Van Ness Attorneys announces multi-year MLL uniform sponsorship!

The Florida Launch of Major League Lacrosse today announced a multi-year partnership in which Van Ness Attorneys, based in Deerfield Beach, will receive a number of marketing assets, including the first uniform sponsorship in the team’s history, beginning in the 2017-18 season.

 

“We are very proud to have such a fast growing and respected firm like Van Ness Attorneys as our first ever uniform sponsor. We reviewed several different brands for this and we felt that Van Ness complimented the Florida Launch brand well, they are a local firm growing and looking to move to a national stage” said Michel Zeff, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Florida Launch.

 

Van Ness Attorneys previously sponsored the Launch during the 2016-2017 season. With a change in MLL policy allowing teams to have sponsored uniforms, the Firm moved to up its involvement to be the title uniform sponsor. “I took advantage of the opportunity to sponsor the Launch uniforms having already been a general sponsor last year,” said Tony Van Ness, founder of Van Ness Attorneys. “This sponsorship with the Launch will bring a strategic national exposure for our brand and we are very excited to be a part of the team in such a significant way.”

 

The Firm will also co-brand a weekly web series entitled “Coach’s Corner” that will feature in-depth interviews and behind-the-scenes content with Launch coach Tom Mariano.

 

About Van Ness Attorneys

Van Ness Attorneys also known as Van Ness Law Firm, PLC is a South Florida based law firm with its main office in Deerfield Beach with a second office in on Flagler Street in Miami. J. Anthony Van Ness founded the law firm in July 2004 in Hollywood, Florida. Van Ness Attorneys practices in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury, Real Property, Contract Disputes, Appeals, Probate and other areas.  Although the primary office locations are in South Florida, the firm handles matters throughout the state of Florida to include the Panhandle of Florida. Van Ness clients include many major banks, loan servicers, corporations, non-profits and individual consumers.

About Florida Launch

The Florida Launch began play in 2014 as a Major League Lacrosse expansion team. The team is dedicated to growing the game of lacrosse in Florida, as well as showcasing the sport at its highest level to the fans and community. For more information, please visit www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com. To never miss a moment of the action, follow the Florida Launch on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

About Major League Lacrosse

Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports over the past 17 years. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.

Van Ness Attorneys joins Ocean Brews and Blues Festival

DEERFIELD BEACH – The City of Deerfield Beach Parks and Recreation Department is excited to announce Van Ness Attorneys.com, also known as Van Ness Law Firm, PLC, as the presenting sponsor of the City’s new annual Ocean Brews & Blues Festival, to be held on May 20, 2017 from 3 – 7 PM at the Main Beach Parking Lot.

Based in Deerfield Beach with an office in Miami, Van Ness Attorneys.com (hereafter “Van Ness”) is a South Florida firm founded in July 2004 by J. Anthony Van Ness in Hollywood, Florida. Van Ness has its roots representing mortgage banks and servicers having been retained as counsel for Fannie Mae in 2010, until the program ended. In 2007, Van Ness moved to Newport Center in Deerfield Beach and in 2016 opened its Miami. The law firm’s attorneys have been successful representing clients in matters of Personal Injury, Real Estate, Commercial Litigation, Probate and Contract Disputes. For more information about the firm, please visit: www.vannessattorneys.com.

As one of the Top 10 up and coming cities in South Florida, we value the support of the community and sponsors to help our events continue to grow year after year. The Ocean Brews & Blues Festival is a great opportunity to spend a day at the beach while enjoying an exciting craft brew festival and listening to a variety of blues musicians.

Early Bird tickets are available for $35/person, pricing expires April 8th at 11:59pm EST. Ticket prices will increase to $40/person April 9th until May 19th at 11:59pm EST. Event Day tickets will be $45. All tickets include 3.5 hours of unlimited sampling of 100+ beers and a souvenir glass from 3:00pm – 6:30pm. Purchase your craft beer festival tickets today at www.dfb.city/oceanbrew.

For more information, call the Community Events and Outreach Division at 954-480-4429 or visit www.dfb.city/oceanbrew.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found structurally unconstitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has found unconstitutional the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the Bureau proposed by Elizabeth Warren to ward against abuses by financial institutions. The ruling challenges the construct that a congressionally-established independent agency may be headed by a single director who may only be removed for cause.

