- Commercial Disputes
- Contractual Disputes
- Shareholders Disputes
- Shareholder Derivative Actions
- Real Estate and Title Disputes
- Illegal Towing
- Landlord-Tenant Disputes
- Construction Litigation
- Consumer Finance Litigation
- PACA Administrative Actions
- Seed and Agriculture Litigation
- Condominium Association Law
Commercial DisputesSmall and Medium businesses face, just like consumers, abuse or unfair treatment from bigger, unscrupulous businesses. When this happens, it is important to take swift action first, to reduce damages, and second to put the other party on notice; to send a strong message. It is important that as a business you are protected from abuse by other businesses by a competent lawyer. We have represented dozens of small businesses in commercial disputes in mediation, arbitration or when necessary, litigation. It is important that you rely in an experienced attorney that can navigate the ever-difficult legal world for your business. At Ayala, we not only have the expertise and team to take your case all the way through trial, but we are passionate about small businesses and that passion inevitably energizes the service we give you, making us more active, efficient, and resilient lawyers for you. Contact us if you have a business dispute.
Contractual DisputesContractual disputes are time-consuming, expensive and unpleasant. They can destroy a prior long-term excellent relationship with a supplier, client, or related business. Sometimes however, there is no other option but to pursue legally the rights for you bargained for in your contract. We have many years representing small business owners and private individuals in contractual disputes. A few important things to review in your contract if you are thinking of legal action are: (1) arbitration clauses, (2) forum clauses, (3) choice of law (what law applies to your contract), (4) damages provisions, (5) non-competes, and (6) conditions precedent. At Ayala, we can help you evaluate your potential breach of contract case, or if someone has sued you, defend you.
Real Estate and Title DisputesSometimes, it is not a clear who is the lawful owner of real estate. Sometimes there are multiple owners of one single, indivisible property, and each of these owners’ rights are subject to conditions or things that need to occur before their rights on the property are valid. In the process, the answer to who is or are the rightful owners of a unit, can be obscured and with that, disputes arise. We have experience litigating complicated title disputes in court. Our real estate transaction practice coupled with our experience in litigation, makes us uniquely positioned to deal with situations in which someone else is making a claim of something you thought it was yours, or vice-versa.
Illegal TowingAnyone towing a vehicle in Florida without the consent of the owner must comply with the requirements of Florida Statutes Section 715.07. If you park and your car was towed when you came back, contact the local police department to report the vehicle as missing. Local law enforcement will be able to tell you whether your vehicle has been towed and, if so, which towing company towed the vehicle and where your vehicle is stored. If your vehicle was damaged in the towing process, you may recover the costs to repair your vehicle. The Statutes also require that the towing company store your vehicle within 10 miles of the towing site. If your vehicle was taken to a storage location more than 10 miles from the location of the tow, your rights may have been violated. If you believe you were not parked illegally, contact our office.
Landlord-Tenant DisputesDisputes between landlords and tenants can occur for many reasons. On the tenant side, failure to pay rent is the most typical. On the landlord side, sometimes landlords fail to maintain the rented property appropriately, and in compliance with the rental agreement (whether it is oral or written). When the agreement is written the document generally details who is responsible for which repair, up to what amount, and the timing of the repair. In commercial leases, there can be disputes as to the CAM (Common Area Maintenance) amounts. Commercial Triple Net Leases (lease where then tenant pays taxes, insurance and maintenance) can complicate things even further and create disputes. At Ayala, we are experienced in complex landlord tenant litigation and can guide you and represent you throughout the process.
Construction LitigationConstruction usually involves a lot more than the developer or contractor that is in charge of the main project. It usually involves innumerous parties that need to work in a specific, precise, coordinated fashion for the project to be successfully completed. As one may imagine, the more parties the more susceptible to problems, errors, disputes the construction project is. When a problem arises, and becomes a legal matter, the dispute can be as sophisticated as the nature of the construction, the sophisticated parties involved and the high amounts at stake. At Ayala, we have successfully represented unpaid contractors and owners that suffered substantial damages as a result of defective or incomplete work. Our experience in complex litigation also equips us with the skills and knowledge required to deal with this type of cases.
