In the litigious business climate of today, we respect that litigation is but one of many possible resolution options to consider. We believe in guiding clients toward the most efficient and cost effective issue resolution, counseling them on ways to avoid disputes and explore non-litigation alternatives. However, when dispute resolution is not achievable outside of litigation, we are prepared to go the distance. . .and we do quite often.
Shankman Leone represents clients throughout the country in arbitration, litigation and administrative proceedings focusing on claims relating to:
While representing and counseling clients in cyber security, data and information privacy, and network security by developing and drafting policies and procedures that comply with applicable rules, regulations and laws, we also have substantial experience leading and conducting audits and investigations involving the theft of confidential, proprietary and trade secret business information, electronic data and information, and corporate funds.
With an understanding that one size does not fit all, our extensive background in litigating non-competition, non-solicitation, anti-piracy and other restrictive covenants also provides us the opportunity to closely work with businesses to develop effective and enforceable restrictive covenants designed to protect their legitimate business interests.
We often find considered application of the law to the needs of the business can be the clear difference between immediate success and lengthy litigation.
Representing clients of all sizes, from large international businesses to local sole proprietors, and in a variety of industries across the country, gives us a close-up view of best practices from some of the smartest people in business. This unique experience works to our advantage in developing solutions to disputes. However, when a resolution is not possible, we are prepared to go the distance to successfully achieve our client’s business goals. Additionally, we often find ourselves serving as local counsel in Greater Tampa Bay for firms without a presence on the West Coast and in Central Florida. In serving as and working with local counsel, we are particularly sensitive to the importance of efficiently working with co-counsel within the scope of the relationship and to meet the client’s defined goals and budget.
Our litigation philosophy is simple, but likely differs from many in the industry for the following reasons:
Franchise, licensing, and distribution law are an evolving web of federal and state laws and regulations. Having experienced counsel with insider’s knowledge of that complex web is often a key difference between success and costly setbacks.
As a firm focused on all aspects of franchising, licensing and distribution law, regulation and litigation, Shankman Leone helps clients across the country navigate through all stages of the complex maze.
Specifically, we work with clients in all stages of franchise development and operation, including determining whether a franchising, licensing or distribution relationship is appropriate for their business; structuring the franchise, license or distribution system in compliance with all regulations, laws and statutes; developing and drafting franchise disclosure documents, franchise license and distribution agreements, as well as other agreements related to the operation of a business system; and
complying with registration and disclosure obligations.
We also work closely with franchise clients to develop strategic business plans and manage day-to-day disputes and pre-litigation efforts regarding default and termination issues. When a fair resolution is unable to be reached, we tirelessly represent our clients in litigation and arbitration matters involving audit disputes, under reporting of sales, failure to pay royalty and advertising contributions, and violations of post-termination non-competition and other restrictive covenants, as well as defending claims of fraud in the inducement, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, disclosure violations, encroachment, breach of contract, wrongful termination and tortious interference.
Clients often seek counsel from us on developing, drafting, reviewing and negotiating partnership, shareholder and operating agreements, leases, purchase and sale agreements, employment, supply and vendor contracts, non-disclosure, confidentiality and non-compete agreements, personal guarantees and other ancillary agreements.
Our firm is prepared to provide legal advice on all aspects of labor and employment matters impacting employers today. We work directly with employers and management personnel to identify creative solutions and strategies for matters impacting employees and employers in a variety of areas.
Union Avoidance Efforts and Defenses
Employers seeking to avoid union(s) organizing are best served by taking proactive steps to address and understand employee concerns. Our firm is well-versed in aiding management in identifying and addressing issues that frequently lead to union organizing efforts.
Even where a union claims to represent, or does in fact represent, an employer’s workforce, our attorneys can offer knowledge and experience in coordinating responses and defenses to proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board — including representation elections and unfair labor practice charges.
Collective Bargaining and Contract Administration
Our firm has substantial experience in negotiating and interpreting collective bargaining agreements on both the local and national level. We devise and implement negotiation strategies focused on obtaining contract terms that will work for you and your business. Once acceptable terms have been reached, we vigorously defend your rights under any collective bargaining agreement.
Wage and Hour Compliance and Defense
Federal and state wage and hour laws impose obligations on employers that carry stiff penalties if violated. From assessing an employee’s exempt status to determining the appropriate regular rate for overtime pay, our attorneys are skilled in evaluating pay practices, identifying areas of potential exposure, and working to identify solutions.
Where litigation is unavoidable, we work to obtain the most favorable outcome(s) possible for our clients— whether it be a swift resolution or vigorous pursuit of all available defenses.
Occupational Safety and Health
OSHA issues frequently arise unexpectedly and can involve significant injuries to employees. Our firm works with clients to create policies and procedures that attempt to avoid incidents altogether.
Although the best planning cannot eliminate all risk. We work with our clients to prepare a response plan to address the unexpected and are accomplished in navigating OSHA complaints and hearings where necessary.
Human Resource and Personnel Policy Development
Our firm has vast experience in crafting everything from single-issue policies to entire company handbooks. We routinely work with our clients to keep existing policies up to date based on new developments or changes in the law. Often, we offer counsel on employment decisions enabling employers to avoid litigation altogether or feel confident in the decisions they have made when litigation arises.
During our time representing employers and management in labor and employment law matters, we have discovered a few techniques that will reduce the risk of employment problems and help keep employers out of costly disputes and litigation.
To remain in compliance with Federal and State Labor Laws, employers should have standard written hiring procedures that follow federal and state requirements for applications, background checks, and permissible interview questions; update employment handbooks and written policies every two years; and conduct regular labor audits.
In addition to reviewing and drafting hiring guidelines and employment policies and conducting labor audits, our firm offers training seminars and articles on current labor and employment laws and developments.
Defense of Employment Discrimination Charges/Suits
Our firm represents employers accused of violating employment-related civil rights statutes and ordinances, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Equal Pay Act (“Lilly Ledbetter Fair pay Act of 2009”).
Our representation includes dealing directly with investigators from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), and the United States Department of Labor (DOL).
In matters not resolved at the administrative level, our firm handles the litigation and trials of cases filed in all Federal District Courts and state courts throughout the United States.
Family and Medical Leave and the ADA
Many employers covered by both the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), have been frustrated by the tricky interplay between the two Acts.
Often viewed as dealing with how the employer should handle some aspect of an employee’s medical condition—these Acts do so in clearly different ways. Because the ADA and FMLA are regularly consulted by employers? Or employees?, the human resources professional and business owner must be aware of how and why they treat employees with health issues so differently.
Our firm provides advice regarding an employer’s obligations under the FMLA along with its interplay with the ADA, and Florida’s workers’ compensation statute.
Class and Collective Action Strategy and Defense
Our firm has broad multi-state experience in defending collective actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and various state wage laws. We are experienced in both the defense and successful resolution of FLSA collective actions with experience in all phases of related litigation, including bench and jury trials.
We have strength in wage and hour class actions and have successfully defended companies throughout the United States in class and collective actions filed by employees for:
· Alleged unpaid overtime pay
· Record-keeping obligations
· Unpaid meal breaks, and
· Personal sick pay
Moreover, our Wage and Hour Team is highly skilled and experienced in developing strategies for defeating class certification on a procedural level, whether by directly addressing the claims of the named plaintiffs or challenging the class head-on. We are also accomplished in mediating settlements and evaluating – and minimizing – damage exposure in class and collective actions.