Initially, the court states, the CFPB was to be “another traditional, multi-member independent agency.” However, as the court concludes, the CFPB was ultimately established as “an independent agency headed not by a multi-member commission but rather by a single Director.” It is the latter part of this statement, “… by a single Director,” that the court finds problematic, within the framework of an independent agency. The court holds that the single-director structure, in the context of a congressionally-created independent agency, departs from history and threatens individual liberty, for reasons bound up in agency control and the separation of powers. The court also takes issue with the limitation on the executive’s ability to remove the head of that agency. The court’s remedy is to have the CFPB operate as an executive agency, of which the President “now has the power to supervise and direct the Director of the CFPB.” The court also holds that a three-year statute of limitations was applicable to the enforcement action in dispute.

Judge Henderson, concurring in part and dissenting in part, states that the opinion unnecessarily reaches the question of the constitutionality of the CFPB. Given that there were other reasons to reverse the award in the enforcement action, she opines, the court should have not decided “a constitutional question,” because “there is some other ground upon which to dispose of the case,” citing Nw. Austin Mun. Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193, 205 (2009); Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, 64 (1981). This position will likely come up, should this case be subject to further appeal.

 

Hurricane Matthew and Avulsion

Hurricanes can affect property rights, particularly along the coastline. If property is changed suddenly, Florida law treats rights of coastal, upland land owners differently with regard to the addition or subtraction of property. The difference comes down to timing and terminology.

A “gradual and imperceptible” change may trigger possessory interests. While there is a right to possess lands that may come from gradual change, that right is “a contingent, future interest that only becomes a possessory interest if and when land is added to the upland by accretion or reliction.” Walton County v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., 998 So. 2d 1102 (Fla. 2008).

“Accretion” and “reliction” are bound up with “erosion.” Erosion is “the gradual and imperceptible wearing away of land from the shore or bank.” Id. Accretion is “the gradual and imperceptible accumulation of land along the shore or bank of a body of water.” Id. Reliction is “an increase of the land by a gradual and imperceptible withdrawal of any body of water.” Id.

In contrast, “avulsion” is “the sudden or perceptible loss of or addition to land by the action of the water or a sudden change in the bed of a lake or the course of a stream.” In other words, the key is whether the loss or gain is “gradual and imperceptible,” versus “sudden or perceptible.”

With regard to either an accretion or an avulsion, the deposit of land that is added to the shore or bank is called an “alluvion.” Id.

Under the doctrines of erosion, reliction, and accretion, “the boundary between public and private land is altered to reflect gradual and imperceptible losses or additions to the shoreline.” Id. However, “under the doctrine of avulsion, the boundary between public and private land remains the” mean high water line “as it existed before the avulsive event led to sudden and perceptible losses or additions to the shoreline.” Id.

Hurricanes are “generally considered avulsive events that cause avulsion.” Id. Therefore, alluvion created by hurricanes would not typically alter the boundary line between public and private lands, for the purpose of access to the water, etc.

First District Clarifies Jurisdictional Limits for Declaratory Relief

In Helfrich v. City of Jacksonville, 1D15-1095 (Fla. 1st DCA Oct. 4, 2016) the court withdrew its initial opinion and substituted an opinion which discusses the types of issues that are ripe for a party to seek declaratory relief. Appellant, a former employee of the City of Jacksonville, sought an interpretation of the term “contributions” in the City of Jacksonville’s General Employees Retirements Plan. Having left the employ of the city, the employee was faced with two choices: (1) elect to vest her for deferred retirement and leave her own contributions in the fund; or (2) elect to rescind her vested rights and received a refund of her accumulated contributions. The employee had yet to make a choice between the two options.

The city had also made payments to the fund during the time of Appellant’s employment. If “contributions” included those contributions made by the City of Jacksonville, then it might have been advantageous for the employee to rescind and receive those contributions. The employee sued for declaratory relief, seeking a declaration that “contributions” included those payments made by the city.

The trial court noted, and the appellate court agreed, that it did not have jurisdiction to issue a ruling, because the employee had yet to elect to vest or rescind. In order for a court to have jurisdiction to issue a declaration, it needs to be dealing with a “present, ascertainable state of facts or present controversy as to a state of facts.” The court held that, prior to the employee’s election of either of her two options, there was no “present” controversy, but instead a hypothetical, potential, future controversy.

Court Clarifies Standards on Testimony

In Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Gundersen, 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 14533 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 28, 2016), Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal clarified the standards by which an employee of a business entity may testify regarding that company’s business records. The law in Florida provides that “hearsay,” which is an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted, is not admissible at trial, unless it meets the qualifications of a particular exception to the rule against the admission of hearsay. An entity’s “business records” qualify as evidence which is admissible, regardless of whether they are hearsay. However, there is a question as to who may testify about such records, particularly where the records were first created by a different business entity.

