Best Lawyers, U.S. News & World Reports Ranks Kluger Kaplan Among Best Law Firms in 2019 Edition

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Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report have once again recognized Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine for its professionalism and integrity as a “Best Law Firm” for 2019.

Firms included in the 2019 Edition of “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. It also honors firms who have made their mark on the legal profession and deliver high-quality legal services. Kluger Kaplan was ranked nationally in three practice areas and regionally in eight practice areas.

Below are the practice areas for which Kluger Kaplan was named a “Best Law Firm”:

National Tier 2

* Litigation- Mergers & Acquisitions

* Litigation- Real Estate

National Tier 3

* Commercial Litigation

Regional Tier 1

Miami

* Commercial Litigation

* Family Law

* Litigation- Real Estate

Minneapolis

* Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

Regional Tier 2

Miami

* Litigation- Mergers & Acquisitions

Regional Tier 3

Miami

* Entertainment Law- Motion Pictures & Television

* Litigation- Banking & Finance

* Securities/Capital Markets Law

The Best Lawyers- U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and assessment of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

For full details on our rankings, please visit Best Law Firms 2019.

Daily Business Review: Margaritaville Brand Fight Over Rights in Bahamas

The Daily Business Review shares the details about Kluger Kaplan’s Todd Levine’s latest intellectual property case.  

Margaritaville Brand Fight Over Rights in Bahamas

October 20, 2018

Restaurant operator Boss Investments claims the Margaritaville company is breaking a licensing agreement by allowing a different developer to use the name in the Bahamas for a resort.

Margaritaville — both a name and a laidback feel at tourist venues from New York to Costa Rica derived from Jimmy Buffett’s 1977 hit song — is accused of breaching an agreement for the exclusive use of the trademark in the Bahamas.

Kluger Kaplan Commercial Litigation

Boss Investments Ltd. claims it has the exclusive rights to develop and run venues under the Margaritaville trademark, which includes the name, Buffett images and song lyrics, and associated merchandise under a 2014 agreement.

Boss opened a restaurant, store and bar with live entertainment on Paradise Island, but its plans and partnership with Margaritaville went awry when it wanted to open a second, similar venue.

Boss said Palm Beach-based Margaritaville Holdings LLC; its intellectual property licensor, Margaritaville Enterprises LLC; and the IP sublicensor that signed the Bahamas trademark agreement with Boss, Margaritaville of Bahamas LLC, didn’t hold up their end of the deal.

Instead, they awarded a Margaritaville trademark for the development of another tourist destination on Paradise Island — a $250 million, 150-room resort on 6 acres with a spa, luxury condominiums, an 800-space garage, marina, restaurant and water park, according to Boss’ lawsuit filed Friday in Palm Beach Circuit Court.

Boss sued all three Margaritaville LLCs as well as Margaritaville Development president James Wiseman.

Margaritaville declined comment through a spokeswoman.

Boss said the new Bahamian resort will rise two miles from its existing venue and Margaritaville has discouraged Boss from moving ahead with a second venue at a promising location.

Boss, which opened its first restaurant in the Bahamas in 2015, has the right to open a second Bahamas venue within five years after the first location was open for a year, according to the complaint.

After Boss met with a Margaritaville representative in spring 2017 to show a prospective second location at the Port of Nassau, a busy cruise ship port, Wiseman called Boss to suggest a ” ‘slow play’ moving forward with the proposed location … because Margaritaville had ‘something better in that area for Boss,’ ” the lawsuit alleges.

This turned out to be a stalling tactic so Margaritaville could license its trademark to the resort developer, Boss’s attorneys, Todd Levine and Adam Steinberg, argue in the complaint.

Levine is a founding member and partner at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Miami, and Steinberg is a partner with The Law Offices of Adam J. Steinberg in Fort Lauderdale.

Wiseman and Boss representatives had a good working relationship, and Boss believed Wiseman was going to help with a second location, according to the complaint…

Continue reading in the Daily Business Review

The Real Deal: JMH Development must turn over remaining interest in 300 Collins: judge

The Real Deal features Kluger Kaplan’s recent win on behalf of PSB Collins LLC.  

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A judge has ordered Jason Halpern’s JMH Development to turn over its remaining interest in Three Hundred Collins to its silent partner, amid ongoing litigation.

The five-story, 19-unit boutique condo at 300 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood was completed this summer, and has just one unsold unit remaining: Penthouse 2 priced at $5.3 million. JMH must turn over that unit and any cash in the bank to its partner PSB Collins LLC, led by Dhruv Piplani, according to an order signed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas.

