Articles Posted in Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

image001-2-300x200A lawsuit surrounding Florida’s biggest health insurer and whether it broke antitrust regulations by prohibiting agents from offering products to a competing insurance provider is expected to be heard by a federal appeals court this week.

The opposing insurance firm sought the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a judge sided with the bigger insurer in the case, which goes back to the rival’s entry into the Orlando area market for private health insurance plans in 2018.

The rival insurer, who has the backing of the U.S. Department of Justice, claims that by attempting to break off independent agents who already sold plans to the competitor, the larger insurer engaged in “manifestly anticompetitive conduct”.

medical-563427_1920-1-300x200A sealed federal lawsuit was finally unsealed earlier this week, revealing fraud allegations by a one-time senior executive of a highly regarded private Miami university. The lawsuit alleges that the healthcare system of the school billed Medicare millions of dollars in needless diagnostic testing and saddled patients with undisclosed costs for trips to the clinic.

The U.S. Department of Justice started investigating the claims after the former chief executive officer of the university’s school of medicine, who filed a 2013 whistle-blower lawsuit, first raised them. At a time when the university was dealing with huge debt after completing an unprecedented expansion of its medical school into a sprawling academic health system, the man accused the university of making false charges with Medicare for needless organ donation testing and overcharging patients for clinic visits.

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image001-15-300x200A woman working for the United States Postal Service recently appeared in federal court after being accused of allegedly stealing a Miami-Dade County mail-in ballot. Among the other items she stole include gift cards, prepaid debit cards, letters, and more.

A pair of postal inspector agents questioned the woman who admitted that she used the stolen debit cards at stores. After being told she would need to turn in her identification for the postal service, the woman told the agents that the ID was in her car. When asked whether there was mail in the vehicle, the woman initially said no before changing her mind. As agents approached the woman’s vehicle, they noticed multiple satchels containing white envelopes. The majority of the mail was intended for delivery within a Miami Beach zip code.

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dan-smedley-K_P6uDekLKI-unsplash1-300x200Earlier this month, in Miami federal court, an American international hospitality corporation had a class-action lawsuit filed against it. Since a new Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal decision, the business is part of a broader wave of hotels facing lawsuits over gratuity or service charges that allegedly violate unfair trade practice laws.

The case came from a hotel guest who, via a QR code, ordered several meals at restaurants in one of the hotels belonging to the hospitality group, which carried an electronic version of the restaurant menu. According to the lawsuit, the woman ordered food and beverages from the menu on her mobile. Although her check had “20 percent SVC CHG,” she said she did not see any note on the menu of the restaurant that an automatic gratuity or service fee about such fees being added to her check. The woman argues that an electronic, mandatory gratuity was unfairly paid.

The class-action case aims to stand for the interests of other class members who bought food or drinks at one of the several hotel properties of the hospitality business in Florida during the last four years.

usa-1327105_1920-1-300x300A Miami police officer is generating headlines after he was allegedly caught wearing a pro-Trump mask while in uniform at an early voting site. Based on Florida law, voters, poll watchers and workers, and other individuals that have been approved by those supervising the election are the ones allowed in a polling place. Furthermore, it is against both state and federal law for a person to solicit or intimidate a voter while they are within 150 feet of a voting site entrance.

It has not been confirmed whether the officer was at the voting site for an official reason or if he sought to vote himself.

The incident with the officer happened just one day following the start of Florida’s early voting and the announcement by Miami officials that plainclothes officers would be deployed near voting sites to put voters at ease.

philipp-katzenberger-iIJrUoeRoCQ-unsplash-1-300x200A 21-year-old South Florida man has been charged with cyberstalking by federal prosecutors after he allegedly made multiple social media posts threatening to kill a woman.

The criminal complaint filed in Florida’s Southern District alleges that the man developed hundreds of false social media accounts during a six month to cyberstalk the woman. In connection with the victim, he made racial and derogative comments, including anti-black comments. The man also shared the address of the Florida home where the woman’s parents resided, per the complaint, and made threats to visit the home and injure them.

In July of this year, after the woman relocated to Los Angeles from South Florida, the abuse and threats persisted. The man discovered the home address of the woman and posted it online under a fictitious social media identity and allegedly threatened to injure or kill her, according to the criminal complaint.

fruit-1610871_1920-1-300x215A Miami federal court is re-examining a class action suit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars against several distributors of a well-known multilevel marketing (MLM) nutrition supplement company. Should the suit prevail, it could have significant ramifications for other MLM businesses.

The suit involves thousands of individuals who were allegedly told by top distributors of the nutrition company that with a strong sales strategy and hard work, they would see “financial success” capable of changing their lives. According to the source article, one of the plaintiffs in the suit spent thousands of dollars after becoming a member back in 2010, but she and her husband did not receive benefits despite purchasing the product. As with other MLMs, the nutrition company recruits new individuals to make money in selling its products.

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fsu-2971819_1920-1-300x200A university student is suing a well-known Florida university and student officials, alleging a violation of his religious freedom when he was ousted from the student senate following private Catholic student chat forum comments he made. Last week, a federal court was presented with arguments regarding the case.

As students debated social diversity and financially helping various entities, the student articulated issues with policy strategies of the groups ACLU,, and Retake the Block which he claimed disagreed with Church teaching. Another student and forum participant took a screenshot of the remarks made by the ousted student and submitted them to a student senate member. A student senate motion of no confidence in the ousted student was unsuccessful in June, but the senate held another vote during the same month, resulting in the ousting.

The student’s counsel argues that his expulsion was unlawful; because of both its integration into a public university and its formation by a state statute, the student senate is a state entity. The student could not be excluded merely for taking an unfavorable policy viewpoint.

image003-3-300x223A New York resident filed a lawsuit when he was automatically charged eighteen percent gratuities after dining at Key Biscayne’s Ritz-Carlton restaurants. Although a district judge dismissed the lawsuit, the decision was overturned by a federal appeals court earlier this week, paving the way for a class-action lawsuit alleging that Florida-based Ritz-Carlton restaurants failed to properly notify diners that they would have an automatic tip added to their bill.

The plaintiff argued that one bill did not reference the inclusion of an automatic tip, while two others said that “suggested” gratuities of eighteen percent would be included, although the bills contained tip amounts. The plaintiff alleges that Ritz-Carlton is violating a law called the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The judge that initially dismissed the lawsuit did so because the man could not sue on behalf of diners for restaurants he was never at nor did his claims meet the $5 million minimum for a class-action lawsuit.

image002-4-300x198As protests continue around the nation, Florida is looking to crack down on individuals participating in ones that become violent by introducing new legislation. Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing laws that would enforce felony-level penalties on a person who causes property damage or destruction or injury while participating in a protest. Anyone who chooses to make a donation to protesters may also be at risk of running afoul of Florida’s racketeering laws.

The governor’s legislation called the “Combatting Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”, contains close to a dozen amendments to Florida law. For anything from toppling landmarks to bullying a person in a restaurant and being involved in a protest that causes harm to property or injury to other people, it creates new or increased punishments.

Florida may become only the second state to pass legislation increasing criminal penalties against disruptive protesters.

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