Daily Business Review: Litigation Departments of the Year — Small Firms

By Catherine Wilson

Daily Business Review

The Daily Business Review is recognizing litigation departments at small law firms with fewer than 70 attorneys in Florida for their powerhouse practices as part of the annual Professional Excellence Awards.

Many firms have carved out courtroom specialties serving major clients and government agencies, and a select few have been chosen for their noteworthy litigation achievements in 2018.

Awards will be presented to the honorees at a recognition event set May 23 at the Rusty Pelican in Miami.

REAL ESTATE-SMALL FIRMS: KLUGER KAPLAN

The 10-year-old Kluger Kaplan litigation boutique distinguished itself in an assortment of hypertechnical real estate cases in 2018.

When the joint developers of the 19-unit boutique condominium at 300 Collins Ave. fought for control of the five-story building in Miami Beach’s resurrected South of Fifth neighborhood, Kluger Kaplan attorney Marko Cerenko succeeded in enforcing a buy-sell reverse option for his client, PSB Collins LLC, led by the Goldman Sachs’ youngest partner, Dhruv Piplani. Developer Jason Halpern’s JMH Development refused to surrender the property until Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas ruled for PSB last October.

Kluger Kaplan’s Alan Kluger and Josh Rubens, along with Todd Legon of Legon Fodiman, represented the minority owner of Miami Beach’s Seagull Hotel in obtaining a forced partition of the property and the $31 million sale of the beachfront hotel in January 2018 after 14 months of litigation.

The Third District Court of Appeal last August affirmed a decision in favor of Florida Pritikin Center LLC and its long-term lease at the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort. Kluger and Philippe Lieberman maintained soon-to-be President Donald Trump wrongly tried to force the center out of its leased space and out of business.

The appellate court last June also affirmed a decision favoring the sellers represented by Kluger and Ashley Frankel, along with Scott Kravetz of Duane Morris, in a $2.8 million home sale contract. The decision strictly upheld the termination provisions of the Florida Bar’s standard contract for real estate home purchases.

The founders of the 28-attorney Miami law firm sought to build a strong niche practice that would complement rather than compete with full-service firms. In the process, the firm has turned some previous adversaries into clients.

Daily Business Review: Q&As With DBR’s 2019 On the Rise Honorees

The Daily Business Review recognizes attorneys with On the Rise awards for outstanding work early in their careers.

By Catherine Wilson

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LINDSAY HABER

Title: Partner

Experience: Kluger Kaplan, 2011-present

Education: Nova Southeastern University, 2010; University of Florida, 2006

What drew you to a career in law? The ability to use my undergraduate journalism degree with a career that would continuously keep me on my toes.

Have you set a specific goal that you want to achieve in the next year? I recently achieved my No. 1 work goal for the past several years of becoming partner at Kluger Kaplan in January.

What has been your proudest career moment and your biggest hurdle? Proudest career moment: Helping my client, an Italian citizen, get his children back to Italy.  His wife, also an Italian citizen, had brought their Italian children to Miami for a summer vacation and refused to return the children to their home in Italy for the upcoming school year. Biggest hurdle: When I first started, building my confidence when arguing against senior attorneys in the courtroom.

Where do you fit on a 1-10 work-life balance scale with 10 being nirvana? Please explain. 7, There is an ebb and flow when it comes to work-life balance, especially when we are all continuing to push for professional success.  I have started using my work calendar to plan not just work, but my personal life as well. So that I can try and make time for myself and my family and know how to plan each day successfully around both.

What is the top quality that you’ve used to succeed in the profession? Self-awareness. I am a litigator, part of a great law firm, and practice specifically in family law. To handle the hectic days that come with all of that, it takes more than just understanding the law. It takes, patience, understanding, and most of all, self-awareness. Knowing your strengths as well as your shortcomings helps me within my law firm as well as with my clients.

Who is your favorite mentor and why? Alan Kluger. He has allowed me to grow as a lawyer over the nearly 10 years at his firm: first as a summer associate in law school, then as a lawyer, and now as a partner at the firm. Alan has given me opportunities that must young lawyers could only dream of. I am thankful for the challenges he has given me and pushing me to be a better lawyer.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? You know the law, now go with your gut!

What trends are you observing in the profession that you’re excited about? The way technology and remote connection has changed one’s ability to work away from the office desk. I think this has and will continue to be a big game changer for attorneys.

What is the greatest challenge you see for the legal profession? Technology. It has allowed emails, text messages, phone calls and even FaceTime to replace in-person meetings. Technology can be a double-edged sword!

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … I don’t really know! I like being a family law attorney.

Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine Names Lindsay Haber as Partner

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 5.34.45 PMMIAMI – January 17, 2019 –Preeminent litigation firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, is pleased to announce that Lindsay Haber has been elected to the firm’s partnership. Previously, Ms. Haber served as an Associate in Kluger Kaplan’s Family Law Group since joining the firm in 2011.

Ms. Haber focuses her practice on family law disputes, including divorces, child custody issues, domestic violence and preparations of prenuptial agreements and paternity disputes. Beyond her national practice, she has handled international domestic issues, including a kidnapping that crossed borders.

“Over the years, Lindsay has shown dedication, expertise, persistence, and an understanding of how to provide outstanding client service and counsel. We are lucky to have her continue to grow under the Kluger Kaplan brand.” said Alan J. Kluger, a founding member of Kluger Kaplan. “Today’s announcement of Lindsay joining the firm’s partnership is another milestone in our firm’s growth and underscores the strength of our rising talent.”

For the last three years, Ms. Haber has held the position of a Director on the Board of the Broward County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section where she most recently assisted in organizing its first-annual “Law-LaPalooza” Bench and Bar Conference in December 2018. She is also a member of the Broward Matrimonial Lawyers Association. Her past leadership roles include The Network Rush Hour Chair in 2012-2013 for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) Membership Committee Chair in 2011-2012. She has also presented to national industry groups concerning timely topics related to family law.

Prior to Kluger Kaplan, Ms. Haber interned for Legal Aid of Broward County. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida, and attended Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, where she graduated summa cum laude with her Juris Doctorate degree. During this time, she was also the submissions editor of Nova Law Review, President of Phi Alpha Delta, and Vice President of Teams of the Nova Trial Association.

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About Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L.

Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. focuses on complex, high-stakes disputes across a broad range of disciplines and industries, including all aspects of business and corporate litigation; real estate related litigation; intellectual property litigation; employment litigation; securities and financial fraud; corporate governance; bankruptcy related litigation and debtor and creditor’s rights; appeals in state and federal courts; professional liability; intellectual property disputes; class actions; and complex matrimonial, probate and trust litigation.  The firm’s veteran litigators have served as lead class counsel in federal multi-district litigation and trials in federal and state courts throughout the country.  The firm has offices in Miami, Boca Raton and Minneapolis.

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

KKSL Welcomes New Associate, Mayda Nahhas

The KKSKL team is proud to announce the addition of Mayda Nahhas to our business litigation practice. Read more below about Mayda and the experience she brings to the firm and its clients.

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 9.08.19 PMMayda earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law, where she was consistently in the top 3% of her class, made the Dean’s List every semester and graduated Summa Cum Laude. While in law school, Mayda received a concentration in intellectual property, technology and cybersecurity law, served as Goodwin Alumni Editor of the Nova Law Review, was a Trial Advocate of the NSU Trial Association and founded the Nova Fashion Law Association.  Prior to law school, Mayda received a Bachelor of Science degree from Barry University.