened to be a registered patent attorney.  For the first time, this sparked Greg’s interest in attending law school in order to become a patent attorney. 

In 2006, Greg applied and was accepted at Nova Southeastern Law School (NSU).  Greg also took and passed the patent bar exam in order to become a registered patent agent.  Greg interned at an Intellectual Property law firm in order to learn the practical sides of patent law. 

While interning, Greg saw firsthand how important a well crafted patent is when challenged in major patent litigation.  At NSU, Greg also had the opportunity to interview both George McGovern and John Anderson, former Presidential candidates.

After graduating from NSU (cum laude) and becoming a registered patent attorney, Greg worked at a large Florida law firm handling complex mortgage related litigation.  While the work was challenging, Greg quickly learned he wanted to focus more of his practice on IP and have more direct access to help clients on the front lines. 

Then, Greg accompanied his wife, Bankruptcy Attorney Ashley Popowitz, to a lunch, where he met Ashley’s friend and colleague, Eric Assouline.  Eric and Greg, who both shared an immense love for cars, immediately hit it off.  Eric wanted to find a way that Greg could add to the already highly talented IP and commercial litigation team at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

In 2013, Greg was offered an associate position at the Firm.  Greg’s practice centered on two main practice areas:  patent, trademark, and other related Intellectual Property prosecution matters; and commercial and business litigation matters.  On the IP side, Greg was able to speak to clients from the initial intake to delivering a registered trademark or issued patent.  Greg has seen small businesses grow and become recognized brand names.  Greg has been able to play a small role in helping businesses and entrepreneurs protect their inventions and brands and also create assets in the form of IP.  On the litigation side, Greg has been able to help clients bring a wide array of claims and also assist clients in defending similar claims.  While each case is different, Greg has learned to assess the nature of the case and help the firm’s clients achieve their long term goals.  Greg has also been involved in a handful of appeals involving the firm’s cases, which has allowed him to work closely with Eric Assouline to assist in writing appellate briefs regarding orders and judgments involving our clients. 

In April 2018 Greg will already be with Assouline & Berlowe for five years.  Greg has learned a great deal during his limited time at Assouline & Berlowe and he is surrounded by a wealth of talented attorneys and staff geared towards helping the firm’s clients maximize their results.  

Assouline & Berlowe is honored to promote Greg Popowitz to Partner and we are all excited to see how Greg can continue to engineer his and the firm’s success for years to come. 

Keep up the Good Work Greg!

#popowitzpartner

 

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Filed under Business Litigation, Copyright, Intellectual Property, IP Litigation, New Partner, Patent Prosecution, 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.

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/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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Assouline & Berlowe Partner Alan Krinzman’s 35 Years of “Real” Estate Experience

Real EstateAlan Krinzman’s real estate experience can only be described as “extensive”.   From both the legal and practical side, Mr. Krinzman has been involved with every aspect of real estate ownership, improvement, leasing, management and investment.

Mr. Krinzman’s real estate experience began from the ground up in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1979, when Mr. Krinzman personally renovated several residential  properties which he  then personally leased and managed for the partnerships he had formed to acquire and renovate these properties.

During this same time among other things, Mr. Krinzman oversaw the land assembly, revenue bond financing for and construction of the 154 room Maison St. Charles Hotel in the Lower Garden District area of New Orleans.

When Mr. Krinzman returned to his native Miami in 1986, Mr. Krinzman and his brother (also a fine Miami lawyer) purchased the twenty unit garden style apartment building which their father had built on Bay Harbor Island in 1958.  They then proceeded with an extensive renovation of the apartment interiors as well as the exterior, and as a result of these improvements were able to increase the rent roll dramatically. When  the Krinzman brothers eventually sold their  Bay Harbor Island building in 1994 they were able to exchange it for an Art Deco apartment building complex in a prime South Beach residential location very close to Lincoln Road which was on the corner of Michigan Avenue and 16th Street.  At that time, Mr. Krinzman again directed the extensive renovations and upgrades to the apartment interiors as well as all of the exteriors to the 4 buildings comprising this historic Miami Beach property.