Piplani’s attorney Marko Cerenko said Piplani’s entity is also entitled to the cash proceeds of the $1.6 million sale of unit 3-A, which was purchased just before the lawsuit went to trial last week. The value of the total owed to Piplani’s entity is estimated at $6 million to $7 million, said Cerenko, a partner at Miami-based Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine…

Continue reading in The Real Deal. 

The Real Deal: Trump Doral to pay tenant’s legal fees tied to lease dispute

Doral resort will have to pay more than $2.5M in legal bills.

Trump National Doral Miami is running up an expensive tab in a long-running legal war it’s losing against Florida Pritikin Center, a rehabilitation spa leasing space at the luxury resort.

On Wednesday, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a 2017 final judgement ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez against Trump Endeavor 12, the entity that owns the Doral golf resort managed by Donald Trump Jr…

…By the time the bills are tallied up, Trump Endeavor will have to pay more than $2.5 million in attorney fees in its failed bid to evict the spa from a 40,000-square-foot-space at Trump Doral, said Pritikin’s lawyer, Philippe Lieberman, a partner with the Miami firm Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen and Levine.

“The exact amount will be determined by Judge Rodriguez in the next couple of months,” Lieberman said. “Our client is very happy. He is looking forward to putting this behind him and recovering his legal fees from Trump.”

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Trump Endeavor attorney Bruce Rogow did not respond to a request for comment.

Pritikin sued Trump Endeavor in June 2015, alleging breach of contract. According to court documents, Pritikin had a lease with the prior owner dating back to 2009 that was still in effect when Trump Endeavor purchased the golf resort in bankruptcy court three years later. The company affirmed the lease and Pritikin was forced to remain while the Trumps renovated the property, the lawsuit states.

“At that point, the property was in disrepair and bad condition,” Lieberman said. “Trump would not reduce the rent or allow Pritikin out of the lease. When the lease was up for renewal, it coincided with when construction was coming to a close. Trump wanted to bully us off the property.”

Pritikin’s lawsuit claims that Trump tried to increase a special room rate for Pritikin clients by 583 percent, would not replace worn-out refrigeration units in the spa, attempted to reject the tenant’s option to extend the lease until 2019 and tried to improperly terminate the agreement. “We resisted,” Lieberman said. “We pushed back.”

In February 2015, Rodriguez granted Pritikin declaratory relief, which forced Trump Endeavor to honor the lease, as well as decrease its clients’ room rates by 15 percent. The developer won a subsequent appeal to the Third District Court, which sent it back to Rodriguez to provide a better explanation as to why he ruled in Pritikin’s favor, Lieberman said.

“He did that in 38-page judgement filed in June 2017,” Lieberman said. “Trump appealed that judgement and the appellate court ruled in Pritikin’s favor this Wednesday.”

Read the full story in The Real Deal. 

Miami Herald: Trump loses appeal to Doral golf resort tenant whose rent he tried to raise 583 percent

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A Trump-owned company that operates the president’s Trump National Doral Miami golf resort has been ordered to pay the legal fees of a spa owner whose rent Trump attempted to raise fivefold during a lease dispute in 2013…

…Alan Kluger, a Pritikin attorney, said Trump had planned to “build a billionaire’s club” and the spa did not match his vision for the resort.

“He did everything he could to force him out,” Kluger said. “He and his team just tried to bully Pritikin. They took outrageous positions, they threatened him. It was really unconscionable.”

golfcourseThe trial judge sided with Pritikin, and on Wednesday Miami’s Third District Court of Appeal agreed.

Kluger and his colleagues are seeking $2.5 million in compensation for legal fees. The appeals court granted Pritikin’s motion for attorney fees — and added attorney fees for the appeal process as well. Pritikin attorneys are now working to set up a September hearing to determine an exact number.

A spokesperson for Trump Hotels did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The overwhelming credible and substantial evidence reflects that Trump Endeavor undertook a series of pretextual maneuvers in an effort to force Pritikin to vacate the leased premises,” Circuit Court Judge Rodriguez wrote in his 2017 ruling siding with Pritikin. “The court finds that Pritikin is the prevailing party on the significant issues of the case and is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.”

Kluger said Trump Endeavor has a right to file a petition with Florida’s Supreme Court but that it was unlikely to go through.

“For all intents and purposes, all their appellate rights are done,” said attorney Philippe Lieberman. “Now all that needs to be decided is the amount of legal fees that Trump needs to pay Pritikin, and that number is going to be substantial.”

Read the full story in the Miami Herald.