Matt Katz Named one of City & Shore Magazine’s “Powers for Good”

Every year City & Shore Magazine honors seven individuals in the community who make a difference every day. Matt Katz , Managing Partner of Katz Barron Squitero Faust’s Fort Lauderdale office was honored for his involvement with the Humane Society of Broward County, United Way of Broward County and the Broward Workshop.

To access the “Powers for Good” article, click here.

Katz Barron Squitero Faust co-sponsored a PE|Primer Seminar

Katz Barron Squitero Faust co-sponsored a PE|Primer Seminar at the Tower Club in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, September 16th, along with CNLBank and Kaufman Rossin & Co. Matt Katz, Managing Partner of Katz Barron Squitero Faust’s Fort Lauderdale office, introduced Richard Grosshandler, Senior Lecturer at PE| Primer, LLC, who led the presentation on “Demystifying Private Equity for Business Owners”. This educational seminar provided attendees with information on how private equity works, why people should care, how to set appropriate goals and much more.

To access press coverage and pictures, click here.

JOIN US FOR “OVER THE RAINBOW” RECEPTION AND AWARDS EVENT

Katz Barron is proud to serve as a sponsor of Over the Rainbow, Miami’s largest judicial, in-house and government reception and awards celebration.

Over the Rainbow will be held on Thursday, September 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. All proceeds from the annual fundraising event will benefit Dade Legal Aid and the Historical Fund of the Dade County Bar Association.

We encourage all of our friends and colleagues to join us at this important charitable event and support two very worthy causes.

For more information about Over the Rainbow, contact Alice Ramirez by telephone at 305-371-2220 or by email at aramirez@dadecountybar.org.

UNDERSTANDING THE FACTORING OF ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE AND FLORIDA LAW

AaronCohnFactoring can often represent a valuable means of converting a company’s outstanding receivables into immediate working capital.

However, any business organization considering a factoring contract should be aware that some types of arrangements could become prohibitively expensive. As Katz Barron attorney Aaron Cohn writes in a recent edition of the Miami Daily Business Review, specific types of popular factoring arrangements also may violate Florida’s legal limits on usury.

To read Aaron’s recent article on factoring, click here.

SHARI BEN MOUSSA RECOGNIZED AS RISING STAR BY DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW

ShariBenMoussaShari Ben Moussa, a Katz Barron partner, has been chosen by Daily Business Review as one of its 2014 Rising Stars in South Florida.

The Rising Stars awards honor a select group of South Florida lawyers, ages 40 and under. Each year, a panel of judges chooses honorees who have established themselves as top contributors to the practice of law and are making a difference in their communities.

Shari is a resident in Katz Barron’s Miami office and focuses her practice on general real-estate transactions, including real-estate acquisitions and dispositions, real-estate finance, commercial leasing, distressed assets and condominium administration.

“Shari has been an exceptional lawyer in every sense from her start with us,” said Katz Barron Shareholder Michael D. Katz. “We applaud and are grateful for this peer recognition which is so well deserved.”

Shari joined Katz Barron as an associate in 2008 after clerking for the firm the prior summer. She has been with Katz Barron since being admitted to The Florida Bar in April 2008, and was named a partner in 2013.

In past two years, Shari played critical roles in over $85 million in residential real estate transactions, including the purchase and sale of major properties throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. She also was involved in a wide range of shopping center, restaurant and office lease transactions, including loan acquisitions and modifications involving agricultural property, hotels, shopping centers and other commercial properties. In addition to individual and corporate clients, she has represented condominium and homeowners’ associations.

Shari currently serves as a member of the Executive Council of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar. She was reappointed to The Florida Bar’s ActionLine Committee as a Vice Chair and the Advertising Coordinator effective July 1, 2012, after serving on the Committee as Features Editor since January 2010. She also is a member of the Dade County Bar Association and American Bar Association.

Shari is a co-author of Chapter 2, “Shopping Centers, Office Buildings, And Industrial Properties — Showrooms,” Florida Real Property Complex Transactions, The Florida Bar. The Seventh Edition of the Treatise was published in 2013.

