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

The Pathway to Citizenship

What does it take to be a citizen of The United States of America? For many, being born into their citizenship means that the process was not complicated; however, for the multitude that are striving to attain it, the pathway to citizenship can feel daunting. These individuals, many times, have very real stakes involved in their case. They have a life here in the United States they maintain or are planning to begin a life here, and they do not want to sacrifice that opportunity and start over somewhere new.

One of our areas that we practice here at The Orlando Law Group is Immigration Law, and we are always surprised to see how much conversation is being had on the topic of immigration, but never much about the actual laws involved. Often, the process only feels daunting due to the fact that so little is known about what goes into getting your citizenship here in this country. For this article, we wanted to ask Nicole Payne, our attorney who has experience handling immigration cases and is very passionate about immigration law, her perspective on the pathway to citizenship. She recently helped a client naturalize and wants people to understand – the American Dream is not dead.

How did you get involved with Immigration Law?

I always say I did not choose immigration law. Immigration law chose me, and that’s because right out of law school, I started my own law firm, and I kind of had to take what came in the door. I speak Hebrew fluently, and so I was getting a lot of calls from the Israelis in the community who heard that there is an immigration attorney who speaks Hebrew, so they felt comfortable reaching out to me to help them with their cases. So I got into it at first because I was getting the calls. I took one or two cases to see how I would like it. I loved it and thought it was a very feel-good area of law for me, and so I just decided to go ahead and stick to it.

You recently helped a client gain citizenship. What was that experience like?

So usually, the clients who I’m helping get citizenship have been my clients for a long time because citizenship is the last step that is part of a very long process – years and years of different milestones along the way that we have to keep working towards and getting approvals for. So when you get to that citizenship we’re at the finish line and so excited to cross it. The clients applying for citizenship are usually ones I have built up a relationship with, so it’s extra special to me.

Even if it’s a new client, it’s very monumental. It’s a big deal to become a citizen of the U.S. This is what everybody’s goal was when they first came here, and it opens up a lot of doors for them. It’s always a great feeling, and I know my clients are very happy as well, which makes it even better.

What are some factors that you believe stop people from progressing or coming to you for help?

I think that there might be some fear involved. I think people are afraid that they might not pass the English test because they might feel like their English is not so good. They may be afraid of the civics history test. They’re trying to put it off because they are afraid that they’re going to fail the test. Other factors may include financial reasons. They don’t know which lawyer to hire and they’re just kind of comfortable where they are because they have their green cards and they’re able to work and they’re able to travel. They may be wondering what’s really the point in getting the citizenship, even though when you have your citizenship, it opens up a whole world of possibilities that you weren’t able to do before. For example, voting, having a U. S. Passport, not risking the chances of deportation if you were to get arrested.

What are some detrimental conditions that can be caused by waiting to talk to you?

I’m sure people know just from watching the news, but immigration laws change daily, so you could have a law that changes overnight that really jeopardizes you. It could be, you know, if you are afraid of taking that test well, they just changed the law that makes the test harder or the fees have increased.

You mentioned recently in a social media post that the American Dream is not dead – what did you mean by this?

I work with people from all over the world. These people have it really rough in their home countries, and all they want to do is come here, have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and for their families. I watch these people work harder than anybody else that I know. They are working ten times harder because the American Dream is incredibly meaningful to them. So to me, that’s the American dream. It’s still very much people who are immigrating here and having more opportunities to have a better life.

When people complain about their lives here in America, I really wish that I could give them a different perspective because the immigrants that I know are so grateful for that American dream.

What are some common pitfalls you believe individuals fall into that can cause complications with getting their citizenship?

Okay, I’ll give you the most recent example is we just had an election. There’s a lot of false information out there as to whether you’re eligible to vote in election or not, and there are people who are getting terrible advice that if you are a lawful permanent resident, you can vote in a presidential election or any election. You absolutely cannot, and it’s a disqualifier for citizenship.

So right now we’re seeing a lot of that where people who have been here and have done everything that they needed to do, went through the entire legal process to come here legally and work on their path towards citizenship so they can provide this life for their family. Now they are not able to naturalize. They can’t get their citizenship because they were told some false information. That’s the biggest pitfall I’m seeing right now. People don’t really know who to trust, who to believe and there is an abundance of misinformation out there.

Another pitfall I see when it comes to citizenship is people who try to do the cases themselves and don’t submit the required documentation. They are not putting their best case forward, and it could result in major delays in their case. What would normally take under a year now is taking much longer.

What would your advice be to anyone reading this and wondering how they will begin the process?

