Miami-based litigation firm Kluger Kaplan recently named Lisa J. Jerles Of Counsel at the firm. Jerles specializes in complex commercial litigation cases and family law matters. She has worked with local and national businesses to resolve disputes relating to contract disputes, real estate transactions, employment issues and shareholder derivative claims.
“Lisa is an outside the box thinker who is dedicated to working closely with clients to provide a high level of satisfaction,” said Abbey L. Kaplan, founding member of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. “Her clients always know that Lisa is willing to go the extra mile to be sure that their expectations are met.”
Jerles is noted for working closely with her clients to implement legal strategies that work with long term personal and professional goals. She combines her creativity, analytical skills and strong knowledge of the legal issues to craft winning strategies and arguments for her clients.
The problem of classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor took on new life in the latest lawsuit against ridesharing company Uber brought by several Tampa-based drivers.
How do they comply with murky laws and regulations about classifying workers in an era of so much change in the workplace?
“Certainly, there’s been an uptick in these types of lawsuits,” said Michael Landen, a partner with Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine, who specializes in labor and employment law. Landen, who represents a large transportation company whose drivers are suing for overtime pay, regularly counsels business clients on this issue.
“If there is a close call, we tell them to treat them as an employee to be safe or make sure people are working less than 40 hours a week,” he said.
In the Tampa suit, four drivers from Hillsborough County are seeking class action status in federal court in the Middle District of Florida against Uber Technologies Inc. They are challenging, “Uber’s uniform policy of willfully misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, when, in fact, each such driver is and/or was an employee of Uber,” they said in the suit.
There are other key factors to consider that will increase your courtroom effectiveness. Many lawyers decide against traveling to the courthouse to make their arguments. In fact, the Rules of Procedure provide that you can request the court to allow you to present your argument by phone if the hearing will prove to be inconvenient. I only have one rule for you to remember concerning this point: if you want to lose your motion, argue it by phone.
A lawyer’s stock and trade is his or her time. That rule applies evermore so for judges, so remember these few rules. First and foremost, respect the judge’s time. Don’t be late for hearings. Don’t keep the judge or even more importantly, the jury waiting. You’d be amazed at the number of times lawyers have walked into a 30 minute special set hearing five to fifteen minutes late.
Also, do you best to get your documents filed on time. Failure to do so could result in your motion or reply being stricken. And even if not technically stricken, your papers are unlikely to be read by the court before the judge makes her initial consideration. It’s also wise to provide a courtesy copy to the judge even though you have already filed your motions with the clerk. Although some judges prefer not to have paper copies, many still print out a copy to make notes or to have them handy when faced with a few minutes of down time.
Remember, it is all about perspective. Your perspective is standing before the judge. The judge, on the other hand, sits facing you, and what you don’t see is every other lawyer sitting in that courtroom, including the long line of attorneys waiting for you to finish your presentation (argument, rant, etc.). Think about it. The pressure rests on the judge.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez’s courtroom was packed with lawyers and reporters waiting to hear from the man on the witness stand: Celebrity developer and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“He is a very smart guy,” said veteran Miami litigator Alan Kluger. “He knew the record. He knew the documents. He is the classic ‘not always right, but never in doubt’.”
At issue was whether Trump acted legally in trying to force Florida Pritikin Center LLC, which operates as Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, out of 40,000 square feet of leased space at his Trump National Doral golf resort.
They contended that Trump National wrongfully tried to terminate Pritikin’s lease and refused to acknowledge that Pritikin properly exercised its first option to extend the term of the lease. They also argued that Trump National falsely asserted claims of lease defaults and violated a group room agreement between the resort and Pritikin when the resort tried to increase daily room rates by between 226 and 583 percent.
“It was a bet-the-company case,” Kluger said. “If Pritikin was found to either have not have properly extended or was in default, they would have been out of business just as the season was at its height. Hundreds of employees would have been out of work.”
“We are so proud to be part of such a spectacular event,” said Founding Member, Steve Silverman, “Big Brothers Big Sisters helps so many young people in the South Florida community and we are delighted to help them in their fundraising efforts.”
Kluger Kaplan attorneys and their spouses attended the spectacular event, which was capped off by fireworks on Biscayne Bay.