The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert P.L. are a team of commercial litigators in the South Florida area, and as commercial attorneys, a majority of the complaints that we find ourselves involved with regard one or both parties having committed some form of commercial fraud. These legal practices have almost become something of an afterthought for many attorneys as they are often included in cases regarding business contracts and other commercial related torts. This isn’t to say that there are not viable and strategic reasons for engaging in commercial fraud claims, but there are specific risk factors that can arise when simply accusing the opposing party of dishonesty. There are some basic concerns and contours regarding commercial fraud claims in Miami, the South Florida court system, and Florida law in general.
What is Fraud?
The term commercial fraud refers to violations of legality and deceptive practices committed by corporate executives for personal gain. Commercial fraud can take a variety of forms. Some concern misrepresenting statements to the public about the level of performance of their company to inflate the value of the stock or stimulate sales. Commercial fraud can also involve misstatements of income and taxes, as well as collusion, insider trading, executive perks, and the misuse of corporate property for personal gain. To put it plainly, commercial fraud is the legal term for any king of fraud that occurs within a corporate environment, generally by the action of a corporate executive.
Fraud occurs when a party has been intentionally lied to by another party regarding something that was relied upon to the detriment of the accusing party. In South Florida court (or any court for that matter) the burden of proof regarding commercial fraud claims in Miami is centered on these elements. If a legal team is unable to prove that these facets occurred, there will not be a positive resolution in the case.
Why Commercial Fraud Claims are so common
Fraud claims provide variable advantages over other commonly sourced commercial disputes. Fraud claims can allow one party to skirt the terms of what would otherwise be an enforceable contract. In commercial litigation, this can have a heavily tactical advantage. For example, if a contract contains limitations on damages, or require the concerned parties to arbitrate their dispute in an inconvenient location, assertion that a party was introduced into the binding contract in a fraudulent manner can allow the party to avoid limitations contained in the contract in question, achieving an advantageous position during the litigation.
Another reason for enacting a commercial fraud claim in Miami concerns the idea that the owners and corporate heads of commercial entities are untouchable in court. In a majority of cases regarding commercial and corporate entities, the solution is to sue the entity for compensation to counteract your suffering. However, if the entity has no money or assets, the suing party is out of luck, and what is known as the “corporate veil” prevents the collection of any of the personal assets of the owners or operators of the aforementioned entity. The solution to this circumstance is to assert that the owner or operator personally made fraudulent representations that led to damages. In this situation, the owner or operator can be taken to court and held liable for the loss.
The third reason for the commonality of commercial fraud claims in Miami regards when a case is resolved. Once a party has prevailed and obtained the judgment they were seeking, the judgment is not ordinarily dischargeable through bankruptcy. However, when a case concerns contract or tort claims, the opposing party can engage in bankruptcy and discharge any judgment that is obtained, leaving the winning party with little to nothing of value to show for their efforts. The counteraction to these circumstances is to obtain a judgment out of a commercial fraud claim. When a case is ruled upon regarding fraud, a bankruptcy court has no power to discharge the judgment.
The final reason that parties frequently engage in commercial fraud claims in Miami is due to their effectiveness against publicly traded organizations. Fraud claims against publicly-traded organizations are reported to the SEC. This threat of report can be strategically advantageous during commercial litigation and encourages the accused entity to settle the claim swiftly to avoid the negative impacts on their reputation, and the value of their stock.
Commercial Fraud Claims Attorneys
Any form of fraud is a very serious issue, and any case regarding fraud can have grave circumstances for either party depending on the outcome of the case. If you have experienced a form of fraud, contacting an attorney early on in the development of a lawsuit is vital to a positive resolution in the case.
The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert P.L. are a team of commercial litigators with a vast amount of experience with commercial fraud claims in Miami and all over South Florida. We have successfully obtained millions of dollars for clients while defending their right to compensation in court and achieved numerous positive outcomes in fraud cases. Paul Humbert is an experienced commercial litigator who has represented numerous clients in commercial lawsuits regarding a variety of contractual and tort issues.
When facing a commercial fraud case on either side of the negotiating table, a positive judgment in your favor necessitates a qualified commercial litigator. For more information regarding commercial fraud claims in Miami and for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact one of our legal representatives today!