Modern building.Modern office building with facade of glass
Representing Businesses and Business Owners Contact Us Now!
Published on:

A temporary injunction is an available remedy when a party establishes that it has a valid, enforceable non-compete agreement that was violated. Fla. Stat. § 542.335(1)(j). Subsections 542.335(1)(b) and (c) of the Florida Statutes, set the standard for enforcing non-compete agreements and require the party seeking enforcement to plead and prove: (1) the existence of “one or more legitimate business interests” justifying the non-compete agreement and (2) the contractually specified restraint is reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interests.  Peter Mavrick is a Miami non-compete lawyer who has extensive experience with non-competition covenant litigation and claims for injunctive relief.

In Ansaarie v. First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, P.A., 252 So.3d 287 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, P.A. (FCCI), was a professional medical practice that provided medical care in the fields of cardiovascular medicine and sleep disorders. FCCI operated medical offices in several Florida counties, including Putnam County. FCCI expended substantial resources to develop a cardiology practice in Putnam County, which included marketing, hiring physicians and support staff, and constructing a large catheterization laboratory within walking distance of the local hospital, Putnam County Medical Center (PCMC). FCCI contracted with PCMC to provide 24/7 “STEMI” services (“ST-elevation myocardial infarction,” i.e. serious heart attack patients) at the hospital. FCCI expended significant resources annually in order to meet its contractual requirement with PCMC.

FCCI recruited Dr. Imraan Ansaarie (“Dr. Ansaarie”), a cardiovascular surgeon from out-of-state. Dr. Ansaarie entered into a Physicians Employment Agreement (the “Non-Compete Agreement”) with FCCI, wherein he agreed to be restricted from providing competing cardiovascular services within a five-mile radius of FCCI’s practice for two years after termination of his employment with FCCI. The Non-Compete Agreement also prohibited Dr. Ansaarie from soliciting (defined to mean “initiate contact, or knowingly receive contact, or to in any manner cause or encourage contact”) an FCCI patient, referral source, or vendor for competing cardiovascular services within the restricted geographic area and time period.

Published on:

An aggrieved employee suing his or her employer for “sexual harassment” must present evidence that his workplace is such a hostile and abusive work environment because of his or her sex that it alters the conditions of his employment. An aggrieved employee does not make an actionable claim if he or she has suffered only isolated instances of sexual harassment.  Peter Mavrick, of the Mavrick Law Firm, is an employment lawyer who regularly defends businesses and management against employment discrimination accusations, claims, and lawsuits.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) bar discrimination against employees on the basis of sex.  An employer likely has likely committed unlawful discrimination if it bases the decision to hire, fire, promote, or discipline an employee based upon the employee’s sex.  However, an employee may also sue for sex discrimination if he or she is subject to a hostile work environment because of gender, which is a claim commonly called “sexual harassment.”

To prove a hostile work environment claim, an employee must show: (1) that he or she belongs to a protected group; (2) that he or she has been subject to unwelcome sexual harassment, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature; (3) that the harassment was based on his or her sex; (4) that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment and create a discriminatorily abusive working environment; and (5) a basis for holding the employer liable.

Published on:

A forum-selection clause is a structural provision of a contract that addresses the procedural requirements for dispute resolution. In other words, the contracting parties may choose which forum, i.e. which federal or state court, for prospective disputes to be filed.  Courts must enforce forum-selection agreements unless they are shown to be unreasonable or unjust. Peter Mavrick is a Miami non-compete lawyer who has extensive experience with non-competition covenant litigation and claims for injunctive relief.

In Autonation, Inc. v. Derek Hall, 2019 WL 3712008 (S.D. Fla. May 29, 2019), Plaintiff Autonation, Inc. (Autonation) owned and operated hundreds of vehicle dealerships across 16 states, with its corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Derek Hall (Hall) was formerly employed as General Manager of AutoNation’s Memphis, Tennessee dealership. Hall entered into a Confidentiality, No-Solicitation/No-Hire and Non-Compete Agreement (Non-Compete Agreement) with AutoNation.

The Non-Compete Agreement contained a choice of law and venue provision that stated that: (1) the Agreement will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida, without regard to principles of conflict of laws; any action, suit or proceeding “shall be only be instituted only in the state or federal courts located in Broward County,” Florida; and each party waives any objection to venue or jurisdiction (including objections regarding lack of personal jurisdiction and objections to the convenience of the forum).

Published on:

Under the Lanham Act, a defendant may be liable for trademark infringement, if, without consent, he/she uses “in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered mark” which “is likely to cause confusion or to cause mistake, or to deceive.” 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1). The Act defines a “counterfeit” as a “spurious mark which is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a registered mark.” 15 U.S.C. § 1127. However, the test for whether marks are “substantially indistinguishable” is not well-defined by the applicable case law. Peter Mavrick is a Miami business litigation lawyer who represents clients in trademark infringement and other unfair competition litigation.

