Omnibus Insureds & Their Entitlement to Attorney’s Fees Under Florida’s Insurance Code

By Christina M. Himmel

Let’s face it: pursuing a lawsuit will require both time and money. To that end, one of the primary concerns before pursuing litigation is whether attorney’s fees are recoverable from the opposing party. A party can only recover attorney’s fees if authorized by contract or statute. Florida’s Insurance Code provides a right to attorney’s fees for certain classes of Christina at Kluger Kaplanpeople, including named insureds and named beneficiaries. The subject of this blog focuses on the provision in Florida’s Insurance Code that allows an “omnibus insured” to recover attorney’s fees. Through this provision, a beneficiary that is not explicitly named in an insurance policy but is nonetheless expressly covered by a provision in that policy may be able to recover attorney’s fees from the insurer.

More specifically, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 627.428(1), a third-party that qualifies as an “omnibus insured” is entitled to recover attorney’s fees from the insurer if it prevails in an action against the insurer. Section 627.428(1) states as follows: Continue reading

Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine Promotes Marko Cerenko to Partner

Marko Cerenko - High ResMIAMI, FL – Miami-based litigation firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine announces Marko Cerenko has been named partner at the firm.  Cerenko focuses his practice primarily on complex commercial litigation and real estate litigation, while additionally working on many of the firm’s high profile construction litigation as well as trusts, estates and probate cases.

“Marko has been a rising star since the beginning of his career at Kluger Kaplan,” said Founding Member Alan Kluger. “As our firm looks to the future, we are committed to rewarding our next generation leadership and are confident Marko will succeed in his new role as Partner.” Continue reading

Will Dispute Lead to Potential Prison Time for Multimillionaire’s Widower?

Captureby Celia Ampel

A South Florida multimillionaire’s widower could face prison time after taking control of assets left to his stepsons and then leaving the country in defiance of court orders.

Victor Moskalenko’s actions were the most “disturbing and troubling” behavior Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser had seen in his 33 years on the bench, the probate judge wrote earlier this year before Moskalenko apparently fled to Israel using a passport he’d been ordered to turn over to the court.

Speiser said he will find Moskalenko in criminal contempt of court if he does not appear at a September hearing in Fort Lauderdale, which could result in a fine, incarceration or probation.

Kluger in DBR“As civil lawyers, we don’t usually run into parties being imprisoned for contempt,” said Bruce Katzen of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Miami, who is representing Moskalenko’s stepsons. “It’s rare. I’ve been practicing over 30 years. I’ve never seen anything like it.'”  

Katzen and his colleague Jamie Zuckerman have been battling Moskalenko in court for six years, after the 2010 death of oil heiress and businesswoman Sofi Moskalenko-Kemelman led to a will contest.

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11th Circuit Issues Favorable Ruling for Consumers Seeking Class Certification

CaptureBy Erin E. Bohannon

Erin (Kluger)When it comes to consumer class actions, recent Florida precedent swings in favor of plaintiffs seeking class certification. On May 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed class certification in the case of Carriuolo v. General Motors, an action brought pursuant to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In Carriuolo, the Eleventh Circuit construed FDUPTA to focus on whether a practice is deceptive or misleading to the objectively “reasonable consumer” rather than focusing on the subjective reliance of each consumer when purchasing a product. As such, the Carriuolo decision favors aggrieved consumers who wish to bring class action claims by reducing defendants’ ability to challenge the “predominance” requirement for class certification. The “predominance” requirement tests whether “questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members” and is often the toughest obstacle in obtaining class certification. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3); see also Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220(b)(3)(setting forth state court counterpart for class certification). As a result, Carriuolo is an important decision and represents the most recent ruling in a line of cases that broadly construe FDUPTA and promote class action litigation as a mechanism to effect FDUPTA’s broad, remedial purpose of consumer protection. Continue reading

Workers are dressing more casually. Does that affect productivity?

Miami Herald titleBy Cindy Krischer Goodman

As the summer brings sweltering heat, office dress is shifting. Skirts and sleeves are shorter, sandals are prevalent, and both seasoned professionals and the summer’s crop of interns test the boundaries of casual dress.

But as office dress codes become more relaxed, some employers worry that the work ethic will weaken. Will wearing polo shirts to the office discourage employees from staying past 6 p.m.? Will dressing in khakis instead of a power suit make a manager less likely to invite clients to lunch? Will wearing sandals lessen someone’s motivation to negotiate a deal?

Alan Kluger_063 greySome employers give their employees leeway to dress up or down, asking mostly that they “be presentable” in the office. At the Miami law firm of Kluger Kaplan, lawyers often walk the hallways in nice jeans and a button-down shirt. But when they go to court, Alan Kluger urges attorneys to dress the part and insists it creates confidence and credibility: “If you’re in front of a jury, you want to be the lawyer they want to hire. Dress makes a difference in the courthouse, it just does.”

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