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Miami Business & Commercial Law Blog

4 contracts every business should use

It's sometimes said that "the biggest mistake you can make with a contract is not having one at all." Contracts offer you significant protection over verbal agreements or "handshake deals."

If you're fairly new as an entrepreneur, here are four types of contracts you need to know about right away:

Avoid post-hurricane scams in Florida

Even as this is being written, Florida is bracing for Hurricane Dorian. With hurricanes, it's always a "will-it-or-won't-it" type of situation. Residents often prep their homes and stock up on provisions to be safe, but they never really know if the hurricane will hit hard or mostly skip them by.

One thing they can count on, however, if a hurricane does hit is that the wave of scam artists posing as repairmen and general contractors won't be far behind.

What happens when a subcontractor makes a big mistake?

As a general contractor, you probably tend to rely on your subcontractors for a lot of the actual work that gets done on your projects. After all, you can't be everywhere at once -- nor an expert in every field. You do your best to hire subcontractors that are reputable, experienced and dependable for every project -- but sometimes mistakes happen or a subcontractor just doesn't live up to his or her reputation.

So, who is responsible when a subcontractor messes up -- badly -- and there's no way around a costly repair?

Own a small business? Beware of embezzlers

Here's the saddest truth about embezzlement: It's more likely to happen among a small, tight-knit company than it is in a big corporation.

Why? Because small companies are often staffed by people that know and trust each other well. They often have less oversight, and nobody expects someone who is "like family" (or actual family) to steal from them. In large corporations, there's a lot less free agency, and everybody tends to be a little suspicious of anything unusual that happens because most people don't know their co-workers that well.

Scam artist dupes 9,000 investors in Florida real estate firm

When a real estate investment deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

In the case of a South Florida real estate firm, that was definitely the case. Around 9,000 investors -- many of them retirees -- were promised 5% to 10 % returns on their investments if they poured their money into luxury homes as far away as Beverly Hills and Aspen.

When property management companies go bad

If you own several commercial properties, the odds are high that you've hired a property management company to make sure that everything is cared for appropriately. A good property management company is a great investment because it can take a lot of stress off your shoulders.

A bad property management company, however, not so much.

What gives Florida jurisdiction over a business lawsuit?

What gives someone the right to sue you in Florida?

Well, it's a matter of jurisdiction. When a court has sufficient authority over a situation, that's referred to as its jurisdiction. In essence, that means that the court has the ability to enforce its rulings on the parties involved. A court must have both personal jurisdiction (power over the entity or individual being sued) and subject matter jurisdiction (the ability to hear the particular type of issue being raised).

Don't take a chance with a 'self-help' eviction in Florida

What do you do when you have a tenant that just won't pay? What if the tenant is simply one of the "those" tenants -- causing trouble and creating problems from dawn to dusk with every other tenant you have? What if the tenant is simply refusing to obey the rules you have in place regarding pets, sanitary issues and more?

Well, naturally you want that tenant out of your property. However, the actual legal eviction process seems unnecessarily complicated, especially if your tenant seems inclined to dig in and fight the process.

Representations, warranties and covenants in contracts

What's the difference between a representation, a warranty and a covenant in the contact you have in front of you?

Don't know? You aren't alone. A lot of people don't understand the difference -- or even think they're pretty much the same thing. However, representations, warranties and covenants have vastly different jobs in a contract -- and the remedies available to you if they are broken also differ.

Avocado lawsuit ends in apology, offers lessons for others

Avocados -- a long-overlooked fruit in American cuisine -- have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. (Blame the Millennial obsession over avocado toast if you like, but the fruit was honestly overdue for some recognition as a source of nutrients.)

Well, Fresh Directions International, a Miami produce distributor, was sued for its alleged illegal sales of "Carlas," a particularly tasty version of the fruit. The company that sued, Agroindustria Oceana (AIOSA), claimed that they held the patent on the Carlas. They sued over the infringement of their intellectual property rights.