The Orlando Law Group

Litigation

Our attorneys have extensive experience in a wide range of civil litigation, including actions involving personal injury, insurance, professional liability, real estate, construction, and more. While we believe in settling when it is appropriate for our clients, we also believe that there are some cases that should not be settled. Our lawyers can handle all aspects of litigation.

Our attorneys have past experience practicing insurance defense. They defended hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, and surgery centers in medical malpractice claims. They also defended insurance companies regarding slip and falls, product liability and car accidents. Because of this experience, we know how insurance companies think. Additionally, we have the experience to effectively and aggressively litigate your case.

It is important to remember that there are statutes of limitations that apply to personal injury cases. This means that there is a time limit in which you can pursue a lawsuit. For this reason, it is recommended that you contact an attorney without delay to protect your right to file a lawsuit.

Service Offerings:

  • Appellate
  • Business Disputes
  • Landlord Tenant Litigation
  • Mortgage Foreclosures
  • Construction Litigation
  • E-Discovery & Information Management
  • Employment Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Products Liability
  • Premises Liability
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • State & Local Litigation
  • Trusts, Estates, Guardianship & Other Fiduciary Litigation

Meet Your OLG Attorneys

Jennifer A. Englert

Jennifer A. Englert
Attorney & Managing Partner
(407) 512-4394
jenglert@theorlandolawgroup.com

Kimberly E. Hosley

Jeffrey W. Smith

Sophia Dean

Wendy Hernandez O’Donnell

Wendy Hernandez O’Donnell
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
wodonnell@theorlandolawgroup.com

Nicole Rofé

Jarrod Etheridge


Jarrod Etheridge
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
jetheridge@theorlandolawgroup.com

Marsha Summersill


Marsha Summersill
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
msummersill@theorlandolawgroup.com

Erika De Jesus


Erika De Jesus
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
edejesus@theorlandolawgroup.com

M. Florence King


M. Florence King
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
fking@theorlandolawgroup.com

Dan Sanders


Dan Sanders
Attorney
(407) 512-4394
dan.sanders@sanderslegalsolutionspllc.com

Estate Planning

You’re proud of the estate you’ve built up. You’re proud of the home you call your own. The treasured belongings you’ve accumulated. The cash assets that you’ve worked so hard for. The investments that you tend to daily, and the business interests that have come to define your professional life. Estate Planning matters so much to you and your legacy. Your possessions should be dealt with appropriately after you’ve passed on. But how can you do this, when you’re no longer here to distribute your assets among your nearest and dearest?

We can help you with all aspects of Estate Planning.

Estate Planning is the process of creating legally enforceable documents that determine how your assets will be distributed upon the event of your death. This includes who inherits, which assets and how they are distributed. It also determines who controls the distribution of assets once you’re gone and encompasses tax considerations that must be incorporated into these documents, to ensure that your loved ones get the best possible deal, and as little of your estate as possible is subsumed by taxes.

I’ve already made a Will, isn’t that enough?

Making a Will is extremely important to ensure that you do not die intestate — meaning that the state controls what happens to your assets after you die. Nonetheless, there’s more to proper Estate Planning than making a Will. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’ve lived in the state of Florida your whole life, you’re likely aware that many people from out of state choose to move here in their later years. And it’s not just for the hot weather and the ceviche. Unlike other states, when Floridians die, their estate is very rarely subsumed by the estate. There are also no estate or inheritance taxes in the state of Florida.

Nonetheless, while living in Florida is advantageous in this regard, that doesn’t mean that your estate deserves any less than comprehensive and responsible planning.

That’s where we come in.  

As well as helping you to make a Will and nominate an executor for your estate, we can offer a range of other Estate Planning services.

These can help you to avoid disproportionate taxation, and ensure that your assets are dealt with as fairly and equitably as possible in line with your wishes. These services include…

Assigning Power of Attorney

While a Will can help you to distribute your assets after you’ve passed on, Estate Planning also means putting an infrastructure in place to protect your estate when you’re no longer able to do so yourself. Such as if you fall sick, or are diagnosed with a condition like dementia, which will affect your ability to make decisions.

When this happens, you will need to assign Power of Attorney to someone you trust. There are different kinds of Power of Attorney for different circumstances. For instance, if you know that you will be in the hospital for a limited period of time, you may wish to assign a temporary or Ordinary Power of Attorney. However, if you know that you will be unable to make decisions for the remainder of your life in the future (such as a dementia diagnosis), you will need to assign a Lasting Power of Attorney.

We can give you the support and advice you need in choosing someone to look after your estate when you will be unable to do so yourself.

If you fall ill, you may be unable to make decisions in your own best interests. However, due to the nature of patient confidentiality, your doctor may not be able to communicate directly with the person you have chosen to look after your best interests.

An advance directive is a legal document that specifies the kind of medical and personal care you would want if you should become unable to make your own decisions or communicate them to medical professionals.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be chosen to execute an advance directive, and this document is binding in the state of Florida.

Your advance directive allows you to specify:

  • Who can make and communicate decisions on your behalf.
  • Any circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged.
  • Any other wishes pertaining to your medical wellbeing that you are unable to communicate or decide yourself.

