Three Questions with Todd Levine

Todd LevineTodd A. Levine is a Founding Member at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen and Levine. A highly experienced commercial litigator, Todd handles virtually all types of complex business disputes. His practice includes a strong focus on commercial real estate litigation, and he regularly represents real estate brokers, developers, lending institutions, buyers and sellers, investors, property managers, owners, contractors and subcontractors in disputes arising out of commercial real estate projects and transactions.

We recently sat down with Todd to discuss the changes in litigation over the last decade, the degree to which technology is shaping the practice and how his musical talents shape his everyday life.

We recently marked the 10-year anniversary of the financial crash on 2008 marking the beginning of the Great Recession. How has complex commercial litigation evolved over that time?

Whether the economy is in a recession or is exploding with growth, business disputes will always arise. The biggest difference between the litigation we see today and what we saw ten years ago is the type of disputes. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, we saw a lot of litigation over distressed assets, with individuals fighting for what was left over from the crash. In today’s more robust economy, we are seeing more ownership disputes as individuals seek a greater share of the profits.

There is a consistent buzz about how technology has and will continue to transform the legal profession. How has technology impacted your practice and where do you see it moving forward?

Over the last 20 years technology has improved our lawyers’ efficiency and productivity, allowing us to enhance our client service and more effectively analyze cases. The technology resources we use allow our litigators to find relevant case law in state, federal and international court, enabling us to more efficiently locate and discern necessary legal precedent. We also use tools that allow attorneys to better manage a large amount of document-based evidence, by creating a searchable database. Before these tools were available, it took litigators weeks or even months to go through the relevant case law, statutes and numerous documents in a case. Further, the attorney might have been only able to view a document once or twice before going to trial. Our lawyers can now comb through documents more efficiently and have more intimate knowledge of their contents.

However, while technology has streamlined the legal research and discovery process, artificial intelligence isn’t going to be a replacement for the trial attorney. Litigants still need to rely on the experience and expertise of their attorneys. For instance, a jury of human peers are not going to listen to two computers argue with each other about whose side makes more sense.

The Daily Business Review recently ran a profile on you about how your musical talents shaped your legal career. How has being an avid musician shaped your life in and out of the courtroom?

I’ve played the guitar since I was 10-years-old, along with playing some keyboard. Coupled with my analytical skills, my musical background has allowed me to tap into my creative side for clients and develop out-of-the-box approaches to solving complex problems. In my personal life, I have been fortunate to share my enthusiasm with my sons, who are both talented musicians and play guitar, bass and piano, and produce their own original compositions

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.

Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día: Las finanzas y el desamor: ¡Descubre cómo evitar que tu divorcio te deje en la bancarrota!

Kluger Kaplan’s Christina Echeverri explains what you can do to protect your finances during a divorce.

Una experta en finanzas y una abogada de familia nos explican que debemos hacer para que una ruptura de pareja no afecte tus finanzas.

Christina Echeverri Telemundo

Click here to view the full video. 

The Best Lawyers in America Recognizes Nine Kluger Kaplan Attorneys

BestLawyersLogo1The Best Lawyers in America© once again recognizes Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine for its legal expertise and excellence in its 2019 edition.

“We are thrilled that our team members have been recognized again for this great honor,” said Founding Member Alan Kluger. “It’s a testament to our dedication to the legal profession and affirms the stellar reputation our attorneys have earned through delivering outstanding client service while practicing with integrity and professionalism.”

The following attorneys were featured in this year’s list:

Untitled design (28)

Deborah S. Chames

* Family Law

 

Abbey L. Kaplan

* Commercial Litigation

* Entertainment Law- Motion Pictures and Television

* Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Bruce A. Katzen

* Commercial Litigation

* Securities / Capital Markets Law

 

Alan J. Kluger

* Commercial Litigation

* Family Law

* Litigation – Banking and Finance

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Todd A. Levine

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Philippe Lieberman

* Commercial Litigation

 

Jason R. Marks

* Family Law

 

Steve I. Silverman 5 years

* Commercial Litigation

 

Minneapolis, MN

Daniel N. Rosen

* Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 87,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and the publication has received almost 10 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 7.8 million votes were analyzed.

Anatomy of a Case: Kluger Kaplan Sets New Standard for Upholding Residential Real Estate Contract

Case: Diaz v. Kosch, Third District Court of Appeal of The State of Florida

Thanks to the arguments of Kluger Kaplan attorneys, Alan Kluger and Ashley Frankel, along with Scott Kravetz of Duane Morris, the Third District Court of Appeal of The State of Florida recently set a new standard for strictly upholding the provisions of the Florida Bar’s standard contract for real estate home purchases.

AJK High ResolutionBackground:

The case began in 2012 with a real estate transaction gone bad.  Coral Gables homeowners, David and Tiffany Kosch, entered an agreement with Miami attorney, Richard Diaz, to sell their home “as-is” for nearly $2.8 million.  The purchase agreement followed the standard form for a real estate contract established by the Florida Bar.

As part of the purchase agreement the sellers completed a disclosure statement affirming, among other things, that they had no knowledge of improvements constructed in violation of applicable building codes, without necessary permits, or with any open permits not closed with a final inspection to the property or the presence of toxic substances. The prospective buyer deposited $50,000 in escrow for the purchase with a further deposit of $235,000 due when the 10-day right of inspection and right to cancel period expired.

AFrankel232During the 10-day inspection/termination period, the buyer raised concerns regarding unpermitted renovations; however, they did not negotiate an extension of the inspection period or terminate the transaction. On the final day of the right to terminate period, the buyers deposited the additional $235,000 in escrow, per the agreement, but also threatened legal action against the sellers.

Shortly before the closing date on the purchase, the buyers terminated the transaction demanding return of the money deposited in escrow. The buyers also filed a lawsuit against the sellers and brokers asserting claims for breach of contract, conversion, fraud in inducement, fraud in concealment, negligent misrepresentation, and conspiratorial fraud, with a claim for punitive damages asserted as well. The buyers also alleged the property contained radon contamination requiring extensive remediation.

The Ruling:

The litigation over the failed sale was extensive, lasting more than four-and-a-half years during which the buyer filed multiple motions for punitive damages. Ultimately, Judge Eric Hendon of the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County issued a summary judgement in favor of the sellers, ruling the buyers did not properly exercise their right to terminate in the period allowed by the contract, and so were not entitled to a return of the money held in escrow. Additionally, the judge awarded the sellers attorneys fees in the case. In June 2018, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed Judge Hendon’s decision.

The court ruled that the allegations in the plaintiffs’ complaint were contradicted by the language in the “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase, which included non-reliance provisions. The court further ruled that the buyers could not attempt to get around these provisions by effectively creating a “conditional tender” of the second deposit, which would make the sellers liable for repairs, permitting issues and other circumstances.

Impact:

This was a landmark decision that reinforces the strict, but enforceable provisions in contracts governing residential real estate transactions. It affirms that purchasers and sellers must carefully review and comply with the letter of each provision in the Florida Bar’s standard form.

Parties in a home purchase must adhere to the wording of the “As Is” contract, which states that once a deposit is in escrow, the purchaser cannot change the terms of the agreement, and must either move forward or walk away. Purchasers are not allowed to create a “conditional tender” with a second deposit to reserve their right to purchase but hold the sellers liable for repairs.