In Coach, Inc. v. Chung Mei Wholesale, Inc., 2016 WL 7470001 (S.D. Fla. June 17, 2016), Plaintiffs, Coach, Inc. and Coach Services, Inc.’s (collectively “Coach”), was a luxury consumer goods company that specialized in the design, manufacturing, and sale of, among other things, handbags and wallets. Coach owned a variety of trademarks, which it used in connection with the advertisement and sale of its products. Shen Biao Huang (“Huang”) and his wife, Lian Xiao Fu (“Fu”) operated a business called Chung Mei Wholesale, Inc. (“Chung Mei”) out of a warehouse in Hialeah, Florida. Chung Mei imported goods from China and sold them to retailers and wholesalers. Huang primarily selected merchandise himself, but sometimes his friend, Hung Jain Ke (“Jain Ke”) ordered goods on Huang’s behalf. During the course of their dealings, Huang instructed Jain Ke not to send him any goods that might be counterfeit.

There were two shipments ordered by Jain Ke on behalf of Chung Mei that were seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) seized two shipments imported by Chung Mei from China, which CBP determined contained about 3,000 “Coach Design Handbags,” identified as constituting “counterfeit copies” of the Coach Trademarks. A Coach employee trained to identify counterfeits, examined CBP’s photographs of these bags and concluded the pictured items were counterfeit and bore counterfeit representations of four registered Coach trademarks as well as trade dresses, and were substantially indistinguishable from the Coach trademarks and trade dresses.

Published on:

Any competition by a former employee may injure the business of the former employer. However, the former employer cannot restrain ordinary competition. To be entitled to protection, the former employer must show special facts over and above ordinary competition which show that the former employee would have an unfair advantage without the non-compete agreement. Peter Mavrick is a Miami non-compete lawyer who has extensive experience with non-competition covenant litigation and claims for injunctive relief.

In Passalacqua v. Naviant, Inc., 844 So.2d 792 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Naviant, Inc. (“Naviant”) provided “opt-in email marketing services” that claimed its success due to its “unique” high volume marketing methods and techniques. Nicholas Passalacqua (“Passalacqua”) and Matt Sechter (“Sechter”) were hired by Naviant. Passalacqua and Sechter knew each other from their prior work as “cold callers”, i.e. making unsolicited sales calls, selling securities. Naviant required Passalacqua and Sechter to sign an agreement with non-compete and non-disclosure provisions (the “Agreement”).

After working for Naviant for three weeks, Passalacqua resigned to start his own business in the opt-in e-mail marketing industry. Passalacqua joined another person to form E–Mail Analytics, Inc. (“E–Mail Analytics”), which also provided opt-in e-mail services. Shortly thereafter, Sechter resigned from Naviant. Sechter joined E–Mail Analytics and bought Passalacqua’s ownership interest. Passalacqua continued to work for E-Mail Analytics.

Published on:

Protection of trade secrets and proprietary information is critical when a business receives a subpoena for its business information and documents. Even when a business is not a party to a lawsuit, it can be compelled to produce sensitive information that can cause irreparable harm. It is often necessary to seek an order of protection and confidentiality from the court. The court, however, must first determine whether the disputed information is in fact a trade secret or proprietary information. Summitbridge Nat’l Invs. LLC v. 1221 Palm Harbor, L.L.C., 67 So.3d 448 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). Peter Mavrick is an experienced trade secret attorney and business litigation attorney.

In Lake Worth Surgical Center, Inc. v. Gates, 266 So.3d 198 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against defendants for damages arising from a car accident. The plaintiff treated at Lake Worth Surgical Center, Inc. (“Center”), a non-party, and was billed for the Center’s services. Defendants served the Center with a subpoena that requested billing information that included, among other things, examples of reimbursement rates from unnamed insurers for the Center’s patients. The Center immediately moved for a protective order to prohibit disclosure of confidential financial information. The Center argued that insurance reimbursement rates and the makeup of the center’s patients are trade secret. The trial court denied the Center’s motion for protective and confidentiality order. The Center immediately filed a petition for certiorari review.

The Center contended that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law by denying the request for a confidentiality of its proprietary and trade secret information. The appellate court granted the petition in part and denied it in part.

Published on:

When disputes arise over which version of a non-compete agreement was the final version executed by and binding on the parties, discovery of pre-contract negotiations may become necessary. Parties often retain an attorney for those negotiations. If the attorney involved in the negotiations becomes a witness to the case, attorney-client communications may need to be disclosed to the court.  However, the attorney-client privilege may still be maintained if vigorously protected. Peter Mavrick has substantial experience with non-compete litigation throughout the State of Florida.

In Courville v. Promedco of Southwest Florida, Inc., 743 So.2d 41 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999), Promedco of Southwest Florida, Inc. (“Promedco”) bought the assets of Naples Medical Center, P.A. from Gary C. Courville and William R. Cook (collectively the “Physicians”). Promedco sued the Physicians and alleged that they violated a non-compete agreement contained in one of the documents related to the sale, a split-dollar agreement. Physicians denied executing the version of the non-compete agreement produced by Promedco. Physicians contended that the documents they signed did not have a non-compete agreement that went into effect immediately after the closing, but rather it would go into effect five years later. Physicians filed an affidavit of the attorney who advised them in the transaction to support their claim that the document produced by Promedco was fraudulent.

