The multidisciplinary team of lawyers in our International Practice Group represents the interests of U.S. and international clients in transactions and disputes around the globe. The International Group’s lawyers include former in-house counsels at major multinational companies, former federal prosecutors, and lawyers who have spent their careers helping to solve complex business issues and disputes world-wide. The Group includes lawyers who are fluent in Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, and French.
The lawyers in the International Group keep abreast of industry dynamics and regulatory issues in key practice areas including real estate, finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, insurance, banking, securities, and management-side labor and employment. That currency, combined with a wealth of experience, enables the Group’s lawyers to analyze complex cross-border issues, develop strategies that take account of regional differences, manage multi-cultured teams of lawyers and experts, collaborate with local counsel in emerging markets, and counsel global stakeholders in this challenging and ever-changing environment.
The firm is a member of the Meritas® network of law firms, a global alliance of legal professionals located in key markets in more than 80 countries.
- Banking & Finance
We have extensive experience in many types of credit transactions, including asset-based and leveraged lending, multi-borrower and single-borrower secured and unsecured lending, cash flow lending, syndicated lending and acquisition lending. Our clients include domestic and international commercial banks, finance companies, investment banks and REITs, as well as borrowers, guarantors and other credit enhancers. Our experience includes both domestic and cross-border transactions involving borrowers engaged in a wide variety of industries and involving a broad spectrum of collateral.
Our Corporate Department provides counsel to clients seeking advice on business activities ranging from formation, financing and day-to-day operations to acquisitions, mergers, sales and liquidations. We are experienced in virtually all areas of business transactions and have been trained to identify business and legal issues quickly, to offer clear, practical advice and to reach the best solution expeditiously. We are also experienced in guiding clients through the regulatory aspects of business transactions and securities offerings and filings.
- Data Security & Breaches
We advise companies on the implementation of data privacy policies and provide complete supervision when breaches occur. Our team identifies and mitigates risks – whether arising from hacking, malware, denials-of-service, human error, data theft, and other unauthorized access to systems or information.
The Latin America Practice Group maintains relationships with top law firms in South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to assist clients doing business in those emerging markets. LATAM clients interested in expanding their businesses into U.S. markets would benefit from the Group’s knowledge and resources regarding market trends, investment structures, financing, access to capital markets, governmental strategies, and international dispute resolution. Our location in Miami, Florida, our years of experience in Latin America, and our Spanish-language skills make us uniquely suited to counsel U.S. clients in anti-corruption and fraud matters connected with business operations in Latin America.
- Litigation & International Dispute Resolution
We represent U.S. and non-U.S.-based clients in alternative dispute resolution proceedings before arbitrators from the American Arbitration Association (AAA), International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), National Futures Association (NFA) and other tribunals. Several of our ADR practitioners are certified by the Florida Supreme Court as Circuit Mediators.
- Mergers & Acquisitions
Our Mergers & Acquisitions attorneys have represented clients on hundreds of transactions including stock and asset acquisitions and sales, mergers and consolidations, divestitures and spinoffs, “going private” transactions, tender offers and leveraged buy-outs, among others.
- Real Estate Transactions & Development
We provide clients with a broad range of representation in all areas of residential and commercial real estate development. Our goal is to represent, assist and advise developers, owners, hotel operators, contractors, architects, engineers and design professionals in virtually every type of real estate transaction. We counsel clients in a wide variety of construction related matters from contract negotiation and risk management to litigation and dispute resolution.
- Regulatory Anti-Corruption/FCPA
The anti-corruption team has extensive experience in a wide-range of anti-corruption matters, including U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases. The team’s experience includes conducting global internal investigations for multinational companies; designing and implementing anti-corruption compliance programs and policies; anti-corruption/FCPA compliance counseling; training and education; anti-corruption due diligence for corporate transactions; and individual representations. The team is comprised of former federal prosecutors, a former federal public defender and Florida judge, a former Senior Counsel to a U.S. Senator, former senior in-house counsel to multinational corporations (for profit and non-profit), and others with significant international experience across several industries.
