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What General Information Should I Know About Arbitration?

There is much to know about arbitration and its pros and cons. Some of the top things to understand about arbitration include:

Cost: In general, arbitration for several reasons can be less costly than filing a lawsuit and taking it all the way to a trial. One reason is that depending on which arbitration forum you select, the typical time it takes to go from filing your demand for arbitration to having the final hearing is a shorter time period so you are paying your attorney for a shorter period of time. Of note though, is that the ‘filing’ fees of arbitration are typically much higher than the courts because you will pay an administrative fee and perhaps a deposit against future costs. Sometimes if your case settles you get a refund of some of those fees. Additionally, as discussed below, discovery in arbitration is limited which has a direct impact on the cost.

Speed: Arbitration can also be quicker than a lawsuit due to the nature of arbitration where many cases will go to final hearing within a year. If it takes much more than a year to have a final hearing then it may be that the other side is trying to delay the process. Again, limited discovery helps make the process move more quickly.

Limited Discovery: Arbitration matters normally have a limited discovery where either the rules of the arbitration forum or the parties to a negotiated arbitration agreement will specify what discovery is available. Often there are no depositions in arbitration except in very limited circumstances. Limited discovery is not only cost effective but since the other side will not have the broad discovery typical in a lawsuit the fear of what the other side does not know may help you get an early resolution before final hearing.

Arbitrator Selection: In a lawsuit, you, through your lawyer, have the chance to select a jury based on limited information and time asking questions of the potential jurors. This can be a hazardous part of a trial for what are hopefully obvious reasons. In arbitration, by contrast, you are able to agree with the opposing party as to the arbitrator(s) for your case or, in FINRA arbitration for example, you get relatively detailed information about a set of hopefully qualified arbitrators. In either of these instances, you will have much more access to understand your potential arbitrators and can thus avoid arbitrators whom you think may not be favorable to your case or might be too favorable to the other side's case.

Confidentiality: Arbitration is confidential. Lawsuits are not. Thus, the evidence, the testimony, the witnesses, indeed the dispute itself, is wide open in court while in arbitration only parties, arbitrators and witnesses are allowed in the hearing room, the evidence is taken confidentially and the award can often be kept confidential as well. So, this cloak over the dispute may make it easier for someone to bring a claim because they know that the details of the arbitration will not be front page news.

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What Kind of Business Should I Form?

The question of what type of entity to form for my business, if indeed you want to form any type of entity, is an important consideration. There are different reasons for choosing different types of entity for your business and the big considerations are flexibility, taxes, liability, and administration of the business.

Sole Proprietorship: Very flexible. This is what a person’s business is if they start it without organizing it. The owner has full liability for what happens with the business.

S-Corporation: Relatively flexible but you can only have one class of shares or you will cause the S-Corporation to become a C-Corporation. With an S-Corporation the profit and loss in such a corporation are treated like a partnership for tax purposes, that is, it is ‘pass through taxation.’ So the income is not taxed at the corporation level rather only at the personal level. You get liability protection if you are operating in a corporate form but you have paperwork each year to maintain to make sure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of liability protection.

C-Corporation: Some flexibility but nothing like the LLC. This is basically the same as an S-Corporation except that income is taxed at the corporate level and again at the individual level – a concept known as ‘double taxation.’

Limited Liability Company: Perhaps the most flexible entity because you can have disproportionate distributions, add or remove members among other things. Limited liability companies (“LLC”) have become very popular because they provide the taxation of an S-Corporation or partnership with the liability protection of a corporation. Also, the annual documentation requirements are not as strenuous as with a corporation.

Partnership: Decent flexibility if not as popular as they once were. People like the partnership because of the taxation only at the individual level. Profits of a partnership are ‘passed through’ to the partners who pay tax on their individual tax returns. A drawback of the partnership is that each partner remains liable for the financial aspects of the partnership.

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Forming an LLC in Florida

The limited liability company is a hybrid between partnerships and corporations. As such, this business form provides some of the advantages of both, while avoiding some the tax pitfalls of corporations and liability issues in partnerships. Forming an LLC is not all that difficult, but it may be in your best interests to work with Tampa business contract lawyers when doing so.

