Attorney at Law Magazine strives to recognize the best firms in each individual practice area to highlight as our Law Firm of the Month. This month, we sat down with Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A. (“GJB”) attorneys to discuss the firm’s unparalleled capabilities in commercial litigation, specifically franchise and securities litigation.
Founded in 1999, Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A., is one of the largest boutique firms in the state with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and an affiliate office in Caracas. Recognized nationwide for their roster of ground-breaking cases, the commercial litigation practice group is best-known for its franchise and securities practices. Offering legal counsel to corporations operating in multi-billion dollar industries, GJB boasts a team of dedicated, well-versed attorneys who are attuned to the ever-changing laws governing this practice area.
Focusing on franchise, real estate, employment and securities litigation, Michael D. Joblove leads the firm’s commercial litigation practice. Among its most recognizable “blue chip” clients, the firm provides national franchise counsel to Miami-based Burger King Corporation and handles Burger King Corporation’s litigation with respect to franchisees throughout the United States. According to Joblove, “We’ve been doing franchise work for nearly 20 years. Burger King, as one of the largest franchise systems in the country, has provided an interesting forum for us to distinguish ourselves as top in our field. While Burger King is one of our largest, ongoing franchise clients, we have also represented a plethora of additional recognizable franchises over the years including Jamba Juice Company, T.G.I. Friday’s®, Smoothie King, Bennigan’s®, Pearle Vision, Inc., Denny’s, Inc., Assist-2-Sell®, and Pollo Campero®.”
A former senior executive for Burger King and a GJB client, Partner W. Barry Blum’s litigation practice focuses on franchise matters, as well as FINRA arbitration matters for claimants in securities and employment matters. As a senior executive for ten years at Burger King Corporation prior to joining GJB, Blum was instrumental in managing the company’s litigation matters worldwide, specifically legal and franchising matters; a solid background that he draws upon to help provide unequalled legal service to Burger King today. The fact that Blum joined GJB is a true testament to the firm’s legal and franchising capabilities for the burger company.
Their recent successes include a case establishing that a franchisor has the right to mandate prices and operating hours. “As more stores open and competition in the industry increases, Franchisors now have the right to honor price promotions nationwide as well as the hours in which each store operates,” said Blum. “This was previously moderated by the individual franchisees, where price promotions and hours of operation were different depending on the location of the store.”
When it comes to securities litigation, GJB handles plaintiff work for individual and institutional investors in both large class action suits and arbitration proceedings. The firm primarily represents individual investors in arbitrations before FINRA (formerly known as NASD and NYSE); however, the firm’s partners have also represented clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA on regulatory matters and successfully represented brokers in complex securities and employment arbitration proceedings.
“We have a wide breadth of experience in this area,” said Joblove. “The SEC has also hired our firm to recover assets on behalf of individuals who have been defrauded. This includes retention as a court-appointed receiver over Creative Capital Consortium, LLC, and related entities involved in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.”
“Ours is a highly sought-after securities firm for the SEC and FTC,” said Blum. “Our attorneys have experience with various securities law issues, including issues arising under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933 and 1934, state securities law, and common law. In particular, our lawyers have handled a large volume of securities arbitration actions before the NASD, NYSE, and other exchanges (now known as FINRA). Most recently, we represented a registered representative in a wrongful termination and U-5 defamation claim that resulted in an award of $1.8 million in FINRA arbitration against a major broker-dealer.”
In addition to Joblove and Blum, the firm’s other attorneys in the commercial litigation practice area include Jonathan E. Perlman, a shareholder, as a highly-noted franchise, securities and business litigation attorney; Nina Greene, a partner who specializes in franchise, trademark and general commercial litigation; Partner Peter W. Bellas, a trial and appellate attorney whose practice focuses on complex commercial litigation including business torts, securities fraud, construction law, constitutional rights, franchise disputes, and professional malpractice; and Richard Sarafan, a 30-year litigator in the areas of complex commercial, corporate, bankruptcy and real property litigation as well as local government law.
“The quality of our work is equal to, or exceeds, South Florida’s largest firms, yet we are able to deliver our services more efficiently and less expensive,” said Joblove. “Our commercial litigation group is among the top three percent in the U.S., but our rates are lower and our staffing is reasonable so our clients get great results at reasonable prices, which is incredibly important in this economy.”
Some of the firm’s commercial litigation clients include Minto Communities, Delta and Lufthansa. Most recently, Blum defended a case successfully that had to do with Delta’s baggage handling procedures. “It was a class action brought by the Southern District of Florida that we got knocked out in the very early stages,” he recalled. “We argued that the class action was preempted by a Federal law that had to do with the Airline Deregulation Act.”
“Another recent case handled by the firm,” Joblove mentioned, “was the successful defense of millions of dollars in gambling claims brought by Hard Rock Casino against an individual bettor who had lost a substantial sum of money gambling on credit. Because the governor and legislature had not approved gambling formally, we argued that at the time of the loss, gambling at the casino was still illegal.”
What’s On The Horizon For This Firm?
“Continued success,” said Joblove. “During the boom and the bust of any industry over the course of time, we continue to grow our client list as we generate positive results from the cases we argue successfully. What more is there to hope to accomplish,” he asks, “but continued success on behalf of our clients?”