Labor & Employment Law
The attorneys at Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. have defended labor and employment law claims all over Florida for all types of public and private employers. We provide employers with practical and sound preventative advice. Our attorneys help clients develop policies and practices that reduce the risk of future litigation. We also develop cost-effective legal solutions that meet business objectives and protect the rights and best interests of employers.
The Firm represents all types of private and public employers in cases concerning Title VII (race, sex, religion, color and national origin), ADEA, ADA, FMLA, constitutional violations, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations and whistleblower claims. We serve as panel counsel for a number of providers of Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), Directors and Officers (D&O), and Miscellaneous Professional Liability (MPL) Insurance.
At Sniffen & Spellman, P.A., we understand the complicated legal issues that impact Florida’s public and private educational institutions. Our attorneys provide assistance to educational institutions in all areas of education law, including special education compliance and litigation, policy creation and training, civil rights litigation, Title IX compliance and litigation, student records, student discipline, tort/negligence litigation, collective bargaining/labor relations, administrative issues, and Federal Equal Access Act issues.
The attorneys at Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. are leaders in defending state and local government entities and law enforcement and corrections officers from claims alleging unlawful conduct. Our clients include state and local entities, specifically, law enforcement officers and agencies, including municipal police, state agencies, and county sheriff’s departments. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients against a broad range of civil rights claims alleging police misconduct, including:
Fourth Amendment search and seizure claims
False arrest and False Imprisonment
High speed vehicle pursuit
Police canine use
Deadly force cases
Search and arrest warrants
Negligence, negligent supervision, and negligent retention
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Failure to train and supervise
Our experienced law enforcement liability attorneys have successfully defended clients in high profile cases and litigated numerous claims brought under Section 1983, Florida’s waiver of sovereign immunity for certain tort claims, and other common law claims involving individual liability, municipal liability, and supervisory liability.
We initially assess claims, and where warranted, aggressively defend our clients. By aggressively defending unwarranted lawsuits, our attorneys enable law enforcement agencies and officials to perform their official duties without constant fear that a slight misstep or mistaken judgment will subject them to liability. While our attorneys are frequently able to obtain favorable results during the pre-trial phase, we are not afraid to take cases with difficult or troubling facts to trial. We understand the adverse consequences that accompany a settlement, which is often equated with an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and may lead to negative public perception and loss of public confidence in the law enforcement agency.
Civil Rights Defense
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A.’s attorneys defend public and private sector clients across the state concerning lawsuits filed under federal or state civil rights laws or local ordinances. We also provide clients with training, policy development, and preventive counsel to assist them in complying with these laws and regulations. Please click the arrows next to the practice area to access more information regarding the following Civil Rights Defense areas.
First Amendment Litigation
The Firm has extensive experience representing school districts and other public bodies in claims filed under the religion clauses, as well as the free speech clause, of the First Amendment. Our attorneys have defended public bodies in several high profile cases that garnered statewide, national and international attention. We are also frequently retained to provide training and policy development on behalf of public sector entities in order to avoid litigation.
ADA Title III Access
In addition to our representation of employers in ADA claims, the Firm also represents apartment complexes, shopping centers, municipalities and other property owners defending access litigation brought under Title III of the ADA. We also provide preventative advice and consult with clients regarding regulatory compliance with the extensive regulations promulgated under Title III so that litigation can be avoided.
Our Firm represents commercial property owners and landlords in fair housing claims filed under federal, state and local laws and ordinances. Our fair housing attorneys also provide transactional advice and fair housing audits for our institutional clients to assist them in complying with the laws and rules that govern their establishments.
Voting Rights Act Litigation
The Firm provides advice to governmental entities with respect to redistricting issues and defends claims filed under the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
State and Local Government
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A., represents local government entities, including counties, cities and special districts, in the area of local government law. One of the Firm’s partners was an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Tallahassee for five years. The managing partner of the Firm is also Board Certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in Labor and Employment Law, and is a Past Chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics.
We provide general counsel services to a number of special districts in Florida and the Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office. Our attorneys have extensive transactional and litigation experience in representing counties and cities in varies substantive areas, including public records, the sunshine law, state ethics law, procurement, labor and employment law, civil rights, property appraisal issues, ad valorem and other state taxation, contract drafting and negotiations, legislative and government affairs, grant and loan funding, and financing matters.