It also ensures that doctors can communicate directly with the person you have chosen.

Finding the right trust for your needs

There are many different kinds of trusts, and each serves a slightly different legal purpose. Some are designed to keep assets out of the hands of creditors, while others are intended to avoid probate court and incur tax advantages.

However, legal guidance is often needed to ensure that the right trust is selected for the client’s needs and to ensure that it achieves its intended purpose in terms of Estate Planning. We can advise on choosing the right trust to suit your specific needs, goals, and circumstances.

Validating Holographic Wills in your estate plan

If you have recently moved to Florida from out of state, you may already have a Will in place. However, if this is a Holographic Will, it may not be valid in the state of Florida.

A Holographic Will is completely handwritten and signed by the testator, but unless it has been signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses (both of whom must be in the presence of the testator and each other when signing), it is not legal in Florida. Even if it is valid elsewhere. We can make the arrangements to ensure that a Holographic Will is legally valid.

Why you can trust the Orlando Law Group

We understand that the matter of Estate Planning is a delicate and somber subject. Nonetheless, you can trust in our years of experience, our diverse legal expertise, and our steadfast dedication to our clients and our community.

For over a decade, we’ve helped Floridians of all kinds including individuals, businesses, and associations manage a wide range of legal affairs.

Want to know more about how our team can service your legal needs? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today

     Vacation Rental sites such as Airbnb have exploded in popularity recently, as they provide the experience of a home away from home with prices that often rival hotels. The United States alone has 660,000 listings, making it the Nation with the highest number of Airbnbs. While it may seem like a dream experience, how much do both vacationers, and hosts really know about what they are liable for and what they are protected from? What happens if you are the host, and something happens to the property because of the clients that decided to rent? Conversely, what happens if you are the vacationer, and part of the property becomes damaged based on prior conditions, but you are now being blamed? Airbnb readily makes promises of protection for both parties, but what true, legal armor do you receive when you agree to work with this company?

Who is AirBnb

     The vacation rental market has exploded in popularity recently as renters seek unique experiences in worldwide locations, all at the touch of their fingertips. Airbnb prides themselves on providing just that, and their process is streamlined to make it quick and easy to book. Their origins just so happen to be steeped in speedy resolutions. In 2008, Airbnb (Air Bed and Breakfast) was formed when a conference ran out of hotel space and the founders opened their home to renters in need. The company has come a very long way since then. Today, Airbnb boasts 750 Million all time arrivals, 7 Million Airbnb listings, and 220 countries with listings available. However, it is what Airbnb decides not to tell you that can be even more interesting and applicable to their services.

How Frequently Does Litigation Occur?

     One might be thinking, “Does Airbnb ever undergo complex litigation?” According to an article published by Bloomberg in February of this year, Airbnb has filed 11 lawsuits against an American city or state government since it was founded. It has appealed an adverse decision at least three times. The article states that half of those legal hurdles have occurred in the past two years. Not only this, but litigation against Airbnb has also risen, with the company being involved in 230 cases through the end of 2019. These ranged from video cameras in bedrooms to severe bedbug infestations and even a situation where a guest tossed a lit cigarette into the trash and burned the property down. As one would expect, Airbnb advertises themselves as being expeditious and user-friendly, but complications beg the question, “What protection does Airbnb truly offer?”

Host Protection

     Airbnb readily advertises two different programs to assist Hosts: Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance. The Host Guarantee provides protection for property damage to possession, units, or home, against a guest. It is important to note that this does not replace homeowners or renter’s insurance. The Host Protection Insurance program may cover hosts in the event of third-party claims of personal injury or property damage. Airbnb, however, has an extensive list of exclusions to these programs that are important to note.

  • anything related to mobile, aircraft, or auto equipment
  • assault and battery
  • Chinese drywall
  • communicable diseases
  • contractual liability
  • cross-suits
  • employment related practices
  • electronic data
  • distribution of material in violation of statutes
  • expected or intended injury
  • fungi or bacteria; exterior insulation
  • liquor liability
  • nuclear risks
  • pollution
  • product recall
  • sexual assault
  • watercraft
  • war intelligent

   That list is not indicative of all the exceptions included and any host should read into what they are not being covered for before hosting guests.

Renter Protection

     Traveling can be a stressful time for vacationers, so you should always know what will occur if the worst happens. One might assume that traveler’s insurance and Airbnb’s renter protection policies might contain similarities. Ultimately, Airbnb offers no protections that even come close to replicating traveler’s insurance. Airbnb does offer a 24/7 customer support line for reporting instances such as a wrong location listing, an incorrect number of rooms, unknown animals, and more. This comes nowhere close to offering comprehensive protection to a vulnerable individual on vacation.

     Should an incident occur where a guest could even begin to think about considering legal action, they may not be able to. In a recent case in Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals, Doe V. Natt, Airbnb argued that “the Does’ claims were subject to arbitration under Airbnb’s Terms of Service, which the Does agreed to be bound to pursuant to a “clickwrap” agreement they had entered when they first created their respective Airbnb accounts online.” The Court ultimately remanded the case for further decision, however, until that decision is made renters should be aware that any case they wish to bring, may be subject to Arbitration.

