Civil litigation

The term civil litigation refers to a legal dispute between two or more parties that seek money damages or specific performance rather than criminal. 


We are trial lawyers, not litigators. Our success results from a fundamentally different approach to trying cases. Because of our work ethic and our diverse experience, our practice is not limited.

Unlike most small firms, Mindrup | Samole has a broad range of practice to meet the needs of our clients.

And our clients are diverse, ranging from individuals, personal representatives and trustees, to mom-and-pop small businesses, partnerships, and larger companies. With that said, most clients routinely ask what we do. The answer is that our practice is highly diverse, and concentrates are not limited to the following areas,

Corporate and business litigation

 The Florida Bar defines 'Business Litigation’ as the practice of law dealing with the legal problems arising from commercial and business relationships including litigation of controversies arising from those relationships. ‘Business litigation law’ includes evaluating, handling and resolving such controversies before state courts, federal courts, administrative agencies, mediators, and arbitrators. Matters not qualifying for business litigation include areas of practice dealing with personal injury, routine collection matters, marital and family law, or workers’ compensation. Courts of ‘general jurisdiction’ shall include state circuit courts, federal district courts, and courts of similar jurisdiction in other states, but not county courts.  

Too often do businesses wind up in situations where all of the sudden they find themselves in litigation. When that happens having an attorney with a business background can prove fruitful. Be proactive and take preventative measures to protect the livelihood that you have worked so hard to create.  Continue to invest in your business by contacting us now to see how we can help protect your business..


Franchise litigation


 Franchising is a contractual arrangement pursuant to which one party, the franchiser, grants another party, the franchisee, the right or license to use its business model and trade-name to run a franchise business.  There are a multitude of franchises in the Tampa Bay area.  Examples of popular franchises include: McDonalds, Dairy Queen and Subway. The franchisee usually must pay an up-front franchise fee, plus royalties in the form of a percentage of the business’ revenue.  The franchisee’s interest in doing this is to gain immediate name recognition, proven products or services and proven methods of successfully advertising and delivering those products or services. The contract which governs a franchise relationship is called a Franchise Agreement.  Typically, the franchiser requires such agreements to be personally guaranteed by the franchisee.  Franchise Agreements tend to be complex and voluminous.  They usually govern all aspects of the franchise relationship. At Mindrup  | Samole, we represent Tampa franchisers and franchisees in disputes and litigation arising under the Franchise Agreement.

Such disputes often involve:

  • the franchisee’s failure to pay royalty fees,
  • the franchisee’s violations of the non-compete clause,
  • misuse of proprietary information by franchisee,
  • encroachment or competition by franchisor, or
  • the franchisor’s failure to train or properly support franchisee

We can then begin designing and implementing your best legal strategy. Opening a franchise business location can be exciting and rewarding.  Even under ideal situations, legal disputes can arise to put a franchisee’s rights and profits at risk.  Under less ideal situations, a franchisee can find him or herself confronted with a less honorable franchisor looking to take advantage of its franchisees.Identifying and assessing active or potential disputes can potentially save franchisees from massive losses in time, productivity, and expenses.  This is why it is important for franchisees to consult with experienced franchisee attorneys whenever the specter of a legal dispute arises.

"The obvious goal in franchising is to run a successful business where you make significant money. Occasionally things do not go as planned. Maybe the industry is not a good match for your skills and background or you are not making the money you thought you would or did not start out with enough working capital to get you through those first couple of years. You may feel that the franchisor is not fulfilling its obligations. For instance, maybe it did not provide adequate training or disclose “hidden” fees and expenses or is not doing as much advertising as it said it would. If your reason for taking a franchisor to court is the latter, you have a stronger case. If you decide you do not like franchising or are struggling financially you may end up in even deeper financial woes."
From the Editors of all Business (link to article).

We at Mindrup & Samole are often retained by franchisees who complain that their franchisors or suppliers are not doing what they said they would do. In some instances, the problem arose from mere laziness on the part of the franchisor.  In other instances, confusing changes to the management or ownership of the franchisor created the problem.  Sometimes, the franchisor or supplier’s refusal to comply with their obligations is inexplicable.When a franchisee is faced with a franchisor or supplier who refuses to comply with its obligations, it is essential that the franchisee seek out legal advice from experienced franchise attorneys.  Mindrup & Samole’s experienced franchise attorneys can help in such situations.  In some instances, enlisting the assistance of a franchise attorney can bring a favorable resolution without escalating the dispute.  If a franchisor or supplier refuses to be reasonable, alternative dispute resolution is sometimes available (i.e. mandatory mediation).  If a franchisor or supplier is unwilling to engage in any reasonable efforts to amicably resolve a dispute, the attorneys of Mindrup & Samole are ready, willing, and able to defend our clients rights in arbitration or litigation.

