Payton & Associates, LLC

Miami Business Litigation Lawyers

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

Contact (305) 372-3500

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

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.

Health care and insurance fraud alive and well in Florida

It seems that South Florida, along with the rest of the state, is regularly inundated with news of the next big fraud case in the Sunshine State. Lately, though, it seems a like a lot of the news centers on fraud claims in the health and insurance industries. In the last few weeks, for example, law enforcement agencies have busted people involved in property insurance fraud, while defendants involved in large-scale home health care and pharmacy fraud schemes received sizable sentences.

In one such instance, a central-Florida pharmacy owner was handed 13 years in federal prison for a kickback scheme that involved two other people and netted millions of dollars. In the scheme, the pharmacy owner worked with pre-selected doctors who would prescribe expensive medications to their patients - some as much as $17,000 for a single prescription - which would be filled at the defendant's pharmacy.

Florida Ponzi scheme laws

A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud that pays individuals who invested earlier in the scheme with the money the swindle takes in from later later investors. This creates the illusion that the enterprise is profitable and keeps law enforcement at bay - while it lasts. For years, Florida has unfortunately proven to be fertile ground for these types of schemes, whether involving gold bullion, fake stocks or real estate.

Ponzi schemes are named for Charles Ponzi, who perpetrated a large-scale investment scam of the kind that now bears his name. The red flag in any such scheme is an offer of above-market returns on investment in a short time. While many of these schemes end up in federal jurisdiction - due either to the subject matter or size of the case - the Sunshine State has also enacted laws to protect its citizens and help them to recover on their fraud claims.

Miami bridge collapse underscores dangers of defects

When a defect - or defects - is present in a construction project, the potential liability for a developer or contractor can be enormous. Simply mitigating a defect can result in a seven or eight figure price tag for parties involved in the project. In cases where personal injury or death result from a design or construction defect, which can also be an indication of professional malpractice, the legal and financial consequences can be devastating for a business.

The consequences in terms of injury and loss of life, on the other hand, are catastrophic for victims and their families. The recent collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was to connect Florida International University to the suburb of Sweetwater makes clear the dangers of design and/or construction defects, or negligence, in very clear, very tragic terms. Several lives were lost and many people were injured in the tragedy.

Our firm can help with your Florida contract dispute

If you are involved in any sort of business - from real estate or construction to a partnership or a franchise opportunity - you are more than likely involved in at least one, and in reality several, contractual relationships. Relationships based on contracts usually start off well. Two or more parties come together with a common goal and or set of goals and memorialize what they are hoping to accomplish in the form of a contract.

Typically, a contractual relation progresses in the manner foreseen by the parties: contractual obligations are met; duties are fulfilled; and the terms of the contract are satisfied. On the other hand, it is not rare for something to go wrong. When a dispute over the terms of or duties under a contract arises, it can result in a stressful and often costly situation.

Our firm can help with your Florida contract dispute

If you are involved in any sort of business - from real estate or construction to a partnership or a franchise opportunity - you are more than likely involved in at least one and, in reality, several contractual relationships. Relationships based on contract usually start off well. Two or more parties come together with a common goal and or set of goals and memorialize what they are hoping to accomplish in the form of a contract.

Typically, a contractual relation progresses in the manner foreseen by the parties: Contractual obligations are met; duties are fulfilled; and the terms of the contract are satisfied. On the other hand, it is not rare for something to go wrong. When a dispute over the terms of or duties under a contract arises, it can result in a stressful and often costly situation.

Suit demonstrates costliness of construction disputes

Miami and South Florida have seen tremendous development of infrastructure over the past several years. From rail corridors and airport projects, to improved freeway and tollway systems, the region is expanding at a breakneck pace. Unfortunately, the pressures of major construction projects can lead to disputes between developers and contractors or subcontractors. And disputes may result in construction litigation, which is almost always costly.

An example of the costliness of construction litigation is the years-long dispute between the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and the contractor it hired to install an open-road tolling system, Electronic Transactions Consultants Corp. When the tolling system failed to work as promised, MDX threw the blame at the feet of ETC, claiming that they underbid and misrepresented its abilities to undertake the project to MDX.

What is a breach of fiduciary duty in Florida?

A fiduciary duty is an obligation that arises when one has a legal duty to act in the best interests of another. For example, a business partner has a fiduciary duty to their other partners. When a party fails to uphold their obligations, it could be a breach of their fiduciary duty. In a corporate or other commercial setting, a breach of fiduciary can result in contentious business litigation.

Fiduciary relationships can exist in any number of situations. They can be created by contract, imparted by statute or implied as a matter of law by the actions of the parties in the relationship. Fiduciary duties are often financial relationships, but not always. Most common fiduciary duties occur when one party is placed in a position of extreme trust -- like a lawyer, an accountant, a corporate board member, a trustee, a conservator or the executor of an estate -- vis a vis another party.

Miami police officer accused of Ponzi scheme

It appears that even law enforcement is not above the easy money a Ponzi scheme can appear to offer. Recently, the FBI arrested a veteran Miami police officer as he was about board a plane to Costa Rica. The officer was allegedly running a Ponzi scheme during his off hours and has been charged with wire fraud.

The fraud claims against the accused involve an investment scheme. The defendant offered 20 percent returns to investors, which he claimed offered high-interest loans to real estate owners in Costa Rica. The Department of Justice says that, in classic Ponzi scheme style, the defendant was using phony paperwork, and new investments were simply used to pay returns to earlier investors and to enrich himself.

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