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Business Law & Civil Litigation
law office of Joelle Schultz, pllc
Super Lawyers 727-571-1300
Joelle Schultz Joelle Bordeaux
Frequently Asked Questions **
What kind of attorney do I need?
I’m frequently asked by my friends and family – what type of attorney do I need if I’m dealing with a particular matter. If you are involved in matter where you have been sued by another person or business – you probably need a civil and/or business attorney. Those types of cases I can help you with. I can also help you if you loaned someone money and they will not pay you back, again, a civil attorney.
If you need to divorce someone or have custody issues, you need a family law attorney. If you or someone you love is being accused of a crime, you need a criminal attorney.
There are several different attorneys that specialize in different aspects of the law. If you are not able to figure out what type of attorney you may need for your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will help get you in the hands of the right attorney – if it’s not something we can help you with directly.
Are there any issues with entering into a business relationship with another person 50/50?
YES!! I know its hard to think about but ask yourself the question that I would ask you, “When things go wrong, what is going to happen?” In other words, if you are 50/50 and you have a disagreement regarding management of the company and other material items – that can result in the filing of a lawsuit asking the Court to liquidate the company. It’s always better to have someone 51% owner or more, of course, you want that person to be you. If you are going to be in business as a minority shareholder -meaning you have 49% or less, its very important that you have an Operating Agreement in place so you know what rights you do have in the entity. If you plan on starting a company with someone else and have questions regarding the legal implications of same, call me so I can help you try and vet as many potential issues as possible to make sure you are protected.
Can you start a limited liability company for me?
YES!! I absolutely can get you registered to do business in the state of Florida as a limited liability company. As part of my package I also provide a form Operating Agreement and a Corporate Book with your company’s name embossed in gold. I’m also able to draft a more specific Operating Agreement depending on your circumstances, if needed. If you have more than one active Member – which I highly recommend but may not always be necessary – I highly recommend a more specific Operating Agreement.
How does a lawsuit work?
First, a lawsuit simply means someone has filed a Complaint with the Courts and initiated a proceeding. Once you are served with a lawsuit, depending on the Court, you likely have twenty (20) days to respond. You MUST file a response within the time allotted under the applicable rules or you will be DEFAULTED. A Default is a Technical Knock Out and you do not want that! You want a determination on the merits, i.e., the true facts of the matter – so make sure you respond in time. This is why its important to get an attorney to protect your interests! Additionally, any claims you may have may be required to be asserted in the lawsuit and if you default, you may lose those rights.
As to the Response – the Response will most likely be either a Motion to Dismiss or an Answer and Affirmative Defenses. The Motion to Dismiss simply tests the technical aspects of the Complaint. Even if you win the Motion to Dismiss, the Plaintiff will get the opportunity to attempt to fix the Complaint and file an Amended Complaint. Once you are in a place where the Complaint complies with the technicalities of the law, an Answer will be filed. This is where you will admit or deny the allegations in the Complaint. Also, in the Answer you will assert any and all Affirmative Defenses you may have to the allegations asserted against you.
The next step in the litigation process is discovery. This is where the other side is able to ask you for documents, to admit certain facts, and to answer questions under oath (on paper and in person). Of course, you can do the same exact thing on the other side. The party bringing the case has the burden to prove the case in full. The Answering party will make sure they get all the evidence to prove their Affirmative Defenses and to figure out if the Plaintiff will be able to overcome their burden.
After discovery is completed the case will be ready to set for trial. Trial is where each side will present all their evidence to support their position. Then, the trier of fact, either the Judge or Jury, will decide which are the true facts, then a determination will be made.
Before you go to trial, you will likely be required to go to mediation. Mediation is an informal process whereby the parties, along with their attorneys meet with a third-party neutral mediator in an attempt to resolve the case. Many times mediations are successful as the outcome of a trial is always uncertain and there is only one winner and one loser. In mediation all parties can agree to a resolution and have more control of the outcome of the matter.
Of course there are other Motions that may be filed along the way depending on the circumstances but, generally, this is how a lawsuit works.
**The Answers listed are general answers and should not be construed to be specifically applicable to your lawsuit, matter, or issue and should not be taken as legal advice. For specific legal advice, please contact me so that I can review the facts of your particular case and provide my opinion as to those specific facts **