David S. Willig: The Civil-Law Notary: A Bridge Between Worlds

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DAVID S. WILLIG, ESQ. – The word "notary” is usually associated in the public mind with a quasi-official who pulls out his or her stamp when someone needs a witness for an oath or some other legal transaction. Only three hours of classroom time are required to be a notary public in Florida, but the Civil-Law Notary is very different. These notaries, where they are part of the legal landscape, are high-level legal professionals who handle important transactions.   In creating this designation, the Florida Legislature realized one of its greatest unsung achievements. The Scope of the Profession The Civil-Law Notary is intended to function similarly to that of notaries in “civil law” jurisdictions such as Quebec and Argentina, not incidentally two of Florida’s most important international economic partners. Asian countries such as Japan and China also have adopted … [Read more...]

Anthony De Yurre: Strategies to Serve Process on International Defendants

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BY ANTHONY DE YURRE, ESQ – International demographics lead to international defendants. Unfortunately, service of process on international defendants creates extensive motion practice, including evidentiary hearings. In order to avoid delay and expense, service of process regarding international defendants must be an integral part of early litigation strategy. Both Federal and Florida law provide the same method of service for defendants abroad. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f) provides for service outside the United States, "by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents." Additionally, Fla. Stat. §48.193(3) provides that, "[S]ervice of process upon any person subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state as provided in … [Read more...]

Jonathan Goldstein: Facebook Post to Associations – Limit Confidentiality in Your Settlements

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BY JONATHAN S. GOLDSTEIN, ESQ – Community associations (condominiums and homeowners’ associations) should always attempt to obtain limitations on confidentiality agreements in settlements that permit the association to share the agreement with its members. These limitations should also insulate the association from responsibility if one of its members disseminates the agreement without the association’s approval. This issue affects many individuals and entities because of the prevalence of community association ownership and litigation. A recently issued decision by the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal, in the case of Gulliver Schools Inc. and School Mgmt. Systems Inc. v. Snay, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D457 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 26, 2014), illustrates the potential significance of confidentiality provisions in such settlements. The Gulliver Schools Inc. decision dealt with a … [Read more...]

David S. Willig: Bilingual Mediation Too Often an Afterthought

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BY DAVID S. WILLIG, ESQ. – Alternative Dispute Resolution continues to be a growth industry, throughout the United States and around the world. Among ADR techniques and mechanisms, mediation leaves the result in the hands of the parties, rather than one imposed from "on high." In mediation, the mediator's only power is that of persuasion, along with creativity in proposing ideas that lead to a negotiated solution. This is challenging enough in normal circumstances. In many instances, mediation can be more challenging still when the parties have language differences. Language in mediation is critical, because of the mediator's role in guiding the parties toward settlement through suggestion and persuasion. In the increasingly diverse communities established or emerging in many parts of Florida, and the U.S., we see language issues more often come to the fore. Disagreeing in two … [Read more...]

Michael L. Feinstein: Florida Makes Big Changes to its Limited Liability Company Act

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BY MICHAEL L. FEINSTEIN, ESQ. – On June 14, 2013, Florida adopted the Revised Limited Liability Act (“Florida’s LLC Act”), based on the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. Florida’s LLC Act went into effect on January 1, 2014 and is codified in Chapter 605 of the Florida Statutes. Florida’s LLC Act governs new LLCs formed after Jan.1, 2014. LLCs formed before Jan.1, 2014, may elect to be governed under the old LLC statute until Jan.1, 2015, however, after Jan.1, 2015, Florida’s LLC Act will apply to all Florida LLCs. Florida’s LLC Act contains significant changes from the prior statute. Below are some highlights of the material changes: 1. Expansion of Nonwaivable Provisions  §605.0105 Florida’s LLC Act expands the list of statutory rights and provisions that cannot be waived or altered in governing documents or other agreements between an … [Read more...]