Consumer Finance LitigationAfter the 2007-2008 financial crisis, financial institutions came to the spotlight for their deceptive and abusive practices. The result was an increase in regulations to protect consumers from ever powerful banks and lenders. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established new disclosures and the now common 3-day-rule before banks can close on a residential loan. The goal of the rule was to give the consumer, after reading the comprehensive disclosures, a chance to change her mind, in case there was a dramatic difference between what was offered and what was being given at the end—when the borrower was at risk of breach on the purchase sale contract. The disclosure has very specific rules and requirements that have to be strictly complied with and that can subject lender to liability. At Ayala, we have experience in both, lending transactions and consumer litigation. This combination puts us in a unique position to understand cases where consumers have been abused by misrepresentations or lack of proper disclosures by powerful financial institutions.
PACA Administrative ActionsThe Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) was enacted to promote fair trade in the fruit and vegetable industry. PACA protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices and helping companies resolve business disputes. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for administering PACA laws and regulations. AMS also offers a forum and procedures to buyers and sellers of produce to resolve their disputes before going to a formal court proceeding. At Ayala we have represented South American sellers of produce in PACA administrative actions in the U.S. Though administrative and expedited in nature, PACA disputes have a lot of similarities to court proceedings and in that sense, it is important to have an experienced litigation firm handling the dispute. Foreign South American companies specially, can benefit from Ayala’s familiarity with the realities of business practices in both: South America and the United States.
Seed and Agriculture LitigationThe federal government in Title 7 of the United States Code regulates the production, purchase and sale of agricultural products. Chapter 37 (the Federal Seed Act or FSA) of Title 7 specifically regulates the purchase and sales of seeds in interstate commerce. The FSA establishes very specific disclosure requirements for seeds sellers such as: the percentage of germination, the percentage of hard seed, the details of the tests performed on the seeds. State rules also impose other duties on seeds sellers. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject the seller to liability for damages. Seed purchasers are in a difficult position to predict the condition of the seeds but only after seeds have been seeded and geminated; when it is actually too late, and crops, lands, and business relations may have been destroyed as a result. At Ayala we have experience representing seed purchasers for damages caused by sellers’ failure to comply with the requirements of the FSA and other seed laws.
Condominium Association LawIn today’s Miami housing market, chances are you live in a building or community where there is either a condominium association or a home owner’s association (HOA). HOA’s and condo associations alike are required to comply with Florida Statutes regulating associations and with the condo documents (aka as the Declaration of condominium). In addition, associations have by-laws and rules and regulations they have to abide by. The condo documents and rules are like contracts that if breached may create some right of action for the condo owner or resident. At Ayala we have successfully represented many condo or HOA owners in legal disputes against their association when their action caused them damages. Our experience in commercial litigation also makes us uniquely positioned to take on condo associations that do not abide by their governing documents.
What Is a Class ActionA class action is a lawsuit in which, one or more plaintiffs sue one or more defendants on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated. Oftentimes the cost of litigation makes an otherwise meritorious claim not financially viable. To address this unfairness, the law created the class action rules. In a class action case, a lot of small cases can be consolidated into one single case as long as they meet certain requirements; usually related to how common the claims of the group are. A class action is the perfect mechanism to hold large corporation wrongdoers accountable. At Ayala we have filed several class actions against large corporations who in one way or another abused our clients. Learn more in our “Current Cases and Investigations” section below.
Consumer ProtectionAt Ayala we are passionate about protecting and representing the little guy. Consumers often feel powerless in the face of misleading promises and poor services from giant corporations. A phone company charges you an additional, previously undisclosed fee. A landlord cheats a small amount to each tenant on the Common Area Maintenance (aka CAM) fees. A large company discloses, without your permission your private data. Normally, the size of these claims would not justify the expense and attorney work required to prevail against large entities who, at the same time, have the best legal resources in the world. Thankfully, the law provides for the class action device, in which one aggrieved consumer can file a case for him/her, and on behalf of other similarly situated. Grouping cases makes them more financially viable. If you are in a situation where you feel you were wronged by a large entity and feel powerless, give us a call. We may be able to help you.