Assessing Your Needs

Your Tampa business contract lawyers understand the nuances of each business form. They can assess the needs of your business, along with your ability to withstand exposure to liability, and help you determine whether an LLC is right for you. There is a fair degree of flexibility in the type of LLC you create as well, and they have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you make an informed decision.

Steps in Forming Your LLC

Once you decide to form as an LLC, you need to select a name. This name must not already be in use, as reflected by a file kept by the Florida Division of Corporations. Florida law requires your name to include the words “Limited Liability” or “Limited Liability Company,” “L.C.,” or “L.L.C.” to be used when abbreviating.

The steps to formation of your LLC are:

  • Appoint someone to act as registered agent. This person or entity must be physically located within the State of Florida and is responsible for accepting any legal paperwork, such as in a situation where you are sued.
  • In order to create your LLC, you will need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Division of Corporations. There is a filing fee, and you need to include all pertinent information requested, including the name and address of your company and the name of the registered agent.
  • While it is not required, your Tampa business contract lawyers will suggest that you create an operating agreement.
  • You will need an Employee Identification Number if your LLC has two or more members. This is obtained from the IRS.
  • Make sure to check with your city and county clerk to determine what business licenses you need.
  • You will need to file an Annual Report with the Florida Secretary of State. This must be done online prior to May 1 of each year.
  • If you are doing business in another state, you must file a Qualification of Foreign LLC with the Department of State’s Division of Corporations.
Contact Our Tampa Business Contract Lawyers

While it is not all that difficult to create a limited liability company, a mistake can be costly. Also, the majority of new businesses fail within the first few years. It is to your advantage to work with Tampa business contract lawyers who can provide you the guidance to ensure your best chances of success. Call Savage Villoch Law, PLLC today at 813-200-0013.

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Can I Sue My Stockbroker?

Even today, years after the 2008 financial crisis, investors are learning that the stockbrokers, brokerage firms, and investment professionals they trust, in fact, often mishandle their investment funds. All brokers and their firms have a duty to “observe high standards of commercial honor,” and if a broker failed to act fairly toward you, you may be able to sue your broker in arbitration for your investment losses — even if those losses occurred several years ago.

How Do I Know if I Should Sue My Stockbroker?

Whether you are an individual investor or are responsible for another person’s investment assets, or your business investment assets, the signs of broker mismanagement are similar. To help you decide whether you want to sue your broker, ask yourself:

  • Did my broker recommend low-priced securities that turned out to be very risk?
  • Did my broker give limited information about a stock they wanted me to buy?
  • Did my broker fail to carefully review my financial situation and investment objectives?
  • Did my broker tell me about trades AFTER they were done?
  • Did I learn about trades only by looking at my account statements?
  • Did my broker make a large number of trades (or trade recommendations) for my account (even your retirement account)?
  • Did my broker frequently recommend that I switch mutual funds?
  • Did my broker recommend that I borrow money or use ‘margin’ to purchase stocks, bonds, or other investments?
  • Did my broker charged large commissions?

Any of these activities may indicate that your broker, rather than market conditions, caused your stock losses and you may be able to sue your broker to recover. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (www.finra.org) can tell you whether other investors have sued broker or brokerage firm.

You can consult with a Tampa securities fraud attorney at Savage Villoch Law, PLLC to obtain an opinion about whether you should sue your broker.

Listen below on stock brokers making high pressure cold calls.

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What is FINRA Arbitration?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is the private regulatory body that regulates and protects brokerage firms, financial markets, and investors. A business attorney can explain to you that FINRA is the successor to the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD) and enforces regulations and arbitrates decisions.

Overview of FINRA Explained by a National Business Attorney

Generally, the role of FINRA and arbitrations through FINRA are to protect investors in financial markets by helping ensure that markets run fairly and free of fraud. In sum, FINRA oversees brokerage firms, branch offices, and registered securities representatives.

FINRA Arbitrations Explained by a National Business Attorney

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. For example, parties to a dispute can either sue each other and go to court which can be a timely and costly process. Or the parties can resolve their differences through an out-of-court process such as arbitration.

A business attorney can explain to you that during FINRA arbitration, an arbitration panel will be chosen comprising of one or three arbitrators depending on the size of the claim made. Both parties to the dispute play a role in selecting the arbitrator as well as the number of arbitrators.