In 1997, Mr. Krinzman sold this historic Miami Beach property to Andrea Greenwald, who converted it the apartments to the  Metropole Condominiums.  Mr. Krinzman and his brother then took the gains they received from this sale and purchased a four bay, 37,000 square foot warehouse at a cost $1.7 of million. The warehouse fronted I-95 and was centrally located just north of Cypress Creek, Fort Lauderdale west exit on I-95.  Mr. Krinzman again hired the contractors needed to make the necessary improvements to the warehouse and supervised these renovations.  Mr. Krinzman also personally managed and directed the leasing broker hired to lease this warehouse whenever a vacancy occurred.

By 2002, Mr. Krinzman decided that it was time to enter into the institutionally managed and leased industrial market and he partnered with investors  to purchase an 80,000 square foot multi-bay mixed use, flex space warehouse and office building  in Doral, Florida, for $5,000,000.  Mr. Krinzman engaged CBRE (Richard Ellis) to manage and lease the property, after Mr. Krinzman oversaw the extensive improvements done to the property costing approximately $600,000.

In 2003, Mr. Krinzman again partnered with investors to  purchase  an older three building, 80,000 square foot warehouse complex near the Pompano Harness Track and located on Racetrack Road in Pompano Beach, Florida, for $4,000,000. He again  used the same institutional approach for management and leasing of the complex through CBRE.  As in prior instances, Mr. Krinzman oversaw a similar $400,000  extensive improvement program that required Mr. Krinzman to contract for and supervise all facets of the improvements that we made to the 3 separate buildings comprising this complex.

In 2005, Mr. Krinzman and his brother sold the Cypress Creek warehouse and during that same year Mr. Krinzman and his co-investors investors also sold the larger warehouse complex on Racetrack Road.  Through the aggregation of these funds, Mr. Krinzman and his brother bought out their investors’  share in the Doral warehouse. Mr. Krinzman and his brother continued to own and operate this warehouse until the sold the building to Seagis at the beginning of 2013 for approximately $6.4 million.  During this same time period, Mr. Krinzman and his brother purchased and  improved a 13,600 square foot 3 bay warehouse near Aventura, Florida, which he personally managed and directed the leasing broker hired to lease this warehouse whenever a vacancy occurred. This Aventura warehouse was recently sold to Mario Groskopf.

While involved in this  investment oriented real estate ownership, improvement, leasing and management activity in Florida, in 2011, Mr. Krinzman also oversaw for a long time client Bigfoot Properties Inc. the $8,000,000 purchase of a 279,000 square foot, 16 acre, mixed use office warehouse complex in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mr. Krinzman also oversaw the management company for this property as well as the $600,0000 renovation program that was undertaken during 2011 and 2012 to attract new tenants and re-lease the property.

In 2012 and again for his longtime client, Bigfoot Properties Inc. Mr. Krinzman handled the client’s $2.8 million purchase of a 55,000 square foot flex space office warehouse building located near the intersection of Sample Road and North Powerline Roads, in Broward County, Florida. A $500,000 value add improvement and leasing turnaround for this property ensued and this property has  just been listed for sale at its most recently assessed value of $4.5 million. Mr. Krinzman will of course represent the seller Bigfoot Properties in the sale of this property, which should take place in either the first or second quarter of 2014.

And, in addition to being admitted to the Florida Bar, Mr. Krinzman is also a member of  the Louisiana Bar, holds a Florida real estate sales license and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Whether sitting on the side of the buyer, seller, equity investor or mortgage lender, in the past thirty-five years, Mr. Krinzman has personally been involved in thousands of real estate transactions and is always looking for the opportunity to represent both his existing and new clients in their next deal.

Please contact Mr. Krinzman to discuss your real estate needs.

Partner Alan Krinzman, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: alan@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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On your tradeMARK get SET GONE!

Miami Litigation Law Firm Sign - Assouline   Berlowe (00104683)

Trademarks, you can’t live with them, without protecting them. Imagine how much money has been invested in developing the most popular trademarks like Coca Cola or Apple. Millions and millions of dollars.