Go or No Go?

     You may be asking yourself if Airbnb is worth the risk from either perspective now. As Airbnb says, the best remedy is always to do your own thorough research first. This is very pertinent advice with any company you decide to work with, large or small. Understanding your legal protections from the beginning will set your mind at ease, and if something does go wrong, you will have a familiarity with where to begin. Check out reviews, photos, and guest experiences before booking. If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to ask them. More knowledge allows you to make the best possible decision for your property as well as your family and friends.

     Hosts should make sure to remove objects they are concerned about, as well as vet their homes for potentially dangerous areas. Ultimately, it is important to know that some protections are in place, but the best safeguard for your property and vacation is some good old-fashioned research. Having a law firm on your side, like The Orlando Law Group, for both property projection and personal injury, while also exercising caution as both a renter and host will put you in the best position.

Personal Bankruptcy

There is no question that the U.S. has a financial problem. The statistics are indisputable.  Americans carry an average personal debt of over $90,000. Many times, it’s through no real fault of their own. There are so many factors to consider. The cost of living continues to rise, and as it does so it is becoming easier for people to get credit when they may not have the means to cover their bills.

Additionally, with the unemployment rate skyrocketing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, times are difficult for many people, and that includes the struggle with finances. We’ve all seen the headlines about looming eviction rates and bankruptcy surges, but what those headlines won’t tell you is that for many, these issues are not on the horizon, but rather on their doorstep.

While some people tend to shy away from bankruptcy or think it is a negative thing, that isn’t the case at all – when it’s processed the correct way.

What is Personal Bankruptcy?

Personal bankruptcy is a legal process in which a debtor files with their local court system. As a result, the debtor’s personal assets are evaluated, and some may be sold in order to offer creditors a portion of what they are owed.

The process of filing for bankruptcy also creates something called an “automatic stay,” which means creditors are blocked from collecting your debts until the court proceedings are over. This can give you a bit of breathing room while your case is being reviewed.

Bankruptcy works differently depending on an individual’s financial situation and how the court sees it. In some cases, a financial plan may be worked out that better fits with your income and needs, so you can pay back your creditors at a different rate. Other times, your debt will be completely eliminated.

In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor will develop a plan based on their personal finances to repay their creditors over a fixed period of time.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

Consumers generally file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some people believe that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best way to go, but that is not always the case. Everyone has their own unique situation which should be analyzed by a professional to determine whether a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more appropriate. For example, if you do not have a lot of unsecured debt such as credit card debt or medical bills, but you have a home worth $200,000, a first mortgage of $210,000 and $75,000 on your second mortgage, and you want to keep your house, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be appropriate for you because you may be able to “lien strip” the second mortgage.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of unsecured debt such as medical bills and/or credit card debt, then Chapter 7 may be more appropriate for you. However, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made changes to the Bankruptcy Code, which makes filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy more complicated. To be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy there is a 2-part test. First, there is the “means test”. This subjects debtors to an income-based test. But if the debtor’s income is below the state’s median income, then the debtor is not subject to the means test. Additionally, debtors with primarily (more than 51%) business debts (including investment properties used as rental properties) may file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy regardless.

However, even if you pass the means test, you still have to pass a second test known as the “abusive test”. The United States Trustee or any creditor can move to have your case dismissed. The bankruptcy Court could dismiss your case if the Court finds that you have the ability to pay back a significant portion of your unsecured debts.

If you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 you are looking to liquidate your debt. You are able to keep some property and may have to let other property go. You can keep exempt property.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of reorganization. The debtor proposes a plan to pay his creditors over a 3 to 5-year period. Generally, the debtor keeps property and the creditors get less money than they are owed. However, the unsecured creditors must receive at least as much through the Chapter 13 plan as they would have received in a Chapter 7 liquidation.

The Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy

One of the biggest benefits to working with a bankruptcy lawyer well before filing is the knowledge about the process that professional counsel can share. Because there are time restrictions on how often you can file for bankruptcy, you’ll want to make sure you are in a position to get rid of the maximum amount of debt.

Also, it is essential to consider what might happen if your financial position changes between now and filing for bankruptcy. If your situation improves, should you back out of filing? If it worsens, should you file more quickly?

Working with an experienced attorney will help clarify the answers to those questions and give you peace of mind as you move forward.

Is Bankruptcy Right for You?

Unfortunately, bankruptcy has been stereotyped in a negative light over the last several years. While it certainly is something that should be used as a last resort to get out of debt, it doesn’t mean your credit will be ruined forever, and it isn’t something you should be embarrassed about. Bankruptcy exists for a reason – to help you get back on your feet.

If you are buried in debt, no matter the reason, and you’re not sure what else to do, bankruptcy could be your best option to get a fresh start with your finances.

Feel free to contact the Orlando Law Group for more information on our bankruptcy services and how we can go to work for you to start the process. Our years of expertise with bankruptcy law will make the entire experience as easy on you as possible, so you can focus on eliminating the debt from your life and starting over with your finances in a healthy and responsible way.

© 2020 The Orlando Law Group.