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Glossary

Business Litigation

Acceptance. The party to whom the offer is made has the authority and the ability to accept it and can indeed accept it and agree to it.

Attorney’s Fees. Compensation for legal services provided by a lawyer or law firm.

Breach of Contract.  Failing to perform any part of a contract – written or oral – without a valid legal excuse.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty. One party breaches a duty of trust to another in a contract.

Breach of a Note. A break in agreed-upon conditions. For example, someone lends a person money,  want its back and the person who received the loan does not pay.

Business Litigation. Business litigation is civil legal actions involving business disputes brought by plaintiffs and defendants, or families, or individuals, or small business, or commercial businesses.

Business Torts. A cause of action when a person or company brings civil litigation against another person or company, generally arising out of some type of business relationship action outside of a contract. Examples of business torts include fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Common Business Torts. Breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, fraudulent/negligent misrepresentation, tortious interference with a business/contractual relationship, misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion and defamation.

Consideration. Must be of value to the parties and is exchanged for the performance or promise of performance by the other party.

Contract. An exchange of legally enforceable promises between two or more people or entities, which includes 1) an offer, 2) an acceptance, and 3) a consideration.

Damages. Court-ordered money paid to a plaintiff by a defendant.

Derivative Lawsuit. A lawsuit is brought in the name of a limited liability company or a corporation.

Florida Elective Share Law Under Florida Law. A person cannot intentionally disinherit a spouse unless the spouse agrees to receive a lesser amount from the estate in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Fraud. A civil cause of action in which someone knowingly makes a false statement to get someone else to rely upon that statement, usually for financial gain or benefit.

Fraudulent Misrepresentation. One party lies to another party to get them to enter into a contract.

Holographic Will. Handwritten and signed only by the testator, these wills are not recognized as valid in Florida.

Injunctive Relief. A court order for a defendant to stop a specific act or behavior. Also known as an injunction.

Intentional Tort. Any number of a series of causes of action in a civil suit. This means that the defendant has done something in a deliberate manner to cause harm to the plaintiff.

Investment Losses and Securities Fraud. Disputes over financial losses by plaintiffs or defendants regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission or wealth management misappropriations.

Misappropriation. To personally acquire a trade secret by illegal means or to publish a trade secret while being aware that the information was acquired through improper means or under circumstances where there was a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use.

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets. The loss of protection of business trade secrets.

Negligent Misrepresentation. One party makes false statements to close a deal.

Nuncupative Will. Another term for an oral will.

Offer. An explicit proposal to contract, which accepted, completes the contract and binds both the person who made the offer and the person accepting the offer to terms of the contract.

Oral Will. Made verbally in the presence of witnesses, often by terminally ill individuals when a written will is not possible. An oral will is not recognized as valid in Florida.

Quantum Meruit. A reasonable sum of money to be paid for services rendered or work done when the amount due is not specified in a legally enforceable contract.

Real Estate Litigation. Actions to resolve property or real estate contract disputes.

Rescission. An equitable remedy that allows a contractual party to cancel the contract. It is the unwinding of a contract.

Shareholder and Partnership Litigation. A subset of business litigation that involves the owners of different types of companies. A shareholder is a partner or owner of a corporation.

Strict Liability Tort. Is the imposition of liability on a party without a finding of fault. The claimant needs only to prove that the tort occurred and that the defendant was responsible. This includes product liability or extremely dangerous activities like storing hazardous waste or the use of explosives.

Tort. A civil action that occurs and can be committed intentionally or unintentionally and can cause physical or emotional or financial or other harm to another party.

Tortious Interference with a Business Relationship. When a person intentionally harms someone else’s contractual or business relationships with a third party.

Tortious Interference with a Contractual Relationship. A civil case of action where a valid contract existed between the plaintiff and a third party, and the defendant was aware of that contract. The defendant then took actions intended to induce the third party to breach the contract, causing the plaintiff some type of damage.

Trade Secret. Secret information that offers a competitive business advantage to its owner by virtue of being unknown to competitors. Must be secret, confer a competitive advantage to its owner, and be subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

Trade Secret Law. Protects and prohibits embezzlement or misappropriation of trade secrets and provides certain remedies for businesses and individuals.