Recently, Intellectual Property Law Partner Peter Koziol and I met with a client who was operating a business with a catchy trademark, but there were a few issues. First, it was not registered yet. Ok, no problem, it can be registered, right? Well, maybe, it depends. More about that later.

Second, the mark is not really very creative, it is a little “descriptive” of the goods it sells. So, is that a problem? Yes, it can be. If it is descriptive it will have a harder time being registered with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. It will also have less protection in the courts. In the spectrum of what will get the most protection, to the least, a mark that does not suggest the good being sold, like Starbucks and coffee, will be given more protection than Fresh Bananas at a supermarket. One mark is a unique name that has no connection to any coffee product and the other is just a description of what is being sold.

Third, there are other names out there that are similar and are registered. Are they exactly the same, no. But the issue is not whether they are exactly the same. The issue is whether the newer mark is “likely to cause confusion” in the market place.

Fourth, the other marks that are registered predate the client’s first use of their mark. Great. Now what? Well, the fact that a similar mark exists and has been in use before the client’s mark is not a good thing. As a result, the first used mark has priority over the client’s mark. The mark with priority can stop the later used mark through a court injunction.

There are a few questions that should be asked to determine if that is the end of the story. Is the prior used mark still being used? A place to start is to do a Google search and see if the mark is currently being used. In this case, it looked like there were no hits on Google that showed that the business was still using the mark. That may be a good sign. But it is not the end of the story. There is no guaranty that if you use your mark, that it will end up in a Google search.

Another option is to inquire with counsel listed on the registration with the USPTO who registered the prior mark to see if the mark is still being used. If the attorney advises that the business failed and the mark is not being used anymore, that is great. But this strategy is a little dangerous because the attorney may notify their client that someone was poking around as to the mark. If they are still using the mark, they are now alerted to this subsequent potentially infringing mark.

What about if the client’s mark has been used before the date stated by the prior mark. That is a good fact. The client’s mark may be able to obtain some trademark protection in their geographic area. It may even establish a basis to try to cancel the registered mark. But this is an uphill battle and you will have to marshal the proof to establish this prior use.

Some think this should trigger a cease and desist to the other owner of the other mark. This should be done with caution, especially if the other owner is out of the state. In Jim Croce’s words “you don’t tug on Superman’s cape”, you do not send a cease and desist letter to a foreign state because it may trigger the filing of a declaratory judgment in the foreign state based upon the threat that the other mark is infringing on your client’s mark.

For more information on protecting your trademarks, call Eric N. Assouline, Esq.
ASSOULINE & BERLOWE – The BUSINESS LAW Firm

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com

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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LABOR LAW Update – 11th Circuit Clarifies Liquidated Damages Awards in FLSA Cases

11th Circuit Seal

In the case of Davila v. Menendez, decided on June 10, 2013, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which controls all federal courts in Florida, clarified the respective roles of the jury and the district court in deciding issues relevant to claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims.

In the Davila case, the trial court entered a directed verdict in favor of the defendant employer on the issue of intentional, reckless or willful behavior, thus precluding an award of liquidated (double compensatory) damages.  The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the jury was first required to decide whether the defendant willfully violated the FLSA before the court could rule on liquidated damages.

The Eleventh Circuit agreed and held that the district court erred when it entered judgment as a matter of law that the defendant did not violate FLSA.  The appellate court clarified that the district court was required to await the finding of the jury as to whether the defendant willfully or in good faith violated the law before assessing liquidated damages.  The court further noted that a jury’s finding of willfulness will establish both the period of limitations (willful violations of FLSA allow for a three-year look back period whereas non-willful violations allow only a two-year look back) and the propriety of liquidated damages.  A jury’s finding of willfulness mandates liquidated damages whereas a non-willful finding leaves the question of liquidated damages to the district court’s discretion.

Davila v. Menendez, __ F.3d __, 2013 WL 2460199 (C.A.11 (Fla.)).