Our securities lawyers represent issuers, and have represented underwriters, in public equity and debt capital transactions, including initial public offerings (IPOs) and follow-on offerings, rights offerings, and offerings of investment grade and high-yield bonds, including Rule 144A and Regulation S transactions. We also have a long history of guiding both investors and emerging companies throughout the venture capital life cycle, from start-up to exit.
- Telecommunications & Sourcing
- Represented a client in the acquisition of real estate in Costa Rica and closing of acquisition/construction financing with the Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC).
- Represented a multi-national fruit producer that sources fruit in Latin America during a seven-day AAA arbitration, where the panel found in favor of the producer on a $16 million lost profits claim.
- Represented a major cruise line in connection with the construction of international port facilities in the Caribbean.
- Represented a U.S. company, with operations in 11 countries in Central and South America, in the sale of its SMS value-added services business to a publicly-traded, UK-based global mobile marketing and digital solutions company.
- Extensive experience counseling multinational corporations operating in Latin America during grand jury investigations of possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Represented a U.S. company with operations in the United Arab Emirates in the sale of a majority stake of its procurement services business to a publicly traded Emirati company by means of a joint venture.
- Represented one of the largest distributors of retail food products in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Represented clients in the acquisition, sale and financing of over 150 hotels, resorts, golf club communities and casinos located throughout the U.S., Canada, Bahamas, and Europe.
- Represented the owners of 89 hotel properties located in 16 states and Canada in connection with a $265 million loan to refinance the properties and provide working capital.
- Represented a privately-held U.S. paper manufacturing company in the sale of assets valued at $175 million to an Italian company.
- Represented a privately-held U.S. steel fabricator and erector in the sale of assets valued at $115 million to a Canadian company.
- Represented a British private club in the development of a condo-hotel in Miami’s South Beach district.
- Represented a client in the formation of a joint venture for the creation of a new luxury hotel, including the structuring of both U.S. and non-U.S. investment vehicles, property holding entities, debt and equity commitments, property leases, license agreements, and management agreements.
- Represented a Fortune 50 companies in a series of outsourcing transactions worth in excess of $100 million with multiple vendors (Tata, Wipro, Cognizant, Compuware) involving mission-critical infrastructure support and maintenance, trading applications, networking, data storage and managed security services.
- Represented financial institutions in Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering investigation, compliance matters, policy development, and look-backs.
- Lead counsel for a German producer of building materials and construction systems in all Florida state court cases for damages arising out of alleged defects in drywall imported from China to the U.S.
- National counsel for a global integrated energy corporation in multiple state investigations and litigations regarding underground petroleum storage tanks.
- Represented one of world’s leading international cigar manufacturers in the resolution of disputed obligations with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
- Safeguarded the financial and reputational interests of the Republic of Honduras by defeating an $11 million breach of contract lawsuit in U.S. federal court and prevailing on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
- Achieved a favorable settlement for a Colombian technology products company of a dispute in U.S. federal court over the purchase of Chinese computer products from an Argentinean supplier.
- Represented a U. S. lumber exporter in Florida state court litigation and favorable settlement of a multimillion-dollar joint venture dispute involving the Caribbean lumber trade.
- Obtained dismissal in U.S. federal district court of Honduran land owners’ lawsuit against the Republic of Honduras over mineral rights.
- Co-counsel in favorable settlement for a Singapore-based multinational company with fishing operations in Peru of a multimillion-dollar shareholder dispute in U.S. federal court involving parties in Spain, Singapore, and Norway.
- Secured a judgment in a Florida state court for the Purchasing Agency of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana against an Argentinean arms dealer.
- Successfully defended Benihana, Inc., which owns and operates approximately 70 restaurants in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America, in multiple cases and appeals brought by Benihana of Tokyo (BOT). Also prevailed in numerous counterclaims and contempt proceedings against BOT, and collected more than $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees to date for the client.
- Defended Spanish owner of luxury hotel in product liability suit against one of the nation’s largest water treatment equipment manufacturers that involved appellate review of novel issues of product liability law and the Economic Loss Rule.