Unjust Enrichment. Occurs when Party A bestows a benefit to Party B without the proper restitution required by law.

Trust Litigation

Accounting Action. The legal request from a lawyer through the courts for  answers about a trust.

Beneficiary. The individuals or entities specifically named in the trust document to receive a trust’s property and assets.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty. When a trustee fails to comply with his or her fiduciary duties.

Fiduciary. Another word for trustee.

Fiduciary Duty. The trustee’s responsibility to supply accounting to the beneficiaries.

Fraudulent Inducement. When someone is persuaded to enter into a contract based on false information.

Lack of Capacity. Involves the legal competence of a person to enter into a valid contract or agreement. The person must have the ability to make sound decisions.

Grantor. The trust creator.

Principal. Another term for beneficiary.

Trust. A legal arrangement created to hold property and assets for another party or parties who are called beneficiaries.

Tortious Interference with a Testamentary Expectancy. A tort or a wrongful act that causes harm to another person, such as economic harm, and allows for compensatory and punitive damages.

Trust Litigation. Legal disputes between plaintiffs, defendants, and non-parties, in legal actions involving trust contests, trustees, beneficiaries, heirs, guardians, and trust companies.

Trustee. A person who manages assets for a third party. This includes debts, taxes,  accounting,  settlements with creditors, and the distribution of  assets.

Undue Influence. Influence by which a person is induced to act otherwise than their own free will, or without attention to the consequences. For example, a person persuades someone to change their will.

Probate Litigation

Beneficiary. A person or entity designated in the will to receive money or other assets from the decedent’s estate.

Duress. When an individual exerts influence over a person to influence his or her actions.

Estate. Possessions that hold worth, including investments, savings,  property, real estate and other assets.

Estate Litigation. Takes place when an interested party makes a claim or raises a legal dispute during the probate process. For example, a person files a petition to revoke the probate or a petition to remove the personal representative. The person who files might believe something improper has taken place.

Estate Planning. The formal planning, management, and protection of assets while a person is alive, providing for heirs in the future.

Florida Probate Code. Provides a certain sets of rules that have to be followed inside the context of probate litigation.

Lack of Capacity. Involves the legal competence of a person to enter into a valid contract or agreement. The person must have the ability to make sound decisions.

Notice of Administration. A formal document served by the personal representative that alerts all interested parties that a decedent’s will is being probated before a court. It includes the name of the decedent, the estate’s case number, where the proceedings are taking place, and provides a deadline for contesting the will.

Personal Representative. The person approved by a court to carry out the probate procedure.

Probate. The process of administering a deceased person’s estate.

Probate Litigation. Another term for estate litigation.

Self-Proving Will. The testator and the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of a notary public, and the notary will then notarize the signatures on the will.

Undue Influence. Involves a person taking advantage of a position of power over another person. This inequity in power can result with the subordinate person being unable to exercise independent thinking.

Employment Litigation

At-Will Employment. An employer may fire an employee at any time, for any reason.

Employment Litigation. Legal disputes involving employment issues between employers and employees.

Misclassification. When an employer improperly classifies a non-exempt employee as an exempt employee.

Non-Compete Agreement. A contract between an employer and an employee to protect intellectual property, proprietary products or services, and to prevent competition in a clearly outlined legal document.

Right to Work. Employees cannot be forced to join a union to work at a particular job.

Personal Injury Protection Litigation

Personal Injury Protection (PIP).  A component of auto insurance that covers medical expenses,  and in some cases lost wages, regardless of who is at fault in an accident.  Florida drivers are required to buy PIP.

No-Fault Insurance. Another term for PIP.

Personal Injury Protection Litigation. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Litigation is any legal action taken by a medical provider to try to be repaid by an insurance company for medical care that was provided to a person who was in a vehicular accident.

Mediation

Mediation. Occurs when two disputing parties decide to use an impartial, non-plaintiff, non-defendant, trained, neutral legal mediator to settle their legal differences outside of a courtroom.

Mediator. A neutral third party who does not represent any of the parties and has no outside knowledge of the issue before them.

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