Protests over death of George Floyd spill out into Miami and Broward

On May 25, 2020, Memorial Day, George Floyd died while in police custody. Office Derek Chauvin was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in his death, only after a series of protests took place in Minneapolis. Recommended sentencing guidelines are 12 1/2 years for the charge of third degree murder and 4 years for the second degree manslaughter charge. A series of protests has hence been sparked throughout the country, including major cities such as New York, D.C., Houston, Portland and even Miami.

Curfew in Effect

Saturday and Sunday saw mass protests, a blockage of I-95 and rampant looting throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County. A curfew was in effect Saturday night, May 30, 2020, commencing at 10:00 p.m. On Sunday, May 31, 2020, a curfew was in effect from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. The curfew could likely be extended further if warranted.

EFFECT OF PROTESTS ON COVID-19 QUARANTINE

Due to the protests which occurred over the weekend; Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez issued a statement on May 21, 2020, in which he decided to postpone the opening of the beaches until the curfew order is lifted. “In addition, I will be updating the emergency order to extend the hours of the curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., effective Sunday, May 31st, until the order is lifted. Cities can have stricter rules. For instance, the City of Miami curfew begins at 8 p.m.” Apartment pools, private pools and condominium/home owner association managed pools may open June 1, 2020.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR ME?

With all of this unrest and added uncertainty, you may be worried how it will affect your business. Whether you are a landlord or hotel/motel owner who recently rented your property to vacationers who may now be seeking a refund due to the beaches not reopening on June 1, 2020 as initially intended or whether your business was attacked and looted; the attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you in ensuring your business is one step closer to recovery.  G&R Law will work with you during these trying times and within your financial means to help you and your business recover from the effects of any violent protesters and Covid-19.

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law and set up your free of charge telephonic or video appointment.

Stay safe during these trying times.

David Vega, Esq.

Miami-Dade County to Re-Open Today Under the New Normal Guidelines

On May 18, 2020, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez is set to commence reopening Miami-Dade County and allow non-essential business to re-open under new stringent guidelines. Part of this plan includes a color flag identification system designed to show the status of the continuum of the new normal.

RED: Most stringent closures; only essential businesses open; social distancing and facial covering requirements in place;

ORANGE: Parks and open spaces open; preparations taking place to reopen other sectors with strict capacity requirements in place; social distancing and facial covering requirements in place;

YELLOW: Limited opening of non-essential businesses and other facilities; strict capacity requirements in place; social distancing and facial covering requirements in place;

GREEN: More expansive opening of businesses and facilities; capacity requirements expanded; social distancing and facial covering requirements in place;

BLUE: New Normal is in place; all businesses and facilities open; social distancing and facial coverings encouraged.

Business that choose to open must follow some of the following strict requirements:

  • Facial coverings must be worn at all times when social distancing is not possible;
  • Employees must stay 6 feet away from each other;
  • Common access points such as doors, handles, light switches and elevator buttons must be sanitized;
  • Bathrooms must be sanitized every two to three hours;
  • Virtual meetings are encouraged and employees are urged to work from home if possible;
  • CDC signage on “Stop the Spread of Germs” must be posted in the workplace and employees must be trained in new operating procedures to deal with Covid-19 issues.

For a more exhaustive list of requirements and suggestions, please see The New Normal, A Guide for Residents and Commercial Establishments.

Some Concerns Moving forward under the new normal

Moving forward during these new strange and challenging times, some valid concerns are raised. For example, according to The New Normal, any business establishment which has an employee or contractor test positive for Covid-19 must close for the shorter of 14 days or the time it would take to have every employee tested and the business sanitized. Specific guidelines also exist for retail and small business. Also, staggered employee breaks, having a single point of entry and queues to pay at a cashier are strongly recommended. Merchandise that has been tried on must not be returned to shelves for 24 hours or until it has been properly sanitized.

Restaurants are also imposing special requirements to ensure that servers must maintain their masks on, social distancing markers must be placed on the ground, menus must be disposable and indoor restaurants must not operate at more than 50% capacity.

The attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you in reviewing the new protocols of your business to ensure you are in compliance with the New Normal Guidelines.  G&R Law will work with you during these trying times and within your financial means to help you and your business recover from Covid-19.

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law and set up your free of charge telephonic or video appointment. 

Stay safe during these trying times. 

David Vega, Esq.

Florida Courts Status Update

Florida Courts are slowly commencing the process of reopening; however, a greater emphasis is being placed on remote hearings via Zoom rather than in-person appearances. The Supreme Court of Florida recently issued Amendment Number 1 to AOSC20-23 which addresses a series of changes.

Court matters to be heard remotely

Some of the notables changes are that all jury trials shall remain suspended now through and including July 2, 2020. As to non-jury trials and other “non-essential” matters, these will continue to be conducted remotely on a case-by-case basis as determined by the presiding judge and the chief judge of each circuit.

“After COVID-19 has determined that the following proceedings are amenable to being conducted remotely:

  1. Alternative dispute resolution proceedings;
  2. Status, case management, and pretrial conferences in all case types;
  3. Non-evidentiary and evidentiary motion hearings in all case types;
  4. Arraignments and pleas in absentia in county court misdemeanor cases;
  5. Hearings in juvenile delinquency cases;
  6. Hearings in noncriminal traffic infraction cases;
  7. Problem-solving court staffings, hearings, and wellness checks; and
  8. Non-jury trials in all case types, except for criminal, juvenile delinquency, and termination of parental rights petitions in dependency cases unless the parties in an excepted case agree to the remote conduct of a non-jury trial.”

If you have a pending case or have questions regarding a potential claim you may have, please contact the attorneys at G&R Law.

Writs of possession as to Foreclosure/eviction proceedings

The issuance of writ of possessions pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.580(a) as they related to eviction and/or foreclosure proceedings remain suspended indefinitely. It is advisable if you are a tenant seeking relief on your rent payment or alternatively a landlord seeking to collect rent from your tenant(s) to attempt to communicate and reach a resolution as to a new amount which would be agreeable to both sides. If you are unable to reach a resolution, the attorneys at G&R Law are here to provide assistance.

Family Matters

As to family matters, in-person visitation of children remains suspended if the parents are unable to agree as to a safe manner in which to conduct same. However, electronic communication via video or alternatively telephone is to be conducted in lieu of in-person visitation.

If you are a parent and believe it would be in the best interest of your child to have in-person visitiation with you and it can be done in a manner which would keep both of you safe from Covid-19, the courts are allowing said visitation on a case-by-case basis. The attorneys at G&R Law can assist you in being able to safely enjoy visitation with your child.

What should i do now?

The attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you in reviewing your leases and negotiating on your behalf with your tenants and/or landlord.  G&R Law will work with you during these trying times to make sure you are able to have visitation with your children so long as it can be done in a safe manner.

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law and set up your free of charge telephonic or video appointment. 

Stay safe during these trying times. 

David Vega, Esq.

Overdue for a Haircut or Nail Appointment?

Are you starting to look a bit like you belong in an 80’s rock band? Are your nails looking chipped and ragged? Is your barbershop and/or salon ready to take care of the grooming needs of your community? Well you’re in luck since Governor Ron de Santis has issued Executive Order #20-120 Expanding Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery as to Palm Beach County residents.

Barbershops, Cosmetology SAlons and Cosmetology Specialty Salons

Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures as outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at the following link may now open commencing as of 12:01 A.M. on May 11, 2020. This eases the previous restriction as per Executive Order #20-112 in which Palm Beach County barbershops and cosmetology salons were lumped in with those of Broward County and Miami-Dade County and not allowed to open.

Barbershops and salons must operate by appointment only and with at least 15 minutes between appointments so as to properly sanitize the area. Staff must also wear masks.

What this means for Broward and Miami-Dade County barbershops and salons?