Well, there is one easy way, and that’s just to consult with the expert like we were just talking about. You know, an expert’s advice is so invaluable. I make it really easy for my clients. I don’t want the client to stress. I don’t want them to worry. I just want them to have a very easy process where I tell them everything I need. I’ll easily lay it out on a piece of paper of what I need from them. Along as I have their documents compiled, I can put everything together, and all we have to do is get them to review. I like to have the client trust me that I will take care of everything, and that they don’t have to worry about a thing. If someone is reading this and needed advice on how to begin, I would say give me a call.

What is the difference between an immigrant petition and non-immigrant petition?

Simply put, a nonimmigrant petition is one that does not lead to citizenship. It’s for people who are here temporarily. An immigrant petition is one that can be adjusted from their current status of whatever that immigrant petition will result in, to become a lawful permanent resident, where you can then naturalized/become a citizen.

When and how can I apply for U.S. Citizenship if I am a lawful permanent resident?

It depends on how you became lawful permanent resident. If you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, no matter how you got it, you can become a citizen. If you’ve been a lawful permanent resident because you were married and are still married to a U. S. Citizen, after three years of being a lawful permanent resident, you’re able to become a citizen.  So it could be three years or five years, depending on how you got it.

What are some factors that can help my case when it comes to gaining citizenship?

This is something nobody really knows this coming into the country, but if you are a male and you are between the ages of 18 and 26 and you enlist in the military for the reserve – that is something that they ask for, and most often times people don’t do it. The attorney has to explain and justify this mistake that this person made by simply not knowing that it was a requirement of them. If the client has done it, then that’s really good.

Also, if your case is clean, where you don’t have any history of criminal arrests and you don’t have any taxes owed. Other than that, as long as you have the right documentation moving forward and you have been a lawful permanent resident for the required amount of time, then there aren’t really many issues as long as you’re able to go to the interview and pass the tests.

What would you say is one of the biggest myths when it comes to Immigration Law?

One myth that I can think of is some clients believe that showing up to a scheduled interview with an attorney is a bad look. That is a myth. Clients think that if they have an attorney there that the hearing officer will think that they are hiding something. Perhaps that’s why they needed an attorney to come to their defense? That is, quite simply, just one big myth – the idea that an attorney’s presence could have a negative impact on your case.

Rather, it’s the opposite. If you are represented by an attorney and an attorney is present at the interview with you, then you most likely will only be asked questions that are in the scope of their right to ask. I highly suggest always having an attorney present at interviews. It’s not going to jeopardize your case in any sort of way.

Do you expect any changes to occur or see any trends happening in 2021 regarding Immigration Laws?

Well, there have already been a lot of changes in regards to DACA. We’re seeing a lot of positive changes for the DACA recipients and they’re able to now apply again, which hasn’t been possible for them for a long time. So hopefully in 2021 they will provide a pathway to citizenship for all DACA recipients. That would be huge. Do I anticipate that happening? I can’t say one way or the other because it depends on who’s president and whether it’ll pass through Congress. I’m hopeful and I know that there are a lot of lobbyists out there who are advocating for these people and I do get updates on it all the time. Hopefully, we do see a lot of positive changes.

What is one of the most gratifying parts of working in Immigration Law?

The most rewarding aspect is definitely the client’s satisfaction. They seem to be extremely grateful for the success that comes about from their immigration process. When they meet me, they don’t even know if they qualify for citizenship, permanent residency, or visas. The advice that I give them and a little bit of creativity to fit them into a certain category helps to prove their case.

It’s truly rewarding to get that approval because the clients are just so happy. It’s meaningful to them. I’ve had clients invite me to their wedding. I’ve had clients bring me their babies when their babies are born to meet me. It’s really a rewarding area of law and it makes a difference in my life and the lives of my clients.

As you can see, Nicole embodies what it means to work at The Orlando Law Group. We care for our clients because we know our job is tied to their life. Gaining citizenship is a process that begins and ends with commitment. The client must be committed to the journey, and they must take the time necessary to endure. It can be a nerving process, one that may have you feeling uncertain.

That is why we are here to assist. You need someone that has experience in immigration and that will help to persevere alongside you. Nicole and the attorneys at The Orlando Law Group not only are committed to their clients, but they begin by understanding and caring for their client’s story. So very often, that is the story of hope. Many individuals dream of building a life here in The United States and together, we help that dream become a reality. For those that believe, that are willing to work with us and stay the course, their American Dream will never die, and we will never stop helping them achieve their goal of citizenship. If you are in the process of becoming a citizen and have questions – do not hesitate to reach out. Our consultations are free, and a conversation with us can only help.

With the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, families have struggled more than ever – and this is evidenced in the strain put onto the housing industry. We live in a state where many maintain surmountable income through investment properties, taking advantage of a thriving rental market bolstered by tourism. It all works very well on a good day but consider the sudden halt many businesses and staple jobs have come to, and you have a market that for many cannot make ends meet.

