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Richard Lawrence Steinberg

Richard Steinberg’s Answers

24 total

  • What consequences are there if I personally guarantee an office lease and the business no longer can afford to pay the lease?

    My business has 18 months left on an office lease. My business will have to close if I continue to pay this lease. If I default on the lease, what can happen to me personally? What options do I have to avoid paying anything personally or throug...

    Richard’s Answer

    If the business has no right to cancel the lease, then the business would be liable for the balance of the rent. Most leases have a clause that allows the landlord to accelerate the lease payments so they can collect the entire amount for the 18 months owed. Most states require the landlord to minimize their loses by trying to rent it to another tenant. If the business is liable, your personal guarantee will make you liable too. Thus, the landlord will likely sue both the entity and you.
    If your business simply cannot afford to maintain the lease, you might want to see if you can sublease (if your lease allows) to reduce your exposure or speak with the landlord about you and/or them finding another tenant for the space.
    Good luck.

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  • For a small courts claim, can I deliver my own summons at my place of work, address for a coworker?

    The person that will receive the small claims summons is located at the same place I work

    Richard’s Answer

    No, you must use the sheriff or a certified process server. Here is the Statute (48.021(1)): All process shall be served by the sheriff of the county where the person to be served is found, except initial nonenforceable civil process, criminal witness subpoenas, and criminal summonses may be served by a special process server appointed by the sheriff as provided for in this section or by a certified process server as provided for in ss. 48.25-48.31.

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  • Is a nonrefundable attorney deposit really not refundable if you have not used any of their services yet?

    The fee was for divorce, however I the only medical insurance I have is under my husband. After signing with the attorney, I found that I may need surgery. If I decide to not divorce can I get back the fee that I paid?

    Richard’s Answer

    Attorneys are not permitted to receive excessive fees. If you do not want to go forward with the representation, you should let them know as soon as possible and ask for a refund of the retainer less a reasonable fee for their services, if any.

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  • Are employee and independent contractor non-compete agreements enforceable in Florida?

    (1) What factors are considered in determining if a non-compete agreement is enforceable? (2) What elements must be present to make such an agreement enforceable? (3) Must there be consideration beyond making signing the agreement a condition of e...

    Richard’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    In Florida these agreements are governed by Section
    542.335 of the Florida Statutes. Under this section, to be
    enforceable, these agreements must protect a “legitimate business
    interest” and be reasonable in scope and duration.
    The statute defines "legitimate business interests" as: (1)
    trade secrets; (2) valuable confidential business information
    that does not qualify as trade secrets; (3) substantial relationships
    with specific prospective or existing customers or patients;
    (4) customer or patient goodwill associated with an ongoing
    business or a specific geographic location; and (5) extraordinary
    or specialized training. The party seeking enforcement must
    demonstrate one or more of these interests.

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  • Can i be sent to collections?

    A Friend purchased a camera from Amazon that was shipped to us from Cabela's. Turns out that the camera was purchased by Amazon from Cabela's with a stolen credit card. Now Cabela's is threatening to send us to collections if we do not pay for the...

    Richard’s Answer

    A company could said anyone "to collections," but if the account was paid by your friend and you can document that you should do so as early as possible to avoid it from casuing issues with your credit.

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  • What is the time limit to set an amended complaint for hearing in Florida?

    I am a pro se plaintiff in a civil suit. I need leave of court to file the amended complaint. Due to health problems I would like to wait to set the hearing. I have done a great deal of research and been through the FRCP etc., and can not fin...

    Richard’s Answer

    First, there is no set time limit. However, as the Plaintiff, one would expect that you'd want to get this done as soon as possible to get the state closer to being at issue. That being said, if no answer has been filed, you haven't amended it before and it hasn't been set for trial, you don't need leave of the court and can simply file your amended complaint. Realize, if you wait to long (e.g., after it has been set for trial), the Court may deny the motion based on the lateness of the hearing.

    As for ecourtesy, I believe it's only available to attorneys. As pointed out on the login screen, "If you’re not a member of the Florida Bar, you must submit courtesy copies to the judge in paper form."

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  • Can our dog sitter sue us for any amount she chooses after she watched our dogs, when money was never discussed beforehand?

    We recently had a 20ish year old girl watch our dogs for 3 weeks. She was recommended to us by a friend as a dog lover who would probably be happy to watch dogs. We spoke to her several times on phone over 3 weeks to explain everything about dog...

    Richard’s Answer

    From what you said, you entered into an agreement with her to watch your dogs. Since neither of you mentioned money, the argument will be what, if anything, is a reasonable amount. You obviously felt $100 was reasonable (after all, if it was a family member or close friend you wouldn't tip) while she believes it should be $37/day. Thus, you are best to determine and coming to an agreement with her as to what is a "reasonable amount" for these services and deduct what she's already been paid (which she obviously feels was not reasonable).

    As another attorney pointed out, the father couldn't sue, she would have to.

    You can think of this in this way: if someone came to your front door and said they were providing lawn services in your neighborhood and would like to cut your lawn too and you said "sure, go ahead" and a month later they sent you a bill that was the same rate everyone else paid, you wouldn't expect to be able to pay nothing and should pay him just like everyone else agreed to.

    In the future, if your hope is to have services provided for free and just for gratuity, make sure to have that conversation up front.

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  • If a case is dismissed for lack of prosecution, can you recover fees as prevailing party & what happens to any setoff defense?

    Recoupment and setoff were raised as affirmative defenses and attorney's fees were demanded in motions to dismiss, answer & in the motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution.

    Richard’s Answer

    Fees are likley only availble if provided by contract or law. The mere fact that a claim for attorney's fees was made in a motion/answer doesn't mean there is a legal right to same. However, if there was a legal right, then the Defendant is the previaling party when a case is dismissed for lack of prosecution and can obtain a judgmnet for fees.
    That beign said, and as mentioned in previous answers, there is a short window in which to move for fees after judgment. Thus, if it's not too late, you must act fast.

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  • I own a LLC in Florida. How can I find my local legislator?

    My LLC has zero turnover until now and I lost the date of the annual filling. How can I find the local legislator to communicate with him in order to waive my late fee of $ 400?

    Richard’s Answer

    You can lookup your State Rep. and State Senator on the web. There is no harm in asking them to help, but the statute was amended a few years ago leaving little flexibility for the Dept. of State to waive the $400 fee.

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  • Can my landlord evict me because my boyfriend has a service animal within my apt?

    Landlord says that the fair housing act only covers me so she will not make a reasonable accomidation for the dog . As i read the law it covers me or anyone associated with me from discrimination.

    Richard’s Answer

    The answer likely lies on the provisions of the lease and whether your boyfriend has the right to be there as your guest. If there are limitation on guests (i.e., number of overnights). then you will have an issue. However, if there is no provision in the lease that would keep him from visiting as he is your landlord may be in the wrong. Refusal to permit an exception to a no-pets rule may constitute a discriminatory practice when an individual with a disability is unable to use and enjoy a dwelling, including entertaining guests with disabilities who require the use of service animals.

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