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Defaults and Damages: Where Do Attorney’s Fees Fit In?

November 5, 2012 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

I recently came across a piece of information that I had never heard before in my last four years of litigating creditor’s rights cases. I have been advised that attorneys’ fees can never be granted on a Motion for Final Judgment after Default. Who knew? I have had hundreds of default judgments entered, nearly all of which included attorneys’ fees, without once being told that this practice was incorrect. So is it really incorrect?

Protecting Documents Given to Testifying Experts

August 14, 2012 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

In preparation for trial, expert witnesses are often retained and briefed based upon reports and documents provided to them from counsel. Two types of work product may be used to prepare documents and internal memorandum which are subsequently given to an expert witness: 1) fact work product, and 2) opinion work product. If memorandum prepared by a law firm in anticipation of litigation contains the attorney’s opinions relating to potential theories of liabilities, references to the expert’s opinions, and factual summaries of his client’s records, the attorney’s personal notes and records about the proposed arguments constitute protected work product. Whealton v. Marshall, et al., 631 So. 2d 323, 325 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994) (holding the law firm’s internal memorandum used in preparation for litigation were not discoverable work product).

Negating Defenses of Procedural Unconscionability in Loan Documents

August 14, 2012 Banking & Financial Services Industry Legal Blog, Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

Defaulted borrowers often attempt to argue that the waiver of defenses language included in loan documents is unconscionable and therefore unenforceable. However, for a contract to be held to be unenforceable under Florida law, the contract must be both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. See Golden v. Mobile Oil Corp., 882 F.2d 490, 493 (11th Cir. 1989); Gainesville Health Care Center v. Weston, 857 So. 2d 278, 284 (Fla. 1 st DCA 2003). If a contract is found to be either procedurally or substantively conscionable, then the contract is enforceable. See Eldridge v. Integrated Health Services, Inc., 805 So. 2d 982 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)(emphasis added).

Is it Possible to Compel the Appearance of an Out-of-State Employee of the Opposing Party’s Company as a Witness at Trial?

July 9, 2012 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

In commercial litigation, it is very common that the corporate designee at trial is not a particularly insightful factual witness. When the factual witnesses at trial are employees of an opposing party that is headquartered out of state, this often puts you in a position where you are taking “trial depositions” and reading in transcripts at trial. As you can imagine, this does not have the same effect that a live witness does, but is there a way around it?

Qualifying an Expert Witness in Florida

July 9, 2012 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

An expert witness is an individual that is authoritative in their particular field and able to assist the finder of fact in reaching a conclusion at a trial. Aside from discerning whether the potential expert witness is someone who can make some sort of impact on the case and present well to a fact finder, it is important to know what is required in order to have that expert presented to the fact finder for evaluation of the expert opinion. This post describes the law and methods utilized in qualifying an expert witness in Florida.

Understanding How Contracts can be Equitably Reformed Under Florida Law

April 19, 2012 Professional Services Industry Legal Blog

Contract reformation is an equitable remedy that acts to correct an error not in the parties’ agreement but in the writing that constitutes the embodiment of that agreement. It is designed to correct a defective or erroneous instrument so that it reflects the true terms of the agreement that the parties actually reached and, at its essence, acts to correct an error not in the parties’ agreement but in the writing that constitutes the embodiment of that agreement. The doctrine has evolved such that if a document is to be reformed, it should reflect the true intention of the parties. Florida courts employ this equitable measure in order to preserve the sanctity of the contracting parties’ negotiations and the spirit of the deal.

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