Payton & Associates, LLC

Miami Business Litigation Lawyers

2 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2300
Miami, FL 33131

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Payton & Associates, LLC

  • AV Preeminent
  • Rated By Super Lawyers Harry A. Payton Selected in 2014 Thomson Reuters
  • The Florida Bar Board Certified Business Litigation
  • The Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial

Miami Business & Commercial Law Blog

Case illustrates importance of non-compete agreements

The importance of a non-compete contracts for companies' key personnel and executives cannot be emphasized enough. South Florida firms, whose executives, technology, creative and sales leaders are trusted with developing and protecting proprietary business information, should ensure that their interests are protected by requiring all such employees and executives to enter into such contracts. Non-compete agreements protect a firm's secrets, proprietary information and enterprise knowledge from being shared with or disclosed to competitors.

Just how crucial a non-compete agreement can be was recently illustrated when Ascend Learning, LLC's chief technology officer (CTO) abruptly left the company. Shortly after his departure, John Wiley & Sons Inc. announced that the CTO would be assuming the same role at Wiley. Probably not coincidentally, a former manager of Ascend had previously left the company to become Wiley's CEO.

What are deceptive trade practices in Florida?

Consumers, individuals and businesses alike, drive the global economy. This means that firms trying to reach consumers must compete fiercely for attention to get their products noticed. There are any number of reasons a consumer may choose one product over another: experience with a brand, features, quality versus value, or just the bottom-line price. In making a purchasing decision, consumers often rely on communications from retailers and manufacturers in forms such as advertisements, direct messages and verbal assurances. Sometimes, though, such communications may be less than honest.

When a business attempts to deceive through the use of false or misleading communication, it is engaging in deceptive trade practices. In Florida, the state's consumer protection laws allow buyers who have been tricked or misled by unscrupulous manufacturers or retailers to receive compensation. Deceptive trade practices can include anything from false advertising to outright fraud.

South Florida computer faces fraud charges

Individuals and businesses often rely on other firms for important services to help make their own business run smoothly. Unfortunately, however, it seems that not all businesses are out to perform the services that they purport to do. Sometimes they are simply fraudulent enterprises disguised as legitimate concerns. These types of companies then prey on other businesses, causing losses of hard-earned money, as well as time.

As the Miami Herald reports, a tech firm that operated primarily in Broward and Palm Beach Counties was one such predatory sham operation. The firm changed names a few times since 2013, when the scam began, but it purported to be a computer repair and tech support service business. However, the business was often responsible for the tech bugs they were contacted to fix.

Massive Medicaid fraud leads to moratorium in Miami, Broward

A state-wide program that funds costly treatment for low-income children who suffer from autism was dealt a blow this month when regulators put a hold on enrollment of new behavioral analysis therapists. Regulators blamed the moratorium on widespread fraud and overbilling by individuals and agencies who were supposed to be delivering this effective type of therapy to needy autistic children in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and across Florida.

Medicaid and Medicare fraud has become increasingly widespread in the Sunshine State and elsewhere in the United States. Several therapy providers, pharmacies and home health care agencies in South Florida have run afoul of regulators and law enforcement in recent months. A single case easily represents millions of dollars in fraudulent claims, overbilling or charges for services never rendered.

Fraudsters used shell companies, stole South Florida real estate

When it comes to fraud, some perpetrators are simply bolder than others. In South Florida, where fraud schemes on a grand scale are somewhat commonplace, it can take quite a bit to turn people's heads. However, a recent scheme uncovered in Broward County is certainly among the most brazen in the recent history of South Florida fraud cases.

A group of seven fraudsters that the Broward County Sheriff's Office dubbed the "tomb raiders" have been arrested and amassed more than 600 felony charges. Included among the charges are fraud, grand theft and identity theft. Using forged quitclaim deeds, the brazen fraud scheme involved transferring homes that were in foreclosure, belonged to individuals who are disabled or - hence the "tomb raiders" moniker - were among the estates of dead people into the ownership of a shell corporation.

Protecting your trade secrets in Florida

A trade secret is an important type of a business's intellectual property for which the laws of Florida afford protection. A trade secret can be a formula, a proprietary device, a recipe or even a list of clients. Anything that is proprietary to a business and that gives the business an advantage over competitors who do not possess the information or do not have the knowledge to use the information could be considered a trade secret. Theft of a trade secret in Florida could give rise to a business tort claim and possibly even criminal charges.

In the Sunshine State, trade secrets are protected by the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Under the act, someone whose trade secret has been appropriated can move for injunctive relief to prevent the secret from being used or disseminated in business. The owner of the trade secret can also file suit for monetary damages, including those for actual financial losses, reasonable royalties for unauthorized disclosure of the secret and unjust enrichment.

Florida businesses can count on us for complex litigation needs

Conducting business in Florida, as experienced executives and owners know, can be fraught with pitfalls. From poorly drafted agreements to outright bad actors, it can be far too easy for a formerly amicable business arrangement to devolve into a dispute or potentially litigation. For this reason, it is crucial to have a seasoned business litigation attorney on whom you can rely.

Partners in a partnership or limited limited liability company may have a disagreement over terms or accounting of partnership assets and liabilities. Or if a partner seeks to leave the firm, a dispute may arise over what is owed and who owes it (i.e., the exiting partner or the partnership/LLC). These types of matters can make for unpleasant and expensive litigation. Often, it is better to try and negotiate an arrangement to save money on both sides. And negotiation is something at which experienced business litigators excel.

Miami man sentenced, ordered to pay restitution in fraud case

Health care is one of the fastest growing business sectors in South Florida and across the United States. With such tremendous growth, however, comes the possibility of wrongdoing. In recent months, several individuals have been arrested, charged or sentenced on fraud claims involving health care operations. Typically, these cases involve fraudulent insurance claims.

In a recent case, the co-owner of Miami medical and rehabilitation clinics admitted to submitting more than $10 million in fraudulent health care claims. The scheme netted millions of dollars in ill-gotten insurance payments for the clinic owner and his co-conspirators. As a result, the clinic owner received a sentence of 97 months in federal prison, along with a three-year period of supervised release to follow his sentence.

Apartment development drives housing starts in Florida, elsewhere

Anyone with eyes can see that residential construction is booming in Miami and throughout South Florida. Much of this boom is due largely to major, multi-million-dollar apartment and condominium developments. Given the increasing population in South Florida, the addition of so many new housing units will help to keep the area somewhat affordable for residents. However, with a boom in development there is usually also a boom in construction litigation.

In March, construction starts on new apartment developments drove up home building indicators across the United States. Apartment starts, alone, were up a whopping 16 percent. In Miami, all one need do is drive along Brickell or Bayshore to have these statistics confirmed. But high-end residential developments can sometimes cause high-end legal headaches.

Crypto-craze invites fraud, recalls South Florida of yore

Cryptocurrency is big business these days. People are hoarding and speculating in such currencies as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple today like they did in gold and other precious metals in the past. The craze for the unregulated cryptos has led to the creation of investment funds, soaring prices with wild fluctuations and, of course, fraud. In South Florida, the similarities between today's hunger for cryptocurrencies and that for precious metals has not gone unnoticed, inviting comparisons between infamous gold fraud cases of the past and the $700 million in crypto fraud claims that arose in last year.

As the housing bubble was bursting and the world teetered on the edge of the Financial Crisis of the early 2000s, investors started investing in gold. Several South Florida businesses cropped up offering to store bullion for unsuspecting investors. A largely unregulated business practice, several of the operators defrauded their clients, resulting in nearly $100 million in losses for the clients who trusted them.

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