Business and Civil Litigation

The firm handles various business and other civil litigation matters, on either an hourly or contingent fee basis, depending upon the nature of the case. These litigation matters often involve one or more of the following: Breach of Contract, Fraud, Deceptive Trade Practices, Trade Secrets, Tortious Interference, Commission Disputes, Insurance Bad Faith, and Breach of Fiduciary Duty.

We will review substantial business litigation cases arising anywhere in Florida or Texas.  We can review matters from other jurisdictions, with the understanding that we would be retaining local counsel in those other states. 

 

In handling litigation, we strive to reduce expense without sacrificing chances for success. In formal discovery, we believe less is often best. Excess discovery can often be counter-productive, because it can remove the element of surprise at trial and force the opposition lawyers and witnesses to get prepared. The best lawyers are the ones able to handle surprise at trial, and we believe in retaining this advantage.

Minimal discovery, however, doesn't mean being ill-prepared. It means we prepare by means other than formal discovery, such as thoroughly interviewing potential witnesses and organizing all documents and information chronologically to understand the complete picture. In other words, we believe in preparing for trial, not just "litigating" over discovery matters. Everything we do is designed to prepare us to tell a simple, persuasive story to a jury.

Half of the firm's practice is spent handling contingent fee matters for plaintiffs. Because preparation of a contingent fee case is at our expense, we know how to economize and to ensure that everything we do is done in support of the outcome we are after. We prefer contingent fee cases because we want to share the same incentive to win that our clients have. But even when we are paid by the hour, we take an efficient, cost-effective approach to litigation, and we believe that our monthly statements will be lower than those of larger firms that focus on their hourly fees. We do not have the resources to over-work a case and even if we did, and a client were willing to pay us to do so, it would go against our fundamental trial philosophy.

Because we only do litigation, we have few regular clients. The only way we get business is by the results we achieve in our prior cases. We cannot afford to lose and we cannot afford to win inefficiently.

 

 

Discovery and Depositions

In response to the other side's document requests, we have found that it is better to produce too much than too little. It can be very expensive to review masses of documents to remove what is non-responsive or irrelevant. We even encourage our clients to allow open files searches if we can get a stipulation preserving privileges or find a way to identify files that are likely to contain privileged documents.

We do not, as some firms now do, computerize all documents. This is expensive and, in most cases, unnecessary. Even the most complex case boils down to a relatively few "hot documents". When we initially review documents--ours and theirs--we select those that are to be included in our "hot document" chronology. These are the documents that tell the story and that we use to prepare and to These are the documents that tell the story and that we use to prepare and to depose witnesses. They are the documents that will likely become trial exhibits. From the document chronology and working with our client, we prepare a written chronology of events, a narrative of what happened, which we update and revise as the case progresses.

We don't take many depositions and those that we do take are relatively short. We don't need to look under every stone, just the boulders. Excessive questioning of adverse witnesses, particularly experts, often only educates them.

We often videotape depositions, which can minimize excessive talking and misbehavior by opposing counsel and allows us to show the other side's key witnesses to our clients and experts.

We believe there is no such thing as a bad witness--only one who has been ill-prepared. If our witness has been well prepared, our job at the deposition is to sit there and enjoy the testimony.

Some lawyers believe that what a witness doesn't know can't hurt him, so they encourage their witnesses not to remember, not to know. This is a dangerous practice, because a witness who doesn't know or recall at his deposition is often useless at trial. We encourage our fact witnesses to learn, remember, and be responsive, not just at trial but at their depositions when taken by the other side. We encourage our experts to prepare written reports which we produce to the other side.

We try to conduct as much discovery by agreement as possible, because it is expensive to do otherwise. We rarely take discovery disputes to court, because judges don’t like them and both sides usually end up with less than they could nd up with less than they could get by agreement. Generally, we will take a discovery dispute to court only when the issue is outcome-determinative, which is rare, and only when we have confidence that we can win.

The Bottom Line

We believe that a trial is an opportunity to tell a story. We develop and refine our arguments, and conduct discovery, with the ultimate goal of telling a simple story to a jury. In other words, we believe in preparing for trial, not just "litigating" over discovery matters. Everything we do is designed to prepare us to tell a simple, persuasive story to a jury.