42. Is Someone Using Their Corporation to Hide Behind and Not Pay You?

In 2015 a local businessman entered our office and inquired as to collecting on a corporate debt. His company had provided the stage and sound system for a Manatee County outdoor concert event and now the corporation that put-on the concert and its three officers/shareholders (one of whom is a local lawyer) were not paying. In other words, our client’s equipment was used to put on the concert and the concert promoters kept the revenue and didn’t pay for the stage and sound system! To make matters worse, our client had recently been turned away by Bradenton’s largest law firm and its litigation partner because “the debt is a corporate debt and cannot be collected on”.  So, one of Mackey Law Group’s client’s (a well-known entertainer) told his friend to come see us for a second opinion.

Mackey Law Group reviewed the case and decided to take things on for the stage and sound client. We not only sued the corporation that owed the money, we also sued the principals/shareholders, individually, who were behind the corporation that owed our client money. So, what did the other side do? They went to Sarasota and got the senior litigator at a big-firm. The non-payers were apparently going to teach our client a lesson.

As expected, there were multiple motions to dismiss our client’s complaint and motions to continue hearings. On the eve of the jury trial, the big-firm lawyers even put the non-paying corporation into bankruptcy. That tactic alone stalled our client’s quest to get paid for over a year. But, Mackey Law Group would not give-in to these games. We hung in there for our client and amended the pleadings one more time to sue the lone-standing person behind the now-bankrupt corporation  for using the corporation to commit a fraud on another…….yes, there is a way in Florida to get-around the corporate shield and collect from individual shareholders if they use the corporation to shield themselves in the commission of a fraud. Most lawyers do not know this; and obviously the Bradenton big firm litigators who rejected our client were not up on the law when they told our client he would never collect.

Mackey Law Group’s lawyers finally got the case set for jury trial. It took years of perseverance. Again, as trial approached, there were threats as to how we were going to lose and our client would have to pay the other side’s lawyer’s fees. However, our client now was educated by us on the law and he did not waiver. So what eventually happened? Our client won; he got paid. In fact, our client got paid via an agreement that was reached on the Friday before the Monday jury trial was to commence. Do you want proof? Take a look at the filed payment agreement in Manatee County Circuit Court Case Number 2015 CA 5907.

Don’t settle for a bad case analysis by a lawyer, no matter how “old and respected” the law firm is. Good trial lawyers are few and far between. Here at Mackey Law Group we are in the courtrooms of this state all the time. We know the law and we know how to win.

By: Peter Mackey, Esq.

40. “I’m getting divorced, can I move with my kids?”

This is a common question people ask when getting divorced and have children.

Florida law is very specific about what is allowed in a “relocation” with minor children.  There is a maximum distance that you can move without the necessity of a court order.  A lot of people, including many lawyers, are not aware that the distance is measured “as the crow flies” (straight line on a map). The answer to the question really hinges on several factors including the reasons for the move and how far the move will be.

Assuming your spouse or ex-spouse does not agree with you, relocating elsewhere with the minor children requires a Petition for Relocation.  Very precise and particular language has to be included in the petition or your case can be thrown out.

There are eleven (11) factors under Florida law that the court will look at to determine whether relocation is in the best interests of the minor children.  Some of the factors include:  the current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the relocating parent and the minor children.  You will have to prove these factors to a judge.

Because of all these nuances, it is best to hire a skilled and experienced family law attorney if you are considering a relocation with minor children.  Do not hesitate to contact the litigators at Mackey Law Group.  We litigate these types of cases and win!

By: Jose Estigarribia, Esq.

39. Thinking of Representing Yourself? Think Again.

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client” – Anonymous

Too often people choose to represent themselves in court in order to save money, or because they believe that their issue is “simple”. This often leads to disastrous results. Without the aid of an attorney, you may be unable to meet all the technical requirements to prove your case or fail to realize you could have “gone for more”.