A 2002 graduate, with honors, of Washington University in St. Louis, Shari also attended Universidad Carlos III in Spain for a semester before receiving a Juris Doctor degree in December 2007 from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law.

FLORIDA EXPANDS REQUIREMENTS FOR REPORTING DATA THEFT

By John R. Squitero, Esq.
and Matan A. Scheier, Esq.

Squitero_0006rt57In response to increasing incidence and sophistication of cybercrimes, the State of Florida has expanded the guidelines of its existing data breach notification law. As a result, Florida businesses are well advised to upgrade their security protocols to decrease the likelihood of data theft, and consult with their legal counsel about rapid-response mechanisms when valuable personal information is “hacked.”

Passed during this year’s Legislative session, the Florida Information Protection Act (FIPA) of 2014 represents the first expansion of the state’s data breach notification laws in nine years. Its goal is to require the private sector and government entities to promptly inform aggrieved parties when cyber thieves appear to have stolen their unencrypted personal information from computer Matan Scheier Picrecords.

The greatest change to the latest FIPA standards is an increase inof the types of personal information that require notification after computer breaches are detected. The 2014 law defines personal information as a person’s first name, middle initial, or any middle name and last name in combination with unencrypted records containing:

  • A driver’s license, passport, military identification or Florida Identification Card number;
  • A Social Security number;
  • A financial account number, credit card number or debit card number, and a required security code or password that would permit access to the relevant account;
  • Any information regarding the individual’s mental or physical condition, medical history or medical treatment; or
  • A health insurance policy or subscriber identification number and any unique identifier used by a health insurer.

Additionally, the statute requires notification whenever a user name or email address may has been breached in combination with a password or security question and answer that would permit access to an online account.

The updated FIPA statute provides that any person conducting business in the state must notify the person whose unencrypted personal information is reasonably believed to have been stolen within 30 days of the determination of the breach.

In addition, the Florida Department of Legal Affairs must be notified of any breach affecting more than 500 individuals in Florida within 30 days of determination of the breach. A 15-day extension to notify the department may be granted, if good cause for delay is provided in writing within 30 days after determination of a breach.

An entity that discovers a breach affecting more than 1,000 individuals at a single time also must also notify all consumer reporting agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis of the timing, distribution, and content of the notices. Failure to notify individuals affected by the breach is treated as an unfair or deceptive trade practice, and subjects the entity to a civil penalty as follows:

  • $1,000 for each day the breach goes undisclosed for 30 days;
  • $50,000 for each 30-day period for up to 180 days;
  • A maximum of $500,000, if notification is not made within 180 days.

These sanctions apply per breach, not per individual affected by the breach.
Substitute notice, in the form of a conspicuous announcement on the entity’s website or in print and/or broadcast media where the affected individuals reside, may be provided in lieu of direct notice if:

  • The cost of providing notice would exceed $250,000;
  • The affected individuals exceed 500,000 persons; or
  • The entity does not have email addresses or mailing addresses for the affected individuals.

There are certain limited exceptions to the notification requirements under the statute. Required notification may be delayed upon a request by a law enforcement agency, if it is determined that the notification will impede a criminal investigation.

Additionally, notification is not required if, after an appropriate investigation and consultation with relevant law enforcement agencies, the person responsible for storing the information reasonably determines that the breach has not and is not likely to result in harm to the individuals whose data was unlawfully accessed.

The person responsible for data storage must make this determination in writing, and the documentation must be maintained for five years. Failure to make the written determination or to preserve it for five years subjects the responsible professional to a $50,000 administrative fine. A copy of the written determination must be provided to the Florida Department Legal Affairs within 30 days of the determination. The statute does not set specific guidelines to be followed in making a reasonable determination of no harm.

Today’s sophisticated hackers are capable of breaching even the most up-to-date and robust data security defenses. Therefore, businesses are well advised to consult their attorneys about developing rapid response systems that comply with the FIPA guidelines in advance of any serious breaches.