During arbitration, the panel of arbitrators will read the pleadings, listen to the arguments posed by both sides, examine the relevant evidence, and provide a decision. Similar to a court decision, the decision of the arbitration panel is final and binding.

Financial disputes that may be eligible to be heard at arbitration include disputes between investors where one of the parties is registered with FINRA. These can involve cases involving investors and brokers or investors and broker firms. Typically, a claim needs to be filed within six years from the date of the facts giving rise to the claim. FINRA arbitrators may also hear disputes between organizations such as between brokerage firms, brokers, and brokerage firms and brokers.

Contact a FINRA Arbitration Attorney Now

If you need assistance with a FINRA arbitration, you will want to work with an experienced attorney. To learn how an attorney at Savage Villoch Law, PLLC can help you, call 813-200-0013.

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What is Mediation?

When you have a dispute with another party, you may have many options for resolution outside of the courtroom. A Tampa business mediation attorney can explore common alternative dispute resolution techniques including mediation.

Lawsuits are Generally the Last Resort

If you cannot resolve a legal dispute with another individual or business, it’s natural to have questions about whether a lawsuit is necessary. As an experienced Tampa business mediation attorney can explain, lawsuits can be time consuming and expensive, and they do not come with certain outcomes. As such, filing suit should generally be the last resort for dispute resolution. Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes may provide a workable solution in lieu of filing suit.

Tampa Business Mediation Attorney Discusses How Mediation Works

In mediation, parties agree to meet with a neutral third party in an attempt to work out a resolution to their dispute. In some cases, the court orders parties to mediation after a lawsuit is filed. In other cases, the parties agree to mediate before filing a lawsuit.

The role of the mediator is to listen to both sides of the dispute and facilitate a resolution. In other words, there is no resolution unless the parties agree to one. The mediator may provide a written or verbal recommendation based on his or opinion after hearing the facts. The mediator’s recommendation is non-binding. In most cases, the mediation process is relatively informal. You may meet at the mediator’s office or at another mutually agreed upon location.

At the offices of Savage Villoch Law, PLLC, attorney Robert K. Savage is also a civil-circuit certified mediator for the state of Florida. With agreement of the parties, he can serve as a mediator to help facilitate a resolution.

If mediation is not an option, you can speak to our attorneys about other methods that may work for you. To speak to a Tampa business mediation attorney who can help you understand options you have for resolution outside of the courtroom, contact the offices of Savage Villoch Law, PLLC. To schedule an appointment for an initial consultation, call us today at 813-200-0013.

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Client Reviews
I am deeply grateful for the superb representation I received from Bert Savage at Savage Villoch Law, representing me in my complex investment loss claim. Bert and the legal team were consistent and persistent from the start, understanding and pursuing my case and securing a favorable outcome for me. Bert worked tirelessly on my behalf and kept me well informed throughout the process. - L. Nathan
"Alfred Villoch is a very versatile individual. He helped me in several parts of the law and was able to leverage his experience multiple times, whether with corporate law or insurance. He takes the extra steps needed to not only ensure an iron-clad proposal is offered but sees the value as a business owner and offers all options. He's been my attorney for over 10 years and has even gone to trial with me and won. It's essential for me to find a confidant who can address any legal situation that arises, and I can say he's risen to the challenge each and every time." - Simon
"Over the years I have come to rely on the expertise of Robert "Bert" Savage in the most important matters concerning my business and my non profit organization. His knowledge and guidance has allowed me to take a more successful path than I would've chosen without him. He takes a genuine interest in my business and has consistently supported my efforts with rock solid advice and enthusiasm. He's as good as they get" - Bob
"If ever I have a legal question impacting my affairs I know I can turn to Alfred as a dependable resource. Accessing his high levels of varied expertise ensures I make decisions that shall contribute to favorable outcomes. He's extremely responsive and thoughtful in his advice, and is always approachable. His communication is thorough and I never walk away from a conversation without feeling that I fully understand the advice Alfred provided." - Joy
"Bert Savage has been a great help to myself and my company. He has demonstrated that he is very knowledgeable and effective, and seems to achieve a lot with the hours he bills. We are quite satisfied with his services and intend to continue our relationship with him. Highly recommended for any of his areas of expertise. " - William