Using a divorce case as an example, this may mean paying more in child support or even having less time with your kids. In a civil case, your entire case could be lost on a technicality, even if you were right all along. Losing your case may also result in having to pay for the other side’s attorney fees and court costs, even if you didn’t hire one, defeating the entire purpose of saving money.

I have seen many self-represented litigants realize once inside the courtroom that they are in over their heads. In desperation, they will turn to the judge for advice. Unfortunately for them, their second realization is that judges are unable to provide any guidance and that they are truly on their own.

If you are thinking of representing yourself, or are currently representing yourself, call us today and our winning attorneys will make sure your case is handled right.

By: Jorge Martinez, Esq.

38. Federal Appellate Defense: Complex Litigation

Many lawyers say that they handle “complex litigation”. Really? Do they? Have they actually gotten positive results? Make them show you.

Here at Mackey Law Group, our lawyers don’t just say we handle complex litigation, we do it all the time and we win!  Recently, Pete Mackey and T.R. Smith obtained a federal court jury verdict in the Middle District Court in Tampa, Florida (yes, we actually work and try cases in federal court) for one of our business clients. This trial victory is highlighted in our blog entitled “Federal Court Jury Trial Victory”.

Then, the loser’s Washington D.C. and West Palm Beach big-firm lawyers appealed the Tampa Federal Court verdict to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia. This did not intimidate our lawyers in the slightest; we never missed a beat. Mackey Law Group’s lawyers have litigated in federal court for years and our lawyers have successfully represented many clients in appeals. So, after year of appellate briefs and submissions to the appellate court, on July 18, 2019 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed our client’s jury verdict. A copy of the Eleventh Circuit’s entire opinion follows this blog. Opinion Affirming

The lesson to be learned? Don’t settle for anything but the best when choosing litigation counsel. Ask questions and demand answers. Here at Mackey Law Group we are litigators who actually know how to take a complex litigation case through trial, win, and then through the appeal process if necessary. To obtain the best outcome you can, you need to retain the best lawyers you can.

36. Government at fault? Now what?

Ever heard of someone getting hurt by, or on, city, county, or government property in Florida?  Suing the State of Florida is not the same as suing a private person or a private corporation and there is a lot of “red tape” you have to deal with.

These procedures need to be strictly followed.  For example, you have to first provide notice of your intent to file a lawsuit to the Florida Department of Financial Services; you cannot just sue right away, as is the case in most civil actions against a private person or corporation.  Once the notice is filed, the government then has the opportunity to conduct its own investigation of the incident and injury prior to you being able to file a lawsuit.

Another difference is how much you can sue for.  The government does not have to pay a claim that exceeds $200,000.00 for one person, or more than a total of $300,000.00 for all claims that arise out of one incident.  Anything over this amount, needs to be addressed through a claims bill, where the state legislature has to authorize a payment that exceeds the cap amounts.  Different state agencies can be sued if they are negligent and cause injury.  They include: executive departments; the legislature; state university trustee boards; counties; municipalities and corporations that act primarily for the state or their agents.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to file suit against a government entity, do not hesitate to contact Mackey Law Group to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

By: Jose Estigarribia, Esq.

35. Spanish Language Representation

 

Going through a divorce, or any legal dispute for anyone is a difficult process. If English is not your first language, it can be especially overwhelming. Over 20% of Floridians converse in Spanish at home; yet, many find that the judicial process has few resources to accommodate those with limited English skills. At Mackey Law Group, we understand the importance of being able to hear and read the legal jargon in your native language.

In a recent divorce case we handled, the parties were able to successfully reach an agreement after going through multiple drafts of it in Spanish. Being able to read and understand the agreement in your native language can be a key component to settling a case.

Further, being able to go into court with an attorney you can understand is, unfortunately, a luxury in our State. But we at Mackey Law Group are able provide such a service to our clients all the time in that two of our lawyers are fluent in Spanish. If you need legal services in Spanish, call us today.