Current Cases and Investigations
American and Allianz Lawsuit and Investigation:
- We recently filed a lawsuit against American Airlines and Allianz Insurance in connection with the “travel insurance” they sell. Our lawsuit claims that when American and Allianz make the offer of insurance, they misrepresent the substance and nature of what the product actually covers, misleading consumers into massive purchase of an empty policy they never really intended to buy, while American and Allianz enrich themselves. If you have purchased travel insurance you may be able to recover your losses. Get a free and confidential consultation.
American Towing Lawsuit and Investigation:
- We filed a lawsuit against American Towing of Miami (American), a Miami towing company, alleging that American unlawfully forces consumers, at the moment of retrieval of vehicles, to sign a release from liability. Under Florida Statutes section 715.07(2)9, towing companies may not give “release(s) or waiver(s) of any kind which would release the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel from liability.” Routinely, towing company make you pay and sign release papers before consumers are even allowed in the lot to inspect their vehicles. If you were towed, and you were forced to sign a release of liability by a towing company, call us, we may be able to help. Get a free and confidential consultation.
Exclusive Residences Lawsuit and Investigation:
- We filed a lawsuit against a Miami company that trades as “Exclusive Residences.” Our lawsuit alleges that Exclusive Residences defrauds consumers by enticing them into non-existent hyper-luxurious vacation packages, all for the purpose of getting consumers into a 4-hour plus marathonic “sales presentation” where Exclusive Residences’ agents, through deceptive tactics, induce consumers into giving their credit cards so they can swipe them for as much as it can go through. If you have been exposed to this type of “sales presentation“ or the purchase of “timeshare vacation packages,” give us a call. Get a free and confidential consultation.
Mall of the Americas Lawsuit and Investigation:
- We filed a lawsuit against well known Miami Mall of the Americas located in the intersection of Flagler and the Palmetto express way. Our lawsuit alleges that, when the Mall decided to enter into a lease with Costco, it effectively deprived the rest of the tenants at the Mall of 1/3 of the premises and the walking traffic of that space—critical for tenants’ sales. Our lawsuit alleges also that, after the Mall entered into a lease with Costco, it lost interest in all the other tenants south of Costco and neglected the Mall in a way that it was not habitable or attractive for shoppers. The reduction of the mall premises and the neglect of the Mall space south of Costco, caused damages to the class members in the form of lost sales and in some cases, the lost of their businesses. If you are a tenant at a Mall, and believe your landlord is failing its duties, give us a call. Get a free and confidential consultation.
Get a free and confidential consultation
Adjustment of StatusAdjustment of status is a process, under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that allows those eligible to obtain permanent residency status (green card) while being physically present in the United States. A key requirement to qualify for adjustment of status is that the applicant must have entered the United States legally. He or she must have been “inspected and admitted” into the U.S., at a port of entry. The second key requisite is that the applicant must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa, which must be current. The best example of immigrant visas are those that a person obtains through an immediate relative petition—the petition of a U.S citizen spouse, adult son or daughter, or parent. We have many years of experience helping immigrants adjust status. Talk to an experienced lawyer at Ayala about your adjustment case.
Green Card Through Family PetitionWhen a family member makes an application for an immigrant visa for you, the application is approved, and the visa is available, then you could immigrate to the United States through a procedure called Consular Processing. USCIS the entity in the U.S. that approved your visa, will forward the approved petition to the consulate where the applicant is located. Once the consulate receives it, you will be notified to complete some other applications that can be complex and for which the assistant of an experienced lawyer is highly recommended. Moreover, a lawyer can guide you through the process in your home country, which requires medical examinations, interviews, documents gathering, and financial affidavits, among others. We have helped immigrants all over the world with their consular process. Talk to an experienced lawyer at Ayala.
Fiancé/Fiancée VisasIf you want to get married to your foreign fiancé/fiancée, you could bring her/him to the United States with a fiancé visa. Once in the United States, you have 90 days to marry your fiancé/fiancée and after that she/he can file for adjustment of status.
Business Visas (E, L, H)Doing business in or with the United States? Download our list of cross-border services.