Where one business acquires another business’s records and integrates them within its own records, the records are treated as being “made” by the acquiring business. If the acquiring business’s witness can testify that it had procedures in place to check the accuracy of the information received, and if the testifying witness is well enough acquainted with the process, then the records should be admissible.

In Gundersen, the witness demonstrated “sufficient familiarity” with the process. The witness testified that, if the accuracy of the records could not be verified, then the records would not be entered into the acquiring business’s records-keeping system. Although the trial court ruled that the witness was incapable of testifying to the business records, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, claiming that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the records.

The Gundersen court is not the first appellate court to reach this conclusion. However, the noteworthiness of the presence of the records in a records-keeping system bolsters the ability of a witness to testify as to its company’s records. Additionally, the court seems to indicate that the test of a witness being well enough acquainted with a particular process or category of record should be fairly simple to pass.

Florida Attorney General Going After Alleged Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Companies

The Office of the Attorney General, Department of Legal Affairs, State of Florida, has filed an enforcement action against a number of individuals and entities, alleging that they engaged in a common, deceptive enterprise. The goal of the alleged enterprise was to receive upfront and monthly payments from borrowers, for the representation of such borrowers in foreclosure cases and loss mitigation negotiations. The deception includes, but its not limited to, the unauthorized practice of law by the purportedly offending persons and entities.

Litigation or negotiations with any of the defendants in the enforcement action may be tainted and the defendants may be deemed incapable of binding borrowers. The following is a comprehensive list of the named defendants:

  • Adam Forman
  • Joseph Hilton a/k/a Joseph Starr a/k/a Joseph Yurkin
  • Victor Spagnuolo
  • Wendy Anne Hart a/k/a Wendy Hart Reid
  • Barbara Rudolph
  • Wayne Lucas
  • Asset Protection Law Firm, PA
  • The Asset Protection Law Group, P.A.
  • Consumer Legal Resources of Florida, LLC d/b/a Fresh Start Legal Referral Services, d/b/a/ New Horizons Cust Funding, LLC, d/b/a/ Consumer Legal Advocates Inc., d/b/a Consumer Legal Advocates, d/b/a/ The Asset Protection Law Firm
  • Consumer Legal Advocates II Corp, d/b/a/ The Asset Protection Law Firm, PA
  • Consumer Legal Advocates, Inc.
  • Heritage Law Group PA
  • Heritage Law Processing Inc.
  • Legal Referral Services of Florida II, L.L.C.
  • Liberty Law Group P.A., d/b/a Florida Asset Protection Group
  • Galler Lehman Law, P.A., d/b/a Liberty Law P.A., d/b/a Tanis Galler Law, P.A.
  • Business Administration Growth LLC, d/b/a Lehman Law Group, d/b/a Heritage Title Agency, d/b/a DHS Investments, d/b/a/ Galler Lehman PA, Esq, d/b/a/ Liberty Legal PA, Esq.
  • Selective Housing Solutions
  • Selective Mortgage Corporation

Lis Pendens Stops at Final Judgment, per Fourth DCA

On August 24, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal announced a troubling decision regarding Florida’s lis pendens statute. The case, Ober v. Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, 4D14-4597 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug. 24, 2016), “involves the application” of the statute “to liens placed on property between a final judgment of foreclosure and the judicial sale.” Remarkably, the court holds that liens placed on real property during that timeframe are not discharged by section 48.23, Florida Statutes.

Final judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff in the foreclosure action in 2008. Between 2009 and 2011, a municipality recorded seven liens on the property, relating to code violations. Each violation occurred subsequent to the entry of final judgment. The property was sold in 2012, with a certificate of title being issued. Subsequently, the municipality imposed an additional liens.

The municipality urged that the lis pendens should be deemed to terminate on the date of final judgment, which would mean that the lis pendens would not affect the 10 relevant liens placed on the property. The court agreed, and holds that “a lis pendens bars liens only through final judgment, and does not affect the validity of liens after that date, even if they are before the actual sale of the property.”

This opinion is concerning. It means that, while borrowers are attempting to delay the sale date, and while plaintiff or any would-be purchaser is not in possession of the property, liens may accrue on the property. These liens will encumber the property upon the eventual purchase by someone other than the party that caused the accrual of the liens.