 

Representación en español

Pasar por un divorcio o cualquier disputa legal es un proceso difícil para todos. Si el inglés no es su primer idioma, puede ser especialmente abrumador. Más del 20% de los floridanos conversan en español en casa; sin embargo, muchos encuentran que el proceso judicial tiene pocos recursos para acomodar a aquellos con inglés limidado. En Mackey Law Group, entendemos la importancia de poder escuchar y leer la jerga legal en su idioma nativo.

En un caso reciente de divorcio que manejamos, las partes pudieron llegar a un acuerdo con éxito después de haber revisado varios borradores en español. Ser capaz de leer y comprender el acuerdo en su idioma nativo puede ser un componente clave para resolver un caso.

Además, el hecho de poder acudir a los tribunales con un abogado que usted pueda entender es, lamentablemente, un lujo en nuestro estado. Pero nosotros, en Mackey Law Group, Podemos brindar tal servicio a nuestros clients todo el timep, ya que dos de nuestros abogados hablan español con fluidez. Si necesita servicios legales en español, por favor llámenos hoy.

 

By: Jorge Martinez, Esq.

34. Mackey Law Group collects six-figure payment from large agricultural conglomerate!

Mackey Law Group litigator Jose Estigarribia just completed a case involving a local agricultural conglomerate that was refusing to pay for its crop insurance, which had been reduced to two (2) promissory notes. Jose was able to quickly collect a large six-figure payment, which included the amount due to Mackey Law Group’s client; plus all interest, and all attorney’s fees and costs.

When dealing with promissory notes, it is critical to understand the law, causes of action available, and how to position one’s client to get paid in an expedited manner; remember, no one pays unless they are painted into a corner. In this case, the defendant was wealthy and had continuously stalled and ignored Mackey Law Group’s client.  Jose was able to immediately “apply the legal pressure needed” to quickly and efficiently collect the monies owed to our client.  If the defendant did not pay, it was looking at having a judgment against it and having its assets attached. Do not be intimidated by large corporations or the large law firms those corporations hire (in this case the defendant chose the largest law firm in the County, assuming that would make a difference).

If you have money owed to you, do not hesitate to contact the Mackey Law Group to enforce your rights!

32. Victory for Anna Maria Island General Contractor!

After two years of litigation, Mackey Law Group just attained another favorable verdict; this time for an Anna Maria Island general contractor!

The wealthy beachfront homeowner refused to pay for the last draw on the remodeling contract and then spent over $200,000 in attorney’s fees (far more than what was owed to the contractor) in an attempt to break our general contractor client.

The homeowner had three local lawyers manning his side of the case. These lawyers went to great lengths to attempt to pull out a victory; among other things these opposing lawyers and the homeowner: (i) went to the local papers, repeatedly placing our general contractor client in a bad light and stating how confident they were in their case; (ii) took discovery, obtained from our general contractor client during the case, and went to the City of Anna Maria and involved many other families in the dispute in an effort to gain an advantage; (iii) even solicited past customers of our general contractor client in an attempt to get our client’s past customers to testify against our client; and (iv) repeatedly stated that they were “going to put your client out of business”.

Despite all of the above, Mackey Law Group’s lawyers hung in there with the general contractor during this exhausting and very expensive two-year process. No matter how much money an opponent can throw at a case and no matter how down and dirty other lawyers can be, the truth usually prevails if you have the right lawyers on your side. The general contractor obtained a verdict in its favor and the principals of the general contracting company also obtained verdicts as well, in defense of the personal claims made by the homeowner. Most importantly, Mackey Law Group positioned the general contractor to not only win; but, to now be able to proceed to get the general contractor all of its attorney’s fees and costs that the homeowner forced the general contractor to spend in pursuing payment for the work it did.

If you are a contractor facing a non-paying client who has a lot of money and has “lawyered-up”, don’t be intimidated. Hire an experienced construction attorney and stick to your guns. Victory can be yours.

By: Peter J. Mackey, Esq.