Luckily on March 18th, measures were taken to begin to try and help the situation. A moratorium was placed that could legally protect effected renters from being evicted. This moratorium, and its consequent extensions have created a murky environment where many do not understand what applies to them, what the end-goal is, and what they will be responsible for when the moratorium is over. In this article, we want to take a deep and current dive into the state of foreclosures, evictions, and the extended moratorium so that you have a better understanding of how we are moving forward together.

The Extensions Continue

As of the writing of this article, the current extension to the moratorium on foreclosures and eviction processes will run until the end of the year, December 31st. Its purpose is to assist homeowners and renters that have undergone financial hardship because of job loss due to COVID-19. From a legal perspective, whenever we see language like this, we are always thinking of the word proof. Pay stubs and any written evidence that can back and prove that you lost your job due specifically to the pandemic will help strengthen your argument. As one would expect, there will be those looking to game the system, so hiring a lawyer to help you through the process is absolutely be a good idea.

In the lending world The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture have all extended their foreclosure moratoriums on guaranteed or insured loans covered under the CARES Act until December 31st. Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac also have extended their moratorium on foreclosures for enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages. All of this has one main goal, to help stave off sudden, major deterioration of the housing market. Protecting those who are paying rent alongside those who are paying loans off will hopefully allow for time to adjust, catch up, and recalibrate.

Payments Will Be Due

It is vital to understand the implications of these laws. Payments are not being waived. As a matter of fact, the true definition of moratorium is a temporary prohibition of any activity. It, essentially, is a legal pause button, extending but not absolving the money that you owe. If your finances have been impacted by the pandemic, then pivoting will be essential. For those who are impacted in a way that substantially cripples their finances, bankruptcy will have to be a consideration, and that is where hiring a lawyer could work to your benefit. Sophia Dean, legal attorney with The Orlando Law Group, notices a degree of similarity between now and when she helped individuals through the housing crash of 2008.

“When I would consult individuals who were facing immense financial strife, I would encourage them by helping them understand that they were beginning a journey, and that it would take time to get back to where they needed to be. Honestly, many nights I would lay awake with the weight of their situations on my heart, thinking of creative ways for us to build back a foundation.

My advice is do not wait. People make the mistake of thinking that a lawyer will charge you for every second you spend on the phone or in a zoom when the truth is quite the contrary. My consultations are free. A conversation with me is free, and I encourage those struggling to have that conversation and call me immediately. The most important action we will do during this time is make informed decisions.”

Sophia Dean, Attorney at The Orlando Law Group

The Impact On The Real Estate Market

It is a different time for those working in the field of Real Estate, given the changes brought to what was a market with a steady flow of inventory. With less families and individuals putting their property up for sale, prices have gone up. When inventory is low, the power goes to the seller. Lower interest rates have encouraged buyers to enter the market, and we anticipate buyer competition to be fierce, even throughout the pandemic. For an analysis of how COVID-19 has affected the market, we asked Michael Curtin, Commercial Broker of HIVE Commercial Realty his interpretation of the Real Estate Market.

“We’ve seen inventory go down on the residential side, but many commercial opportunities are still growing. With hardship always comes a shift in the market, and this will be no different. I anticipate that we will see many find difficulty making ends meet, and therefore are forced to turn over their real estate portfolios or alter their plans to accommodate the changes brought about by the pandemic.

My biggest recommendation right now – stay flexible with your goals and expectations. If you can grow your business in a creative way to accommodate social distancing, now’s the time to do it. Elevate your marketing and work hard to innovate. Learn the market so that when it begins to change, you can change with it.”

Michael Curtin, Commercial Broker at Hive Commercial Realty

Our Key Takeaways

We are beginning to circle back around to one year since protections were enacted for individuals impacted by the pandemic. With the extensions stretching to December 31st, owners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may pause, suspend, or reduce mortgage payments for 180 days. If that owner receives forbearance and decides to apply for a second delay, the maximum number of days they can receive forbearance is 360 days total.

This all hints at an unavoidable, eventual elephant in the room. When the eventual resumption occurs, there will be hardship. Many will struggle to make up the money owed, and there will be situations without easy answers. That is why hiring a lawyer and working with a law firm that has experience will be vital. We are poised and ready to help, to lay away at night coming up with options because we care for our clients. We see ourselves in them. We know they live in a complicated world that seldom takes into consideration their concerns. That is why you have us to help you navigate, no matter how murky the waters may seem.

CBD and Marijuana Laws

Why the Resurgence of Relevancy?

Digital content is being shared ALL the time. This transience of information has led to an influx of content being created and shared across all mediums. Once placed into the public domain, as easy as it may seem for us to disseminate an original work, it is even easier for someone to imitate it. This has sparked a new and revitalized relevance for copyright law and understanding how digital mediums have made it more difficult for us to determine who owns what. All of this leads us to believe that, in 2021 and moving forward, copyright could potentially be one of the biggest areas of law for a generation born on the internet.

