What to Expect When You Are… Being Sued
In the unfortunate event that you are sued, either for a personal or business matter, the following are some common jargon / lingo you can expect to hear throughout the litigation and everyday explanations and definitions.
- PLAINTIFF: The person/corporate entity who brings the suit and who prosecutes the action.
- DEFENDANT: The person/corporate entity being sued.
- COMPLAINT: The first document filed with the court when you are sued. It sets forth the cause(es) of action against you and tells the court the relief that the Plaintiff is requesting (monetary damages, specific performance, etc).
- ANSWER: What the Defendant files to respond to the complaint of Plaintiff.
- AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES: Filed with the answer, set forth facts/circumstances different than those claimed by Plaintiff which if proven can defeat or mitigate the claims in Plaintiff’s complaint.
- DISCOVERY: The formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they will present at trial.
- INTERROGATORIES: Part of discovery. Written questions to the parties requiring written answers that support the allegations in either the complaint or the affirmative defenses.
- DEPOSITION: Part of discovery. The process of giving sworn oral evidence. The parties and witnesses can be deposed.
- SUBPOENA: Demand for production of documents or to appear in court to testify at a legal proceeding.
- CONTEMPT OF COURT: Conduct that is discourteous or disobedient to the court by defying its orders and procedures.
- COURT ORDER: A written direction issued by a judge requiring a person to do or not to do something.
- FINAL JUDGMENT: The last decision from a judge that resolves all issues in dispute and settles the parties’ rights with respect to those issues.
- APPEAL: To apply to a higher court for a lower court decision to be reversed.
These are just a few of the more common terms in the legal language that you will hear throughout litigation if you are involved as a party or a witness. It can become overwhelming to decipher what is essentially a different language while dealing with the stress and uncertainty of litigation. Bullard Law has long experience with litigation and is expert at maneuvering through the process. We are available to help you with your business and collections litigation.
407 648 9530
What is a Quitclaim Deed and When Do You Need One?
A quitclaim deed is a method utilized to transfer a property owner’s interest to another person without any warranties or guarantees as to the state of the property or chain of title. Quitclaim deeds are frequently used to:
- Transfer a property to or from a living trust;
- Transfer property to a spouse in a divorce;
- Transfer a sole property owner’s rights to another property owner;
- Transfer a partial property interest to one owner to another;
- Transfer an entire property interest from one owner to another; and
- Correct mistakes in prior recorded deed.
When an owner wishes to give property as a gift to another party, a quitclaim deed is often used for this purpose, especially among family members.
It is important to remember that quit claim deeds are irrevocable. It is therefore critical that quitclaim deeds be prepared and executed properly. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure that the legal formalities required for deeds are met, and that you understand the process and what you are transferring or receiving. An experienced real estate attorney can also ensure that the deed is recorded properly in official records, which is a requirement for the conveyance.
Bullard Law can assist you with your real estate conveyance needs.
Why You Need a LLC Operating Agreement
Florida law does not require an Operating Agreement for a LLC, however, if you do not have one in place, your LLC will be required to default to state laws and regulations, which may not be in the best interest of your business. Even a sole member LLC needs an Operating Agreement.
An Operating Agreement serves as a blue-print of how the company is to be run. It states the ownership interests of the parties, the management details, and the members’ financial rights. It is important to have an Operating Agreement so that your corporate formalities are in place and you are shielded from personal liability, and it explains the rules and responsibilities of how to run the business and resolve disputes between the owners.
At a minimum, the Operating Agreement must be in writing, every member must sign it, the members’ interest, contributions and responsibilities must be well defined and the management structure explained. The Operating Agreement will act as proof of your running a business with the corporate formalities in place as part of the liability protection afforded by LLC formation.
Bullard Law can assist you with any of your corporate formation needs.
I-9 and ICE: Compliance Tips for Employers
Did you know that federal law requires that all employees verify the eligibility of new employees to work in the U.S. by completing Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) within three days of the employee reporting for work?
The failure to verify your new employees can lead to costly fines and an inspection by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).
To avoid these situations, employers should:
- Verify EVERY employee’s eligibility, whether they are a U.S. citizen or have temporary work authorization;
- Make sure your I-9 compliance offer is adequately trained;
- Inspect the verification documents IN PERSON, even for remote workers. Examination by fax, email or video conference is NOT allowed;
- Have a plan in place to respond to any ICE inspection replace, as you are given three days notice prior to the inspection;
- Audit your I-9s already on file to make sure every employee has one and that they are complete/accurate.
Bullard Law can assist employers/business owners with all of their compliance issues.
407 648 9530
TIPS FOR DRAFTING AN ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT
It is never a good idea to rely on a hand-shake or verbal statements to create a contract. The following are some tips of what to include to make your written contract enforceable:
- 1. Who are the parties? Sure, it sounds like a basic tip, but are you contracting with an individual, a company or both? If a company, you should sign with the name of the company, not the name of the person acting as one of the parties to a contract. In some cases, the agreement may require both. Make sure you have the correct parties.
- 2. What does each party have to do? Now that you know the parties and have listed them in the agreement, you must list in detail the services or goods and state what the other party must do to receive compensation, or what the other party will receive as compensation.
- 3. When does each party have to do it? Is this an open-ended contract, a contract for future performance, or is time of the essence? You need to know when each party is expected to perform under the contract.
- 4. When do I get paid or when do I have to pay? Who pays who and when – the contract spells out when payments must be made and what happens if the payments are not made or are not made on time.
- 5. When do I know I have a contract? You need formal acceptance for enforcement. Do you have acceptance or just an offer? If you only have an offer without acceptance this is not an enforceable contract.
- 6. If I have to sue to enforce the contract what happens? If you want your attorney’s fees and costs paid in the event you need to sue that needs to be in the contract, as does in what court you want your suit to be heard (probably your hometown). If you want to give the other side a chance to correct their mistake or to have the conflict heard outside of a courtroom that needs to be included as well.
Attorney Cesery L. Bullard of Bullard Law has extensive experience drafting contracts and making sure that they are tailored to your specific needs. The best way to prevent a lawsuit on the back end is to make sure that your contract is set up correctly on the front-end. For help in contract drafting and other business law related services, please contact us at 407-648-9530. To learn more about our services, please visit bullard-law.com.
Basic Blunders: Are These Four Common Mistakes Harming Your Small Business?
Many times the small business owner is focused on running and growing the business, and can fall prey to common missteps that can be lethal to the long-term interests of the business. As a small business owner, you need to make sure to steer clear of these common mistakes:
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Have You Made One of These Asset Protection Mistakes?
If someone is seeking a money judgment against you, there are five common mistakes made by folks trying to protect their assets.
Does transferring your assets to a family member protect you from creditors? Can you be held personally liable if you fail to maintain your company’s records?
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What Corporate Entity Should I Choose?
A very common question that I am asked by clients is what corporate entity is right for them and what is the difference between a partnership, LLC, corporation, etc. A brief summary of some of the different types of business organizations follows:
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