For more information about services we provide regarding Tampa franchises, or to arrange to speak with a lawyer from the firm, contact our office immediately.


insurance disputes

 When an insurance company wrongfully denies payment of a valid claim, unreasonably delays payment of a claim or fails to pay the full amount owed, the company may be found guilty of acting in bad faith. Every contract contains an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” which means neither party will do anything to obstruct the right of the other to receive the benefits outlined in the agreement.Essentially, this means that insurance companies must act in good faith towards its policyholders and must consider the policyholder’s interests equal to its own. If the insurance company breaks this law by acting in bad faith, the policyholder may be entitled to more financial compensation than what is owed in the policy.

There are several ways in which an insurance company can act in bad faith, including (but not limited to):

  • Wrongfully denying a legitimate claim
  • Denying a claim without conducting a proper investigation
  • Wrongfully delaying payment of a claim
  • Failure to acknowledge or reply promptly after receiving notification of a covered claim
  • Failure to provide a reasonable explanation and basis for denying a claim
  • Making changes to policy coverage without obtaining consent from the insured
  • Cancellation of a policy as a result of making a claim

In any insurance coverage dispute case, the most important thing you can do is contact a lawyer immediately because time deadlines may be running out. Whenever an insurance company improperly delays, denies or ignores a valid insurance claim, that company may be sued for acting in bad faith.There are several ways an insurance company can exercise bad faith in refusing to pay a claim. If your insurance disputes a claim and an attorney is able to prove that the insurance company acted in bad faith, you may be eligible to receive additional damages beyond the amount of the denied claim.  Contact us not for a free consultation.


Products liability

 Consumers burned by a cup of hot coffee, a tire blowout that results in a car accident, or the long-term use of a supposedly safe product like baby powder—these are the types of incidents which have resulted in successful product liability lawsuits over the last decade. It seems like on a regular basis, we see product recalls because of concerns of one type or another. A tire that was poorly designed, car airbags that cause unexpected injuries, pet food and treats that cause health issues, or child safety seats which fail to protect our children. Product liability claims often are the end-result of numerous consumers suffering an illness, injury, or accident after purchasing a product which they believed to be safe. When we spend our hard-earned money on a product, we expect it will perform as intended and not cause us harm if used as directed. “Product liability” law has evolved to help compensate victims when products fail to live up to these standards. There are three basic types of product defects that fall under the law of product liability:

  • Design defects – The design of a product makes the product unsafe for its intended use.
  • Manufacturing defects – The design of the product may be safe, but the product was made in an unsafe way for its intended use.
  • Warning and/or label defects – The design and manufacturing of a product may be okay, but the manufacturer’s failure to warn about inherent dangers of the product when used as intended makes it unsafe.

Under Florida law, when a product falls into any of these categories and it injures a product user while being used as intended, the product’s manufacturer will be held “strictly liable” for the injuries. The manufacturer and others involved in the design, manufacturing, and sale of the product may also be found liable for negligence relating to the product.

One of the many challenges consumers face is knowing when they may have the ability to sue a manufacturer or other person or entity involved in putting a defective product into the “stream of commerce.” Unfortunately, too often, the dangers of a product are either overlooked, or they are not identified until months or years after a product has been widely distributed.Manufacturers often have strong reasons to keep a defect quiet. Product recalls and product liability lawsuits cost companies millions and injure their brand identity. Fortunately, the threat of lawsuits and actions by government regulators help hold manufacturers accountable for the quality of their products.
To prove that a manufacturer should be held “strictly liable” for a product that causes harm, the victim (or class of victims) must prove three basic facts: that the product was “defective” under one of the three categories above; that the product’s defect caused an injury to the consumer or class of consumers, and that the consumer or class of consumers suffered damages (other than the damage to the product itself). In addition, when a victim claims her injury resulted from the negligence of someone in the “chain of commerce”, the victim must prove those same facts plus the failure of the responsible party to fulfill a duty of care it owed to the victim.For example, if a kitchen appliance is defective because it contains a heating coil that will explode under normal use, the manufacturer can be held strictly liable under Florida law by showing that including the coil caused the product to be unsafe when used as intended, that the defect led to a heating coil exploding and injuring a user, and that the user suffered damages—such as personal injuries, emotional trauma, and property damage (other than damage to the appliance itself). To hold the retailer liable under a theory of negligence, the victim would also have to show the retailer knew of the unsafe nature of the product and did not take steps to protect its customers from it by, say, removing it from store shelves. 

Contact us.