The Stakes

For many companies, copyright suits can easily involve millions of dollars, simply because the stakes are tied to the company’s branding or the product created.

Additionally, because we are in a new digital era, future copyright cases can set brand new precedence, which may alter the protections that copyright owners have enjoyed for so long. The ability to transform original works, either through parody or criticism, has created an influx of cases that require a factorial evaluation to be conducted by the courts. Was the work transformative enough to make it unique?

Such factors include i) the purpose and character of the use, which includes whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; ii) the nature of the copyrighted work, iii) the amount and quality of the work that has been copied; and iv) the harm brought by the transformed work.

For the small-time influencer, this could mean the difference between a few paychecks, but for companies, this can be a determining factor in their ultimate success. To explore how copyright law is being used today, we wanted to break down three cases that could be influential in 2021.

Three Examples of Cases on the Block

  • Google v. Oracle

This is a case involving the application of copyright protection to software owned by Oracle and resolves the question regarding whether Google’s use in creating an android operating system that is comprised of Java coding constitutes fair use. In January of 2019, Oracle initiated a case against Google, alleging improper use of 11,000 lines of Code from JAVA SE, which was found not to be covered under fair use by The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This case has made it all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments on the issue Wednesday Oct 7, 2020, and has yet to reach a decision on the matter.

The main challenge that lies ahead is in determining whether the specific code used by Google within the Android interface is considered to be an algorithm, formatting, functions, logic or system design, which then would not be covered under copyright law, as they are not considered a means of creative expression. Digital coding, although used widely, can become the subject of stringent copyright criticism. As we move into a more digital frontier, it becomes important to understand if the coding you are using can be fairly used.

  • National Music Publishers Association v. Peloton

Music has generated a multitude of copyright cases as different platforms have been developed and used for streaming purposes. To place this into context, take the case National Music Publishers Association v. Peloton. In this matter, a $370 million lawsuit, which more than doubled the original $150 million lawsuit, was filed by the National Music Publishers Association last March, when it was alleged that Peloton used over 1,000 musical composition without obtaining the proper licenses to use them. A settlement was reached where the creators for the songs were properly compensated for the use of their music included in the Peloton experience. Peloton took the initiative to remove the NMPA protected songs for all workout videos provided to the public.

  • Suess Enterprises LP v. Comic Mix LLC et al

This third case involves our beloved Dr. Suess and a claim brought by his estate against the publisher for a work that mashed up “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” and other Dr. Suess works, alongside Star Trek imagery as well as characters from the original fictional franchise. The United States District Court for the Southern District of California found that the comic book’s use of the material was fair use and was treated as parody rather than a complete infringement on the original. This “highly transformative work” allowed for well-known characters to interact in a way that was not so different from their original works.  

This being said, it doesn’t always happen that way. The opposite actually occurred in Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. v. Penguin Books USA, Inc., 109 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1997), whereby an author used the characters created by Dr. Seuss to retell the story of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The appellate court determined that the author’s use of such characters in this work created a satirical piece, not a parody. As such, it was not transformative enough to be protected from a copyright claim.

Our Take on the Matter

These cases bring to light how important certain words are when reflected in new, legal light. Gaining clarity on terms like parody and fair use is vital for navigating in a way that avoids legal pitfalls. 

What is parody?

 Miriam-Webster defines parody as “a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule.” Parody is important to establish, so that some measurable line of difference exists between your work and the work you have utilized.

What is fair use?

Fair use is a doctrine allowing for the use of copyrighted work for transformative purposes, such as for criticism, parody, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. Fair use is becoming a common practice, especially given the rise in reaction content – videos and posts that are offering their opinion on a certain song, movie, or work of art.

 Copyrighting is crucial to the protection of your works, no matter the medium.  If you’re creating digital content online, having an understanding of copyrights will help you be confident in your creations. You can rest easy knowing that your work remains original. Not only this, when establishing a business, you need to take into consideration how unique your endeavor is.

What This Means for the Future

With technological changes, come changes to the law. Copyright laws will have to alter and grow to accommodate a market that has become highly digitized, paving the way for possible fair use claims in years to come. As a company or brand’s content gets used by the public, they will have to determine if it is worth litigation or not, especially if it grants them popularity and added visibility. One thing we can be certain of: copyrights have never mattered more than they do right now. That is why hiring a lawyer can offer you armor. It can be the difference in how protected your content, business, or brand remains.

Want to know the difference between trademarks and copyrights?

We’ve got a blog that talks about exactly that.

© 2020 The Orlando Law Group.