Rachel Drude to Speak at Seminar on Elder Care and Medicaid Planning

Battaglia, Dicus, Ross and McQuaid partner Rachel Drude will be speaking at two upcoming Seminars entitled “Elder Care and Medicaid Planning: Everything You Need To Know”.

The first seminar is on November 6th and 7th and takes place at the SpringHill Suites Orlando Airport. You can find more information or register by clicking here: https://www.nbi-sems.com/ProductDetails/77044ER?N=0&ctname=SPKEM%2FR-77044ER%7C

The second seminar is on November 8th and 9th and will be taking place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tampa Ybor Historic District. You can find more information or register by clicking here: https://www.nbi-sems.com/ProductDetails/77046ER?N=0&ctname=SPKEM%2FR-77046ER%7C

Rachel is looking forward to presenting at both sessions and being available to answer any questions seminar attendees may have. Hopefully you will be able to join her!

Hurricane Harvey Inundates Texas With Rain & Flooding – BRDM Can Assist With Property Damage Claims

When your property incurs damage, it’s a stressful situation. It’s common to take relief in the fact that you have purchased an insurance policy to cover your damages, should you ever need it. You may think that once you’ve submitted your claim, receiving your money to cover your losses would be a streamlined and dignified process.

However, many insurance policyholders find that it’s not at all what they expected. Property damage claims can be complicated, and insurance companies often make it even more challenging for policyholders by delaying, underpaying, or even outright denying claims. Ensure you get what you’re entitled to and let the team at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus, & McQuaid, P.A. help. 

Jonathon W. Douglas leads the property claim team at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A and has seen firsthand how the insurance industry works from the inside out. Having represented some of the largest insurers in the State of Florida, he and his team are poised to help you in your time of need. Let us put our inside knowledge to work for you and don’t let your claim get lost in the storm. 

Be sure to download our FREE Hurricane Readiness Guide, it’s a great resource to make sure your home and family are ready for what mother nature could have in store for us this hurricane season.

Regardless of what kind of damage your property has incurred, consult with our property claims team for a free consultation by calling (727) 381-2300. You’ll be glad you did!

Can Differently Licensed Professionals Co-exist in the Same Professional Corporation?

Do P.A. Mixed Marriages Work?

Recently I have become aware of two Florida Professional Corporations (“P.A.”) that have, as shareholders, professionals with different licenses. One was in a transactional setting and one was in a litigation setting. “Is that possible?” is the question that arose.

Chapter 621 of the Florida Statutes (2017), Professional Service Corporations and Limited Liability Companies, has multiple sections that refer to shareholders of a P.A. as limited to persons that “render the same professional services” or “render the same specific professional services.” See: Fla. Stat. §§621.01; 621.03(2); 621.05; 621.09(1); see also: Street v. Sugarman, 202 So.2d 749, 750-751 (Fla. 1967); Corlett, Killian, Hardeman, McLintock and Level, PA v. Merritt, 478 So.2d 828 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985); Hewlett Packard Financial Services Company v. Brevard County Clerk of Court, 2014 WL 1464410 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 15, 2014) and cases cited therein and relying thereon.

Chapter 621 does not provide what happens if the shareholders are not licensed to “render the same specific professional services.” Florida Statutes Section 621.10 does provide that if a “member, officer, shareholder, agent or employee” of a Chapter 621 entity “who has been rendering professional services to the public becomes legally disqualified to render such professional services…that person shall sever all employment with, and financial interest in, such corporation or limited liability company forthwith.” The statute does not say what is to happen when two or more professionals with different licenses form a P.A. initially so the legal disqualification occurred before the P.A. started rendering services.

It seems logical that Florida Statute Section 621.10 requires that if a P.A. is formed by persons with different licenses as members, officers, shareholders, agents, or employees, then the persons who are not licensed to perform the same specific professional services as those for which the P.A. was formed “shall sever all employment with, and financial interest in, such corporation or limited liability company forthwith,” just like a professional shareholder who has lost his/her license after the P.A. was formed. As to the return of capital contributions, equity should take care of seeing that the former shareholder is dealt with equitably, but the minority shareholder rights of the former shareholder, who never was a proper shareholder, are doubtful.

The Florida Statute Section 621.10 inclusion of agents and employees may be overkill since they do not have a statutory right to share in the net profits of the P.A. which can only be shared among properly licensed professionals if they are not shareholders. If the officers, employees or agents are not owners of the P.A. sharing in the professional fees earned by the P.A., they should not have to sever.

I did not find any precedent on the issue of what happens if people with different licenses are the shareholders of the P.A. notwithstanding Chapter 621. In a minority shareholder derivative suit, I raised the issue in a motion to dismiss with prejudice that was heard by the Court on the papers pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2015-056 PA/PI-CIR. The motion was denied without any findings or comments from the Judge. After the issue was raised again as an affirmative defense with additional factual allegations, the case settled, so the matter will not be resolved after the presentation of evidence in that case.

What would be the result if the purpose for the formation of the P.A. includes some services that one shareholder can legally perform and some services that a different shareholder can legally perform? Chapter 621 mentions “the same specific professional services” which appears to prevent that loophole. The prohibition on splitting of fees that require a license to be lawfully earned also appears to prevent that loophole.

My feeling is that Chapter 621 requires that all of the shareholders in in P.A. need to have the “same specific” license as is required to earn the fees that are the revenues of the P.A.


Safe School Zones, Safe Students

It’s an exciting time in Pinellas County as the students throughout the county head back to school. With it being that time of year though, there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind to keep everyone safe as the students head to class.

Statistics show there are as many as 100 students who are injured every year in accidents that occur within school zones. This means, a place that is designed to be safe for children could end up being the most dangerous. The most common cause of this is lack of attention, either on the part of the student or the motorist.

Most accidents involving students in school zones occur when students are getting into or out of a bus. Passing a stopped school bus is a 4-point infraction in the state of Florida and is very dangerous, so it should be avoided at all times. For more on school bus safety and passing guidelines please visit https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/child-safety/school-bus-safety/

To accommodate students who walk or bike to school, the speed limits around most Florida schools is 15 mph. There may be crossing guards or signs to indicate when you should practice extra caution. Students should be taught to practice pedestrian safety rules of looking left and right before crossing the street and students who bike should walk their bike across the intersection.

Make sure to plan with students who walk or bike what the closest and fastest route possible is, using intersections that have crossing guards as far as possible.

There is very little that is more important than securing our students have a bright future. Paying full attention while driving through school zones helps preserve that future for them, while ensuring that you and your vehicle stay safe and out of legal trouble.