- Achieved the dismissal of shareholder derivative claims for a mobile marketing company with offices in Florida and Uruguay.
- Obtained the closing of a formal Department of Justice antitrust investigation for the largest satellite television company in Puerto Rico without any charges being brought.
- Pro Bono representation of juvenile immigrants who were victims of crimes in Latin America in obtaining U.S. visas.
- Assisted buyer in the acquisition of intermodal rail businesses throughout North and Central America.
- Represented a non-branded independent hotel company in the acquisition, development, management and licensing of properties in the U.S. and Caribbean.
- Negotiated and structured a hotel–resort–condominium development in Northern California and Mexico, to be operated under an international luxury brand.
- Obtained favorable results for an international accounting firm’s Dominican Republic office in a malpractice proceeding in Florida state court.
- Represented a Puerto Rico affiliate of a national health insurer in three multidistrict class actions pending in Florida federal court against doctors who had alleged that insurers conspired to systematically deny, delay and diminish payments to doctors who provided services to insurer’s subscribers.
- Co-counsel with a New York law firm in obtaining a favorable settlement in Florida federal court for a Japanese electronics manufacturer that alleged conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and state law claims against its former employees in its Miami-based Latin American sales group and several of its customers in Latin America.
- Successfully represented a Spanish investor, the minority member of a Florida limited liability company, in a derivative action arising out of the removal of the Spanish member’s representative from the LLC’s management committee.
- Defended a chemical company in multi-million dollar jury trial involving alleged damage to aquaculture concern in Ecuador.
- Represented real estate investment group in the acquisition of a luxury resort in Costa Rica’s tourist hotspot of Guanacaste. The acquisition included a luxury hotel, golf course, marina and beaches.
- Successfully defended a Venezuelan company against multimillion dollar claims alleged for unauthorized audio recording in violation of Florida law.
- Counsel in defense of national bank at trial of a claim by an Ecuadorian family arising from Ecuador's "sucretization" program. The jury returned a verdict for the Bank in all respects.
- Represented seller of a cigar company founded in Cuba in 1916 to a subsidiary of Scandinavian tobacco group and a leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market in the United States.
- Counsel to the executive of one of the largest tobacco manufacturers in Latin America in a complex fraud and breach of contract case. Obtained the complete dismissal of the case against the company and its senior executives in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
- Experienced in conducting comprehensive analysis of changes within the areas of inbound real estate structuring in the United States, reorganizing existing entities into more tax efficient structures, estate and trust planning and implementation for non-resident aliens, exit tax applications, voluntary disclosures, portfolio debt structuring and other sophisticated cross-border tax issues.
- Represented American and foreign individuals regarding design and implementation of cross-border business structures, acquisitions and joint ventures.
- Represented individuals in trust and estate law cases and tax issues related to American and foreign trusts and estates and cross-border families.
- Represented foreign individuals who are considering immigrating or temporarily moving to the US and families with one or more members who are American citizens or are currently residing in the United States.
- Represented clients on expatriation tax planning.
- Represented foreign clients investing or doing business in the United States on American federal tax and treaty-related issues, especially with regard to inbound investments in real estate within the United States and other issues involving the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA).
- Pro Bono representation of a Nicaraguan charitable foundation regarding donation of land to be gifted to foundation.
Anticorruption in Latin America and the Caribbean: “What practices are in place to protect clients and what can firms do to protect themselves from corrupt organizations?”
Meritas Latin America & Caribbean Regional Meeting |September 2019|Carlos J. Canino
The Cayman Islands: A Very Convenient Truth in Financial Oversight
Daily Business Review |March 2017
In the Media:
Stearns Weaver Leads Debt Placement in Israel for Developer
Daily Business Review|January 2017
Miami Luxury Condos, the Panama Papers and Foreign Judgments
Daily Business Review|April 2016|Matthew M. Graham
Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges in Global Careers
Weekend Executive MBA Program, Duke Fuqua School of Business |April 2016|Carlos J. Canino
Cuba: Technology as an Engine of Economic Development
2016 Hispanic National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference |March 2016|Maria A. Gralia