The attorney’s affidavit stated: (1) the circumstances of the attorney’s retention by the Physicians to advise them concerning the documents for sale of the medical center, (2) that the split-dollar agreement did not contain the same non-compete clause as the one produced by Promedco, and (3) the substance of the negotiations with the medical center’s attorney wherein the final draft of the agreement included a non-compete clause that would not go into effect until five years after the agreement was executed. The attorney’s affidavit also stated that that the Physicians signed the documents on his advice that the subject non-compete would not go into effect until five years after the closing.

Published on:

Employers in Florida are free to use all lawful criteria in deciding which employees to promote within the business.  It is well known that Florida and federal law prohibit employment discrimination based on various characteristics, such as race, age, national origin, sex, or religious affiliation.  When considering employment discrimination lawsuits, Florida and federal courts have scrutinized  evidence employees have proffered in support of their claims of discrimination.  When the evidence does not logically prove discrimination, courts have dismissed the claims.  Peter Mavrick is an experienced employment lawyer who defends businesses and their owners against claims of employment discrimination and retaliation, including accusations of discrimination filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR).

In Wesley v. Austal USA, LLC, 18-13775 (11th Cir. June 28, 2019), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of an employer in a lawsuit claiming that the employee did not get a job promotion because of race discrimination.  The employee contended that circumstantial evidence showed there was a discriminatory motivation behind the employer’s decision not to promote her.

An employee using circumstantial evidence to show that she was discriminated against must comply with the judicial doctrine called the “McDonnel Douglas burden-shifting framework.”   McCann v. Tillman, 526 F.3d 1370, 1373 (11th Cir. 2008).  The employee is required to demonstrate that he or she (1) is a member of a protected class; (2) was subjected to an adverse employment action (such as a decision not to promote); (3) qualified to do the job, and (4) was treated less favorably than “similarly situated employees.”  If the employee establishes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its action.  After the employer proffers the non-discriminatory reason, then the employee must show why this reason is not true or is otherwise a “pretext,” i.e., a reason given that is not the “real” reason.

Published on:

Non-compete provisions in employment contracts are not prohibited so long as such contracts are reasonable in time, area, and line of business. In any action concerning enforcement of a non-compete provision the court considers the terms of the contract as agreed to by the parties. If the non-compete period has expired, a court may not extend the period unless there is an equitable reason to do so. Peter Mavrick has substantial experience with non-compete litigation throughout the State of Florida.

In Vela v. Kendall, 905 So.2d 1033 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005), Quality Assurance Home Delivery (“Quality”), operated a delivery service for various retail stores. Quality entered into an agreement Charles Robert Vela (“Vela”) wherein Vela agreed to provide delivery services for Quality’s delivery clients as an independent contractor. The agreement contained a non-compete provision which restricted Vela from making deliveries for Quality’s clients “for a period of no less than two years from the date of termination.”

On May 1, 2001, Vela was terminated. Five months after termination, Quality demanded in writing that Vela stop delivery services in violation of the non-compete provision of the agreement. Quality later filed a lawsuit against Vera and sought damages and injunctive relief, including temporary injunctive relief. A non-jury trial was conducted, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of Quality. The judgment awarded damages for violation of the non-compete provision in the employment contract and an injunction against Vera. Vera immediately appealed.

Published on:

Protection of trade secrets and proprietary information is critical, when a business receives a subpoena for their business information and documents. Even when a business is not a party to a lawsuit, it can be compelled to produce sensitive information that can cause irreparable harm. It is often necessary to seek an order of protection and confidentiality from the court. The court, however, must first determine whether the disputed information is in fact a trade secret or proprietary information. Summitbridge Nat’l Invs. LLC v. 1221 Palm Harbor, L.L.C., 67 So.3d 448 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011).  Peter Mavrick is an experienced trade secret litigation attorney who has successfully represented clients in cases involving motions for emergency relief, preliminary or temporary injunction, arbitration, and trial.

In Lake Worth Surgical Center, Inc. v. Gates, 266 So.3d 198 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against defendants for damages arising from a car accident. The plaintiff treated at Lake Worth Surgical Center, Inc. (“Center”), a non-party, and was billed for the Center’s services. Defendants served the Center with a subpoena that requested billing information that included, among other things, examples of reimbursement rates from unnamed insurers for the Center’s patients. The Center immediately moved for a protective order to prohibit disclosure of confidential financial information. The Center argued that insurance reimbursement rates and the makeup of the center’s patients are trade secret. The trial court denied the Center’s motion for protective and confidentiality order. The Center immediately filed a petition for certiorari review.

The Center contended that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law by denying the request for a confidentiality of its proprietary and trade secret information. The appellate court granted the petition in part and denied it in part.

Contact Information