In an ideal world, you would never be in the position where your Florida business would be involved in litigation. You comply with your legal obligations, protect your financial interests, and conduct other aspects of business without the need to initiate or defend a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the ideal is a rarity. At some point or another, it may be necessary to file a case to enforce your company’s rights; alternatively, you could be defending the organization’s interests from someone else’s legal claims.
Regardless of which side you occupy in a lawsuit, you know the importance of retaining an experienced Clearwater business litigation lawyer to represent your company. There are legal details regarding the case law, statutes, and court procedural rules that require in-depth knowledge and attention to detail. However, it is important to have a general understanding about some basic Florida litigation laws.
Basic Florida Litigation Laws
- Deadlines for Florida Business Litigation: One of the most important laws governing lawsuits is the time restrictions on filing a case. Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you have five years to bring an action based upon a breach of contract – a common subject for many business-related cases. However, there are many other statutes of limitations depending upon the legal issues involved. Because you lose your right to sue if you let the deadline expire, it is essential to keep this law in mind.
- What Contracts Must Be in Writing: Much of your company’s routine operations can be conducted on the basis of a verbal agreement, though many owners opt to put certain agreements into written form as added protection. Under Florida law, there are certain contracts that MUST be in writing to be enforced in court. Examples include:
- Transactions and dealings falling under Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
- Certain transfers of ownership in real estate
- Restrictive covenants, including confidentiality agreements, noncompete clauses, and nondisclosure contracts
- Statutes Governing Restrictive Covenants: Aside from the requirement that they be in writing, there are additional statutory provisions governing restrictive covenants. To be enforceable, they must be reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, such as trade secrets, customer lists, confidential information, or specialized training. In addition, a restrictive covenant must be reasonable in:
- Duration of the restrictions
- Geographic area covered by the provision
- The line of business to which it applies
- The Threshold Amount for Small Claims: Your company may need to file or defend a suit for an amount that qualifies for the small claims process in Florida, which is simplified and can be less costly than other litigation. If the amount in dispute is under $8,000, the parties may be eligible to resolve the case in small claims court.
Set Up a Consultation with a Palm Harbor, FL Business Litigation Attorney
While it is helpful to know some background on the laws that affect business litigation in Florida, you can trust our team at Clearwater Business Law to tackle the legal details. For more information on our litigation services to companies throughout Pinellas County, including: Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Largo, and New Port Richey, please call (727) 785-5100 to set up a consultation.