While barbershops and salons in Broward and Miami-Dade County are still closed; the fact they were opened in Palm Beach likely means Broward and Miami-Dade are next. As a barbershop and/or salon owner, you should be ready to reopen your business as soon as it is allowed by government officials. The announcement by Governor de Santis as to Palm Beach County was made on May 9, 2020, with only two days notice prior to allowing for these business to reopen. You should contact employees and inform them they should be ready. Also, you should have a supply of masks, gloves, disinfectant and otherwise allow customers to feel at ease your business is serious about protecting them from the potential risks due to Covid-19.

What should I do now?

As a barbershop and/or salon owner, after making sure your business is ready to open once allowed to do so by government officials, you may wish to speak with an attorney to see which options work best for you and your new business model. 

The attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you in reviewing your leases and negotiating on your behalf with your landlord and/or your employees.  G&R Law will work with you during these trying times and within your financial means to help you and your business recover from Covid-19.

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law and set up your free of charge telephonic or video appointment. 

Stay safe during these trying times. 

David Vega, Esq.

Florida to Partially Reopen Amidst Covid-19

Governor Ron de Santis has issued Executive Order 20-112 which commences Phase 1 of his “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Stop Plan” to reopen the State of Florida. While the plan is light on the details, the following locations are remaining closed or reopening with restrictions:

AFFECTED BUSINESSES

  • Restaurants can reopen with 25% capacity indoors and outdoor seating will be allowed, all with social-distancing of at least 6 feet and only seating parties of 10 or few people. Bar counters shall remain closed.
  • Bars, pubs and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages shall continue to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • Gyms and fitness centers shall remain closed.
  • Vacation rentals shall remain prohibited.
  • In-store retail centers can operate at 25% of indoor capacity, so long as they continue to abide with the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  • Both outpatient and inpatient elective surgeries will restart statewide.
  • Museums and libraries can open at 25% of capacity only if their local government allows it. Interactive exhibits shall remain closed.

Enforcement

Any violation of this order shall constitute a second-degree misdemeanor pursuant to section 252.50, Florida Statutes, and is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.

What should I EXPECT NOW?

As a Florida resident, employee, potential business owner and/or consumer, you are probably now considering the pros and cons of attempting to return to your regular, pre-Covid-19 life. Rest assured, whether it be interpreting a lease, negotiating with your lender for a loan modification or ensuring your business is compliant with these new and ever changing regulations due to the coronavirus, you should speak with an attorney to see which options work best for your specific situation.

The attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you and will work with you during these trying times and within your financial means to ensure you are able to take your first steps towards recovering from the effects of Covid-19. 

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law and book your free of charge telephonic or virtual appointment. 

Stay safe during these trying times. 

David Vega, Esq.

Getting Married, Congrats! Do you need a Prenup? Yes, for these 5 reasons!!

Div Blog 8-30-17

After she or he said “Yes”, the planning of the wedding and craziness begins.  The couple is in love and looking forward to their future together.  Couples should see marriage as a contract and that it has a business aspect to it, just like when you buy a house or a car, you sign a contract.  Most contracts contain what you can and can’t do and the consequences for breach of the contract.  Marriage contracts do not have any terms or conditions and only a prenuptial agreement can specify what happens if the parties divorce.  Most couples don’t want to think about divorce, but almost 50% of first marriages end up in divorce, flip a coin, its 50/50.  Whether you have assets, money, or something to protect or you are just starting out and have nothing, you should have a prenuptial agreement from G&R Law for these 5 reasons:

  1. Prenup will explain how everything is divided in the event of divorce or separation;
  2. Prenup saves money in legal fees in divorce as everything has been agreed to ahead of time;
  3. Prenup will specify whether someone will have to pay alimony (money paid by one party to the other for a period of time);
  4. Prenup will specify who lives in the home if the parties separate or divorce;
  5. Prenup insures a peaceful transition when the marriage does not work out, the parties may even stay friends.

