Carlos focuses his practice on real estate disputes (sales and purchase disputes, foreclosures, title insurance litigation, commercial and residential evictions, and other real estate related claims) and business claims (fraud and contract lawsuits, shareholder disputes, and other claims between business partners). A major part of his real estate litigation practice involves eminent domain/condemnation matters, which have included inverse condemnation and Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act claims.

In addition to being admitted to all Florida state courts, Carlos is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.

Carlos speaks and writes for a variety of audiences, including the firm’s Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate blog. The Florida Bar’s Eminent Domain Committee, The Florida Bar’s City, County & Local Government Section, and the Florida Association of County Engineers & Road Superintendents have featured Carlos as a lecturer on eminent domain topics, and the West Coast Florida Chapter of the Appraisal Institute has featured Carlos as a panel speaker on witness preparation in eminent domain cases. The American Bar Association published an article Carlos wrote about the use of eminent domain to condemn underwater mortgages (December 10, 2012 web post). The Florida Bar Journal has published several of Carlos’s articles, including two that he wrote about eminent domain topics.  The Supreme Court of Florida cited his article, “Eminent Domain: Identifying Issues in Damages for the General Practitioner,” in System Components Corp. v. Florida Dept. of Transportation, 14 So.3d 967 (Fla. 2009). Carlos is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Continue Reading Carlos Kelly

You’re a business manager, or maybe even a business owner. You work hard: your work day rarely runs from only 9 to 5; your work week usually runs longer than Monday through Friday. The last thing you need is a subpoena: who wants to get dragged into court for someone else’s dispute?

But the business gods have different plans . . . .

Your office manager calls you to say a sheriff’s deputy just served your company with a subpoena and wants to do what needs to be done. As a savvy business manager or owner, you already know that a subpoena is a court paper requiring the recipient to appear or produce information, or both, so you’re already in a position to effectively address this situation.

First Things First

First, you thank your office manager for notifying you immediately (and congratulate yourself for hiring a stellar professional and providing good training). Second, you refer to your Subpoena Policy, which is your written game plan for this situation.

Continue Reading Our Office Manager Received A Subpoena—What Should My Company Do Now?

Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order No. 20-91 (which the Governor amended later the same day for clarification). Section 1.B of Executive Order 20-91 provides “all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”

What are essential services?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to describe in general terms what an “essential service” is. Of course, if you own a business, you consider your business’s service or product essential, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business to begin with! Personal feelings aside, however, it’s important to understand how the State of Florida defines “essential services.”

Continue Reading COVID-19: What are Essential Services?

It took a little longer than expected, but the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) is now law. Initially expected to go before the Senate on Monday, the House bill met with much industry resistance. The House then made some “minor technical corrections” (if 75 pages of corrections is minor) on Monday before sending it to the Senate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, March 18, the Senate approved the Act 90-8 (two Senators, one of whom was Sen. Rick Scott, were missing from the vote — self-quarantined due to possible exposure) and the President signed the Act into law a few hours later.

The final Act differs quite a bit from the initial House bill. Below is a summary of the major provisions that apply to employers.

March 20, 2020 Update

On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department, IRS, and the U.S. Department of Labor officially announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of the two new refundable payroll tax credits immediately. This relief would allow these employers to be fully reimbursed, dollar-for-dollar for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

The Act becomes effective April 2, 15 days from the date it was signed into law. There are two subsets of the Act:

  1. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act; and
  2. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Continue Reading President Signs Emergency Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employment Laws

CAK big wheelYeah, that’s me on a Big Wheel at age 6 or 7. Check out that air! Good thing there was grass for soft landing….

Recently, my law partner and I tried a temporary injunction in a complicated business dispute. When I cross-examined the opposing expert, he answered “Yes” to most of my leading questions, as I expected he would. When the opposing expert strayed from deposition testimony, I impeached him to get him back on the straight and narrow.

Near the end, I elicited a pretty good answer. I could have stopped right there. It would have been a good cross-examination. But I thought I could ask one more question on this topic, and really nail him. There was some risk in asking the next question, as he could have tried to put a spin on his previous answers. But if he did, he’d have an awful lot of previous testimony to explain away.

It turned out the next answer was better than I could have hoped for when I was putting my cross-exam together beforehand.

Take-Away

Risk is a constant in business. Don’t avoid it—embrace it, measure it, and use it to guide your next action.

If your business ventures may require you to use the court system, whether as a plaintiff to enforce your contractual rights, or as a defendant to protect against attempts to attack your business, identify the risks and discuss them with your lawyer. He or she should be listening so that you can identify a strategy to come up with a soft landing. Just in case.

henderson franklin street sign - smaller versionThank you to those readers who attended our C-Suite Seminar Kick-off on September 15, 2016. I posted on September 1 about the topic that my colleague, Mark Nieds, Esq., and I would be presenting. If you did happen to miss us on the 15th, Mark and I explained what to do when a shareholder demands an inspection of the company’s books and records.

To make the discussion more lively, we prepared a mock letter.

While the letter didn’t track the statute, our advice was to respond to the letter promptly, pointing out that the company is ready to comply with a document inspection demand that complies with the statute. This way, the company refuses to comply with a demand outside of the statute, but shows it’s ready to promptly comply with a demand within the statute. This will be useful if the shareholder decides to forego a statutory demand and, instead, files suit under Florida Statute section 607.1604. In that scenario, the company will be well-protected and may have an opportunity to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs for an improper document demand.

The take-away from our presentation? Don’t ignore the demand and get your counsel involved early so that you are ahead of the game on this issue. Click here for a link to the handouts.

Have you ever received a letter from a shareholder in your business demanding an inspection of the books and records of the company? If you never have, count yourself lucky.

Florida Law

That’s because Florida law provides a right for any shareholder to inspect the books and records of a company. Florida Statutes section 607.1602 gives a shareholder the right to inspect various categories of company books and records. The key to evaluating a request is to determine what is being requested. Florida law defines corporate records; not everything for which a shareholder demands an inspection must be provided.

Continue Reading “I demand an inspection of the books and records of the company!”

Guest post by Henderson Franklin Attorneys Suzanne Boy and Carlos Kelly

iStock_000015122897XSmallThese are important questions, and like many questions involving the law, the answer is “It depends.” There are pros and cons to both arbitration and a traditional lawsuit in court. Arbitration can be (but is not always) faster. But faster doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper all the way around.

Is faster better?

For example, the filing and arbitrator fees can be significantly higher (at least double) than filing fees for many civil lawsuits. And, if arbitration is quicker than resolving a dispute in the court system, that may not necessarily translate to significantly smaller legal fees. Instead, a similar amount of work (discovery, pre-trial motions, and exchanging exhibits, for example) could take place in a shorter amount of time.

Arbitration can be useful if you have a dispute that you want to keep out of the public eye, though a noisy party on the other side of the case could still bring media or social media attention.

Proceeding through the court system can be (but is not always) slower than resolving a dispute through arbitration.

Can you appeal the decision?

Continue Reading Business Owners: Should You Arbitrate or Should You Litigate in Court?