Executives should develop a companywide data breach response plan and teach employees on all levels of the organization about the protocols to follow. Various departments will have specific roles to play in the data breach protocol.

For example, the company’s public relations executives should have a plan in place to notify the required parties and enact a proactive crisis communications program. Additionally, human resources personnel may be required to coordinate a hotline to respond to affected customers and employees.

In addition to installing and updating data security software, the company should retain the services of an outside expert towho periodically reviews the data breach precautions. Other defensive steps should include:

  • Limiting employees’ access only to data that each specific employee needs to complete his/her job requirements;
  • Instituting standard procedures for reporting data breaches or violations of security protocol;
  • Educating employees on steps to take to ensure data security as part of their job duties; and
  • Updating employees about new threats to data security on a regular basis.

By seeking the advice of their attorneys about compliance with FIPA guidelines before data breaches occur, business executives can alert their clients and employees to potential threats of data theft, and can take steps to preserve their companies’ public reputations. Beyond considerations of the fines associated with violation of the statutes, these face-saving outcomes alone should encourage executives to prepare before hackers strike their businesses.

John R. Squitero, Esq. is a founding partner and Matan A. Scheier is an associate with the law firm of Katz, Barron, Squitero, Faust, Friedberg, English & Allen, P.A.

KATZ BARRON ADDS NEW ASSOCIATE IN MIAMI OFFICE

Matan Scheier PicKatz Barron has announced that Matan A. Scheier has joined the firm as an associate and will be resident in its Miami office.

Scheier’s practice focuses on complex corporate and commercial litigation, including real estate and business disputes.  He also counsels clients on litigation avoidance and alternative dispute resolution strategies.

A graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, Scheier received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami in 2013.  He was a law clerk at Katz Barron before being admitted to the Florida Bar.

ANA M. VELIZ JOINS KATZ BARRON AS PARTNER

Ana Veliz Photo 2Katz Barron has announced that Ana M. Veliz has joined the firm as a partner and is resident in the firm’s Miami office.

Ms. Veliz’s practice is focused on estate planning and administration, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, special needs planning, asset protection planning and charitable planning, as well as business succession planning. She also handles trust administration, probate and guardianship proceedings. Veliz also focuses on Medicaid Planning for long-term care benefits. She was a Miami-based solo practitioner before joining Katz Barron.

A graduate of Babson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, Ms. Veliz received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1986. She is a member of the Florida Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida.

Ms. Veliz is a past chair of the Florida Bar General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section, as well as a member of its Elder Law Section, and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section. She also is a member of ElderCounsel, LLC, Advisors Forum, LLC, and the One Hope United Signature Committee.

WHEN HACKERS ATTACK

While security breaches at large retailers and financial institutions garner major headlines, hundreds of small to mid-sized businesses experience similar types of data breaches every day.  Hackers break through security protocols and into computer systems to unlock credit card numbers, financial information and other types of valuable personal and business data.

In today’s Miami Herald, John Squitero, a founding partner of Katz Barron, writes about the steps all Florida business must take after discovering data security breaches.  For more information about your company’s statutory obligations to the State of Florida and your customers, click here.

JOHN SQUITERO NOMINATED AS ONE OF RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE’S TWELVE GOOD MEN

Squitero_0006rt57Katz Barron Shareholder John Squitero has been nominated by Ronald McDonald House as one of its 2014 Twelve Good Men of South Florida.  He and other nominees will be honored for their histories of outstanding community service, civic service and involvements in South Florida charitable organizations during an April 29 luncheon at Jungle Island in Miami.

John has served as a Board member of the Viscayans and the Broward County Humane Society.  He also is a member of the Citizens Board of the University of Miami and a trustee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida raise funds to provide temporary lodging for out-of-town parents who have sick children in South Florida hospitals.  The charity currently operates Ronald McDonald House facilities on the grounds of Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami and Chris Evert Children’s Hospital in Fort Lauderdale.

For more information and photographs from the 2014 Ronald McDonald House Twelve Good Men of South Florida awards ceremony, click here.