Spartan Law Group is a full service law firm committed to representing Your Business and Personal needs for clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and throughout the State of Florida.

We understand that life is not always black and white and we structured this firm to help provide some certainty to get you through the gray areas.  Our model provides certainty in costs, relationship, communication, and quality.

The Spartan Counsel Program fixes legal costs for those businesses who need regular counsel, but do not want the expense of a full time employee.  Our personal services program assists in protecting your family and home ensuring you always have a Spartan to rely upon.  The Spartan Project team is there to help you on a particular transaction.  And when it occurs, our Spartan Litigation team prosecutes and defends your claims in times of need.  Contact us to learn how you protect yourself in the gray areas in life.

Contract

Are your contract clauses dependent or independent of one another? A recently decided case reminds us to be careful drafting. If a clause is “dependent” and the other side breaches it, the entire contract is unenforceable. If it is independent, there still may be contractual damages but the other side still must perform. In Richland Towers, Inc. v. Denton, the Second DCA explained that whether these clauses are dependent or independent depends on the intent of the parties to the contract. See 2014 WL 941952 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014). A common defense to a non-compete agreement is the employer’s failure to pay some form of wages or other compensation. If the employee’s obligation to not compete is dependent upon the employer’s obligation to pay, then the failure to pay relieves the non-competition requirement. In Richland Towers, the Court examined the plain language of the contract which specifically contained the intention of the parties that the non-compete obligations were “independent.” Specifically, it said “[t]he convents set forth herein shall be construed as agreements independent of any other provision.” Id. at p.7. Because these obligations were independent, any non-payment would not excuse this contractual non-compete obligation. You can read the full opinion here. While this was an employment matter, it arises often in other contexts. Does the failure to provide a certain notice excuse payment? If the landlord doesn’t do ABC, do I still have to pay rent? If the clauses are clearly independent, then typically no. Make sure your contracts are in line by clearly expressing what is independent and what is dependent. For more information, or to set up a consultation, please contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

Finding the Right Legal Fit

July 11, 2013, 2:38 pm - Jeff Baughman

Shopping around for an attorney is a lot like shopping for anything else. Many times you do not know exactly what you are looking for until you find it...or you bought what you thought you wanted, ended up hating it and looking for a return policy. Taking a little time on the front end can save you a lot of time, frustration, and money. Depending on the type of legal situation you need help with will generally dictate the amount of effort you need to put into finding an attorney. Transactional work—such as estate planning, power of attorneys, contract review and the like—generally requires more competence than personality. However, if you are looking for assistance in litigation, intricate contract negotiation or family law issues, you may be dealing with your attorney on a frequent basis for months or even years, and as such will want someone who cares about your interest, can communicate and who you can stand being in contact with on a regular basis. You do not want someone who makes you cringe every time caller id shows you their number. Spend some time looking for information on attorneys in the area of law you need help with, but remember big advertising budgets do not guarantee anything but excessive air time. Look for reviews from people who have dealt with the attorney. If they have been around for years and you cannot find anything bad, that is good! And ask the attorney for references from current or past clients if they are willing. Remember, you do not have to commit to the first attorney you meet with, or even the second. Set up a few consultations after weeding through attorney websites and go to them all. Afterwards, determine who you liked best, who has experience in the situation you are dealing with and can meet your needs within your budget. However, if you cannot finds anyone who matches your criteria, examine why: Are your budget expecations too low? Your productions too high? Are you putting too much into the personality match up that you are missing the big picture? If you find yourself with a list of consultations and no stand out candidates, and your evaluation of your expectations comes back that you are reasonable, keep looking! Once you find a good attorney, you will be set for anything that comes up. If your attorney doesn’t handle that particular type of legal issue, they are bound to know someone good to refer you to who will be able to meet your needs. For more information, or to set up a consultation, please contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

E-Filing: Florida Signing On

April 2, 2013, 3:52 pm - Jeff Baughman

Although e-filing for Florida Courts has been looming in the wings for several years, 2013 is the year it is becoming mandatory. As of April 1, 2013, civil filings must be made electronically; criminal cases will start e-filing October 1, 2013. There are only a few exemptions from the mandatory requirements. Pro se litigants, self-represented non-parties, such as law enforcement agencies and the Department of Children and Families, that provide records and paperwork for court cases, are not required to e-file, although they are encouraged to do so. E-File Despite the application primarily affecting attorneys, there is also an immediate impact on the public. E-filing will allow pleadings to be filed quicker and remotely, and there for speed up the legal process. For the purpose of determining timeliness regarding the filing of any document, the "time-stamp" will reflect the time in which the document is submitted to the courts e-file portal--submissions are accepted 24-hours per day, 7-days per week. However, the filing will not be official public record until the document is entered into the clerk's maintenance system. Speeding up the legal process may cause both positive and negative affects on parties. Although traffic will be less of an excuse to missing filing deadlines, parties may still have to be leery of technical difficulties. The idea of technical difficulties has been contemplated, and some provisions are in place to allow for such difficulties. Where the clerk's office is unable to receive submissions for technical reasons, the documents will be accepted the following day so long as the document is accompanied by an affidavit attesting to the fact the party made two failed attempts, at least one hour apart. However, if the technical difficulty is on the party's end, the party assumes responsibility for delayed submissions. Time will tell what kind of additional accommodations, if any, will be made to meet the technical difficulty issues which are sure to arise. For more information, contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

Next in our education series is "Avoiding Personal Liability in Your Business"

Join us for an online seminar, grab a sandwich, and listen at your desk for some tips that may help save the day.

We have found many ways to fine corporate officers and owners personally liable for business issues and will share how to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

All you have to do is call in on the conference line to listen. If you would like to view the presentation, just login online as well.

Presentation is scheduled for 30 minutes, and questions will be welcome.

When: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. EST to 12:00 p.m. EST

Register Online

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November 8, 2012 - Breakfast Seminar: Spartan Counsel Program™


To learn more about establishing liability shields to protect your business, join us for a complementary breakfast seminar.

When: Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 8-9 a.m. at Feather Sound Country Club

Seating is limited, so please call us to register at 727-SPARTAN (772-7826)

July 25, 2012 - Lunch and Learn

 

Next in our education series is "Valuing your Business"

Join us for an online seminar, grab a sandwich, and listen at your desk for some tips that may help save the day. We will discuss some of the different methods you should consider when valuing your business. Specifically, the methods that will affect your different legal options. All you have to do is call in on the conference line to listen. If you would like to view the presentation, just login online as well. Presentation is scheduled for 30 minutes, and questions will be welcome.

When: July 25, 2012 from 11:30 a.m. EST to 12:00 p.m. EST To join us, Click Here

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