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Smith Bigman Brock
Daytona Beach, Florida

The Daytona Law Blog

Prevent and mitigate litigation to protect your company

If you're running a business that works with the public, the chances are that you'll face a lawsuit sooner or later. It's important that you have an idea of how to handle those lawsuits. Even if the lawsuit is inappropriate, some people will pursue them and cost you thousands.

One of the goals that your attorney will have is to prevent you from ending up at trial. Trials are costly and time-intensive. With between 36 and 53% of small businesses facing litigation in any year and up to 90% of businesses facing litigation at any one time, so you should have some kind of plan in place to help you avoid the heavy cost of a court case.

Why do trade secret leaks happen?

Your company has been working hard on several projects. These new projects are unlike others on the market, so you've kept them very quiet. The last thing you want is for your trade secrets to leak out.

Unfortunately, the internet and the digital age has made it much easier for those secrets to be leaked. Why? Common causes are:

  • Improved technology, making it simpler to send files, photos and information without letting others know
  • The increased mobility of employees, since travel is cheaper and more efficient
  • Ineffective patent protections that don't fully protect your projects or ideas

The downsides to partnerships need to be considered carefully

You've been thinking about setting up a partnership, but you know that there can be some downsides to working with others. Partnerships are one of the simplest forms of business arrangements other than sole proprietorships, so it may make sense that so many of them exist today. Unfortunately, they can have some negatives.

For instance, did you know that the members of a partnership may be exposed to liability for any actions they or their partner commit? If your partner runs up debts, both of you could be on the hook, for example.

Can you sue over a broken contract?

You have been waiting for weeks for the latest delivery of the items you needed for your store. You saw customer after customer come in and out, looking for what you should have had in stock. It makes you angry that you can't keep your shelves full when you have a contract with the delivery company.

This happened last year, and you let it go once you had a stern talk with the management team of the company. Now, you're losing too much money. Is it worth going to court?

Florida Robinhood trader files negligence lawsuit

A trader in Florida filed a lawsuit against Robinhood, a stock trading startup. The trader filed the lawsuit against the company alleging that it was negligent for failing to have backup systems to handle the trading volume and to prevent outages.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that Robinhood breached its contract by negligently failing to have a properly functioning platform, which prevented the plaintiff from moving money during a stock surge. The man's lawsuit followed an outage that lasted for two days, beginning on March 2 and lasting until late the following day. During that time, the stock market experienced a huge surge after the Federal Reserve made a surprise announcement of an interest rate cut.

Business litigation and dealing with breach of contract

When Floridians agree on a contract, the goal is to ensure that the tenets of the agreement are carried out. A contract is useless without remedies. If there is a breach of contract, it's important to understand what steps can be taken to address the problem.

Remedies and damages are critical aspects of addressing a breach of contract. Those who receive remedies can be awarded damages, restitution, specific performance and have the contract revoked (rescission). There can be compensatory and punitive damages. Under compensatory, the loss from the breach of contract is paid directly. An example of compensatory damages is a refund or reimbursement. Special damages are actual losses that came about indirectly.

Former utility CEO's contract dispute may be confidential

According to news reports, the employment contract of the former CEO of the Florida utility company JEA contains provisions that call for private arbitration to resolve disputes. The CEO was ousted and is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with JEA's board of directors. If the dispute is forced into arbitration as called for in the contract, the public might not learn about what occurred or how the dispute is resolved.

The CEO was forced out of his job and was terminated for cause for several reasons. The Office of General Counsel found that he had failed to disclose his conflicts of interest, misled the members of the board, violated his fiduciary duties, and lied to the Jacksonville City Council. His attorney is challenging each of those contentions.

Mass exodus of bankers prompts lawsuit

According to news reports, a large group of Florida commercial banking employees at Seacoast Bank suddenly quit their jobs without notice on Dec. 26 to begin working at a rival bank in Orlando called One Florida Bank. Some of the former employees allegedly stole customer information from Seacoast to try to attract customers to the new bank, prompting a lawsuit by Seacoast against One Florida Bank.

The lawsuit alleges that Seacoast Bank lost half of its employees, including all of its managers, in the mass exodus. Seacoast asked the federal court judge for an injunction to prevent the former employees and One Florida Bank from possessing or using the customer information that had been taken from Seacoast by the workers.

Apple sued for patent infringement by Masimo

Florida companies must take care to avoid infringing on the patents of other businesses. If they do, they may face litigation and be forced to pay damages. Apple's legal troubles demonstrate the importance of avoiding infringement. Recently, Apple was sued by Masimo for violating its patents.

According to reports, Masimo filed a lawsuit against Apple for infringing on the company's patents through features that Apple offers on its Apple Watches. Masimo alleges that the Apple Watch contains technology that infringes on 10 of Masimo's patents. One of these patents involves the Apple Watch feature that monitors the wearers' blood oxygen content and heart rate. Masimo also has alleged that Apple hired away several former key employees.

Florida marijuana business sued by consumer

According to news sources, a Florida marijuana business is facing a lawsuit over unwanted text messages. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida by a man from Tennessee.

The plaintiff alleges that Trulieve Inc., which is based in Quincy, Florida, sent unsolicited text messages to him in violation of federal law. The text messages contained advertisements for the company's cannabis products. Trulieve is one of 22 medical marijuana businesses in Florida. The lawsuit does not explain how Trulieve obtained the plaintiff's phone number or whether he is a patron of Trulieve.

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