Appellate and Trial Support
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A.’s attorneys represent clients in appellate litigation in Florida’s state and federal courts. The firm represents a wide range of businesses and organizations in civil and administrative appeals involving all aspects of civil litigation with a particular focus on appeals of labor and employment, civil rights, state and local government, education, and constitutional law matters. The firm’s lawyers have appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Florida, and Florida’s district courts of appeal.
Sniffen and Spellman’s attorneys also provide advice and counsel to lawyers at the trial court level to help position cases for ultimate success on appeal. In matters in which an appeal is expected to be filed, the firm’s lawyers provide assistance at the trial court level with ensuring a complete record on appeal, preserving issues for appeal, and posturing cases for the highest chances of success on an anticipated appeal.
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. represents a broad range of clients, ranging from local individual business owners to large corporate entities in the areas of contract negotiations, contract disputes, pre-suit resolution and the litigation of commercial contract disputes, non-compete clauses, trademarks, copyrights, class actions, ERISA matters, and other general business tort cases. The Firm’s business litigation team also litigates disputes between officers, directors, shareholders, partners, and managers. The Firm has handled cases locally, regionally, and nationally before arbitration panels and administrative tribunals, and in state and federal courts. Our commercial litigation team will assess the merits of a dispute and design a litigation strategy that fits the legal and business needs of the client with an eye toward achieving the best possible result at a reasonable cost.
Administrative and Regulatory Law
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A.’s attorneys practice in a variety of Administrative law areas in all aspects of administrative litigation. Our firm has experience representing corporations, associations, governments and individuals in all aspects.
Our attorneys have assisted clients in achieving desired results by participation in both the rule making and the rule adoption process. We represent clients interests in disputes with State agencies and professional boards in both formal and informal proceedings governed by Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. This representation includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Drafting and developing rule comments
Participation in the rule making process
Licensure issues and defense
Variance and waiver issues
Representation before governmental entities
Representation before Professional Boards
Representation before the Florida Housing Finance Corporation
Circuit Court and Appellate administrative representation
Representation before the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings
Real Estate and Land Use
We represent developers, land owners, investors and lenders in all purchase, sale, financing, approval, permitting phases, land use, environmental and regional impact requirements, leasing, landlord/tenant matters, preparation of restrictive covenants, condominium and homeowners association representation.
Our attorneys have experience representing property owners in all aspects of land use planning and regulatory approvals including zoning, comprehensive plans, land use, annexation and developments of regional impact. Over the years, we have developed strong working relationships with the staffs of various governmental entities before which we appear on behalf of our clients. Additionally, through that experience, we represent individuals and businesses whose interests are negatively impacted by applications of neighboring property owners for zoning and land use approvals or decisions of governmental entities.
Sniffen & Spellman, P.A.’s attorneys are licensed to practice in all Florida Courts and administrative tribunals, and in the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, as well as the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Our attorneys are seasoned litigators with substantial experience taking cases to trial, administrative hearings and arbitration proceedings, and regularly defend the Firm’s clients in class action and multi-party litigations. The Firm has handled cases involving contracts, labor disputes, insurance claims, real property, commercial, corporate and general business matters. Our litigation attorneys frequently lecture on litigation-related subjects and present papers on emerging areas and trends in the adversarial system. The Firm’s litigation paralegals are an integral part of the litigation teams that guide our clients through the litigation process. Our civil litigation team will evaluate the case and develop a litigation strategy with an eye toward achieving a successful result for the client.
Trust and Estates
The Firm provides a full range of services in estate planning, trust and probate, estate and trust administration, including the filing of pleadings, post guardianship and post-mortem estate planning. In this regard, we prepare wills, trusts and business entities that reflect sound estate planning practices.
We provide a broad range of services, beginning with entity selection, formation, operating, buy/sell and shareholder agreements, entity governance and jurisdiction qualifications as well as ongoing financial, governmental and tax requirements, including mergers, acquisitions, sales, creditor rights and asset protection. We also have an active practice dealing with not-for-profit entities.