- The E-1 “Treaty Trader” visa is designed for business owners, business managers, and employees who have to stay in the U.S. for prolonged periods of time to oversee or work for an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the U.S. and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for the E-1 designation. For a list of eligible countries see: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html
- The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows a person of a country that has a treaty of navigation or commerce with the U.S. to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of the E-2 Investor or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for an E-2 visa. To obtain the visa, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by the national of the treaty country. The foreign national must be seeking temporary entry. An E-2 treaty investor may be admitted solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital. What is “substantial” depends on the type of business. We generally recommend an investment of over $100k. E-2 investment of less than 100k are difficult because it is hard to show the reviewer that that investment will support the salary of the investor and then other employees. The US enterprise must be bona fide which means not for the purpose of just bringing the investor. At Ayala, we are very experienced with investment visas, calls us to help you with your case. We help investor from any place in the world.
- The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company, which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
Green Card Through InvestmentA person can also obtain a green card through a monetary investment. The most popular is the known EB-5 immigrant visa. The EB-5, is a visa that allows a foreign investor to obtain a green card if he or she invests $1,000,000 in a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers or, if the business will be created in a “targeted employment area” (TEA), (areas with high unemployment), then the investment can be $500,000. On this latter smaller investment, there are two options. One where the investor invests in its own business and he or she creates the 10 employment positions or, the second where he or she can delegate this task to a “Regional Center.” A Regional Center is essentially a business, approved by the government that, with the investor’s capital, will create 10 American jobs. If you are interested in obtaining a green card through investment, contact and experienced immigration lawyer at Ayala.
Green Card Through EmploymentThere are a few ways you can obtain a green card through employment in the United States. The options are closely linked to the applicant’s abilities, education, and knowledge. For example, under the first option (EB1-A Visa), you must be able to show extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Similarly, if you are an outstanding professor or researcher in an academic field you may be able to obtain an EB1-B visa. The third one, the EB1-C is a visa, available for outstanding managers and executives of multinational corporations. This last one requires that the executive have been employed outside the United States in the 3 preceding years prior to the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation, and that the executive is coming to the U.S. counterpart of that corporation in the same capacity. For more information on how to obtain a green card through employment contact an experienced immigration lawyer at Ayala.
AsylumIf you have a reasonable fear that your life or freedom will be threatened in your country because of something you cannot change in your life, then you might be able to apply for asylum. It is important that, if you are in the United States already, you apply within one year from entering the country. We can help you with the entire process from beginning to end.
Deportation DefenseDeportation is the process in which the U.S. government wants to send you out of the U.S. It is also known as “removal proceedings” because that’s how the process is labeled in the Immigration code or Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The process is administrative in nature and involves three parties: the immigrant, a government lawyer part of the Department of Homeland Security, and an immigration judge who is part of the Department of Justice. There are different types of deportation processes, but the most common one is the one when the government has given you an NTA—Notice to Appear. An NTA is like the charging document which states the basis as to why you are not legally in this country, or if you are why you are removable. If you are given an NTA, it is important that you call an experienced immigration attorney right away. There are due process rights you have during removal proceedings and that you need to protect. In other situations you may be removable but because of your circumstances there are reliefs available to you. Call a lawyer at Ayala for help.
NaturalizationNaturalization legal services involve a wide variety of cases. The simplest of cases (with which we’ll be happy to assist you too) involve the long time legal permanent resident who has rarely left the United States, has a spotless criminal history and is fluent in the English language. Then, it starts to get more complicated. Add a misdemeanor in your teen years, an arrest for which you were not charged, an actual criminal conviction where you served jail time, and you have a more complex case for which you need a good naturalization lawyer to tell you if you should even apply. Non criminal issues like unpaid taxes, or failure to pay child support can also prevent you from showing the required “good moral character.” In another set of cases, you may be already a citizen though you didn’t know you were. For example, if you were not born in the U.S., but your father was a U.S. Citizen at the time you were born, then you may be a U.S. citizen at birth and what you need is not to “naturalize” but to request a Certificate of Citizenship. At Ayala we have handled the most complex naturalization cases and we’ll be happy to help you obtain the ultimate immigration goal—Citizenship.
- The U visa was designed for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This is a powerful visa. If you were helpful to an investigation and the crime you were victim of qualifies, you might be eligible. Unless you have certain crime of your own for which there is no waiver, you could qualify for a waiver, which is filed simultaneously with the U visa application.
- The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.