If you have questions regarding the use or construction of prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements, please contact G&R Law, we are a law firm in Coral Gables, Florida.

Careful with Commercial Lease Agreements!!

As a new business owner or entrepreneur, your excited to start your business and build out your dream location and begin to sell your services or merchandise.  Before you sign the lease that was given to you most likely by the landlord for that new store or office you should keep in mind that it was most likely written to protect the landlords interests and not you as the tenant.

Commercial lease agreements are typically lengthy and wordy documents and provide for all manner of issues related to the premises.  Aside from providing the stipulated rent and other common provisions, they include topics such as who is responsible for the maintenance of the building, who will pay the property taxes, etc.  It is important to review very carefully these agreements to insure that you as the tenant are aware of your responsibilities.

Did you know that:

  • You can negotiate with the Landlord for tenant improvements in the form of monies provided by the Landlord to be used for the build out of your location;
  • You can negotiate an exit strategy in the event that your business does not do as well as you hope;
  • You can negotiate when your lease starts, meaing not when you sign but when your are actually ready to open, the allows for you to make your improvements or remodeling to the location without having the burden of making lease payments;
  • You can negotiate the rental increases.

Tenants should be knowledgeable about what they are signing, Landlord’s typically want the business owner to sign a personal guarantee when entering into a lease, this can be problematic when the lease contains an acceleration clause which allows for the Landlord to collect the remaining balance of the rental term and personally sue the guarantor for payment.

It is important to have these complicated commercial leases reviewed and negotiated prior to signing by an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area, it will be the best investment your new business can make.

 

The Cost of Waging War in Divorce!!

Sometimes husband and wife get caught up in the moment and lose perspective as to what is important, if your headed for divorce and you know there is not other alternative, you should keep a few things in mind.  In a divorce, the parties should be thinking of the most efficient way to break free from each other but often times the parties become more entrenched by opposing each other in every aspect of the divorce causing legal fees to go up and up and ultimately just prolong the inevitable.  

I advise clients to only dispute the really important matters that absolutely cant be resolved by them and to try to find a happy median with most everything else. Basically don’t sweat the little stuff, its not worth it.

Florida, the state where I practice is a no fault state, meaning it does not matter why the parties are divorcing.  It does not matter whether the wife ran off with her assistant or the husband ran off with the tennis coach, whats important is that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  I know its hard, but you have to leave emotion out of a divorce and think logically, it doesn’t matter who gets the couch.

Whatever the parties had together is marital and will be split in half in whats called equitable distribution.  Equitable distribution is the division of both your assets (checking account, retirement account, house, pension, car, jewelery, etc) and your liabilities (mortgages, loans, credit cards, or other debts). If you came into the marriage with assets or liabilities these amounts should not be considered as part of your equitable distribution of marital assets.  Also, if you have received an inheritance and have not commingled it then this asset is also not marital.

War is costly, the more you know before you go into war the less you are likely to spend in needless attorneys fees and costs.  As an attorney, I will tell you that we are wired to want to fight for our clients and obtain a result which is in our clients best interest.  Sometimes its worth paying to fight a war and other times its not.  Your attorney should be able to tell you the pros and cons of litigating your matter as opposed to trying to find an amicable solution from the start. 

In a typical divorce, the petitioner or plaintiff who files for divorce will incur the cost of filing along with the cost of service of the documents on the respondent or defendant.  Basically, the husband or wife who files will incur a filing fee and service fee which is usually in the range of $500.00.  Attorneys in family cases usually charge hourly unless the divorce is amicable between the parties and the attorney can price a flat fee for what is called an uncontested divorce where all of the parties agree on the terms of the divorce.

If your in the process of divorce or are thinking about divorce, analyze what is important, minimize costs by only litigating whats truly important, it may be time sharing with your kids or some other matter that cant be resolved amicably.  Stay informed in your case, just because you have an attorney does not mean you shouldn’t be on top of whats going on.  Good luck, for any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me, Javier L. Gonzalez, Esq. at jgonzalez@gr-law.net