For more information on any labor or employment issues, please call

Labor & Employment Partner Ellen Leibovitch.

For more information on Mrs. Leibovitch’s practice, go to: http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/Ellen_Leibovitch.asp or you can contact her by e-mail at eml@assoulineberlowe.com

Assouline & Berlowe is a full service business law firm with offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

Miami: 305-567-5576

Ft. Lauderdale: 965-929-1899

Boca Raton: 561-361-6566

 

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Labor Law – Make Sure You are NOT DOA When the DOL Comes Knocking – Hire an Attorney

Knock Knock.  Who’s There?  The Department of Labor (the “DOL”).

The DOL is here to see you – now what?!

Imagine the scene: you are the owner of a business, not too big but not small either.  You have done pretty well for yourself and have grossed over $500,000 in revenues over the past few years.  You have a staff of employees, most of whom are hourly.  It’s a typical day, business as usual, when all of a sudden your receptionist announces that some people from the Department of Labor (DOL) are here to see you.  A myriad of thoughts and questions race through your mind: “Why is the DOL here?  I never got a letter or any notice that I had any problems!  Why didn’t they call and make an appointment?  Am I in trouble?”

One thought that will not likely go through your mind is this: “I need to call my attorney.”  The reason for that is simple: most business owners are used to solving problems by employing obvious and simple solutions and turning on their best “customer service” skills to nip problems in the bud.  Consequently, you walk into the lobby to meet your “guests,” show them into your office (or preferably to a conference room), sit them down, offer them a cup of coffee from your brand new Keurig machine, ask how you can help and wait for a response.  Little do you know that the DOL is already five steps ahead of you, and they are waiting to pounce.  These DOL investigators come armed with the tools of their trade, starting with a detailed, comprehensive, all-encompassing request for documents that would take hours, days or maybe even longer to compile.  They are not impressed with your graciousness; they want blood, and they want it now.

At this point, most business owners are still thinking they have it under control.  Just give the DOL what they want, and they will go away.  If only it were that simple.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, the first shot across the bow.  Your business is now in the DOL’s sight, and the DOL will not leave without their pound of flesh.  If you have not thought about bringing in legal counsel before, now is the time to make the call.

You may be wondering how the DOL chose your business.  Usually, the DOL will act on either an anonymous complaint, a follow-up from a prior investigation or a focused concentration on businesses similar to yours.  The anonymous complaint is usually made by a current or former disgruntled employee who believes that you are not paying what you owe him.  Chances are, if you are not paying one employee in accordance with the law, then you are probably making the same errors across the board.  The “follow-up” investigation comes after a prior investigation, just when you thought the DOL was through with you.  The DOL loves to pop in to make sure that you are following through with all the things required under the law – like keeping accurate time and payroll records, making sure hourly employees are getting paid time and one-half for overtime hours worked each week, not docking employees who work through lunch, etc. (you know, all the things for which you were cited and paid dearly for previously).  The third type of investigation commences with the DOL’s decision to focus on specific industries in the local geographic area based on a history of reported violations.  Some South Florida industries that have been on the DOL’s radar in the past include restaurants (especially those with tip pools), farms and nurseries, dry cleaners, home health agencies, etc.

So even if you did not think about calling your attorney before you offered the DOL investigators a seat in your conference room and a cup of coffee, do not fear.  A skilled labor & employment law attorney can help you communicate with, respond to and negotiate an exchange of documents (and more) with the DOL.  A labor & employment attorney speaks the DOL’s language and is invaluable in these type of situations.  Regardless whether you hire an attorney before you meet the DOL investigator, after you provide copies of all your business’ financial statements and tax returns or after the DOL has determined that you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages and penalties, a seasoned labor & employment attorney will be able to help.

For more information, please feel free to contact me.

Ellen M. Leibovitch

Board Certified Labor & Employment Lawyer

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

2700 N. Military Trail, Suite 150

Boca Raton, Florida33431

Main: 561-361-6566
Direct: 561-948-2479

Fax: 561-361-6466

Email: eml@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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