Our firm has extensive experience in representing individuals and companies, both large and small, in commercial litigation. We understand that litigation can be disruptive to any business and work closely with our clients to develop a strategy to successfully resolve commercial disputes expeditiously so the clients can keep their focus on business interests.
We represent banks, hotels, marinas, shippers, developers, builders, manufacturers, retailers and other businesses throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands, in both local and federal court proceedings. We also resolve many commercial disputes through negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Whether inside the courtroom or at the negotiating table, we will be your strong advocate to produce positive results for your business.
With extensive experience in all aspects of residential and commercial real estate, the firm handles transactions ranging from single family lots to major commercial, resort, condominium and marina developments as counsel to buyers, sellers, lenders, and developers. The firm has, also, performed significant work in creating commercial and residential condominiums and converting hotel properties to condominium timeshare resorts.
We provide a strong, experienced defense of the insured by working closely with the carrier to develop a practical, cost-effective litigation strategy including well-considered claim evaluation We also represent insurers in prosecuting or defending declaratory judgment actions and other disputes concerning actual coverage. Discovery is supervised by a partner but handled whenever possible by our experienced paralegal staff to minimize costs. We utilize investigators and experts in various fields as needed and maintain strong litigation support relationships.
Although we have a successful trial record, we recognize that most lawsuits are resolved before trial. That resolution usually occurs in a formal mediation session. Mediation is mandatory in both our local and federal courts and we develop effective mediation strategies that have successfully resolved many difficult cases. Members of the firm are also certified mediators in both the federal and local courts. E-mail: Matthew J. Duensing or Michael Fitzsimmons
Whether acting as counsel to local banks for residential, commercial and construction loans or as local counsel for foreign lenders, the firm is prepared to assist lenders and borrowers on every aspect of lending and doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have represented lenders and borrowers from throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East on local lending matters involving lending, work outs, foreclosures, creditors’ rights and related local and federal law issues.
Admiralty is a specialized, sometimes archaic, but always fascinating area of law which differs significantly from other civil law.
In admiralty law, for example, in rem jurisdiction presents special advantages and challenges to litigants. One example is the arrest of vessels, which at once confers jurisdiction over the vessel itself and provides security for an unresolved claim. Another is the Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act, which under certain conditions allows a vessel owner to limit its liability for certain casualties to the value of the vessel after the casualty.
Other distinctive features of maritime law include “maintenance & cure” and Jones Act claims by seamen and statutory schemes related to loss or damage of goods carried by sea.
The firm represents vessel owners and operators, shippers, insurers and shore-based marine facilities.
Most major projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands are developed along the coastline and in submerged trust lands. Members of the firm specialize in assisting clients through the Coastal Zone Management permitting process, including zoning and environmental aspects of development permits and negotiating submerged lands occupancy permits and leases. We work closely with our clients, their architects, engineers and consultants to help ensure a smooth and successful process completed in a timely manner. We also help defend clients against alleged violations of the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Condominium law in the Virgin Islands is comprised of condominium governing documents, declarations, by-laws, rules & regulations, V.I. statutory law and interpretive case law. Our work in this area falls into two general categories.
The first area involves assisting developers with forward-looking plans for creation of a condominium. This means careful drafting of the governing documents as well as representation of the sponsor in dealing with government agencies and regulators.
The second area involves supporting associations and their boards of directors as they direct the on-going management and operation of their associations. This support includes interpretation, enforcement, and modification of an association’s governing documents, aiming to keep associations and their directors out of court. When necessary, however, we are fully prepared to defend or prosecute lawsuits in order to protect the association.
The Firm represents major lending institutions in the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as a number of stateside banks, loan servicers and businesses with mortgage and lien foreclosures and debt collections. We provide status reports to our clients on a regular basis addressing significant developments in all collection actions. Unlike the majority of states, the U.S. Virgin Islands does not permit non-judicial mortgage foreclosures, including mortgages secured by condominium properties or timeshare interests and we are experienced in the complete judicial foreclosure process in both our local and federal courts, from filing of the complaint through Marshal Sale.
Our firm is experienced in the strategies and tactics needed to assist creditors responding to bankruptcy filings. We are well versed in the protection of creditors’ interests regardless of the size of the bankrupt estate or the chapter. We represent creditors with large claims in complex Chapter 11 cases as well as claims in Chapter 13 cases.
The U.S. Virgin Islands apply federal bankruptcy law, but our courts have some unique local procedures which call for local counsel involvement regardless of the expertise that may be available to clients already represented by stateside law firms. We are experienced in counseling and coordination with such firms in the prosecution of complicated adversary proceedings.
The firm assists clients in the U.S. Virgin Islands with business formations, qualification and requirements for foreign entities to do business in the United States Virgin Islands, formation documents, agreements and contracts.
We, also, assist clients on the purchase and sale of existing businesses located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including hotels, resorts, retail establishments, marinas, dive operations and vessel charter companies.