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Secretary Hughs Joins NASS In #TrustedInfo2020 Education Effort

"Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs today announced ahead of the 2020 primary and general elections that the Office of the Secretary of State will join fellow members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) in the #TrustedInfo2020 education effort to prevent misinformation and to encourage Texans to look to their state and local elections officials as the trusted sources of election information. "
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Secretary Hughs Convenes Second Border Trade Advisory Committee Meeting Of 2019

"Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs today convened the second Border Trade Advisory Committee (BTAC) meeting of 2019, bringing together stakeholders from throughout the Texas-Mexico border region to advance initiatives to address challenges related to international trade with Mexico."
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Secretary Hughs Encourages Texans To Vote Early, Make Preparations To Cast A Ballot In November 5th Election

"Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs today encouraged all eligible Texas voters to take advantage of the early voting period ahead of the November 5th election, which begins on Monday, October 21st and ends on Friday, November 1st."
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Secretary Of State's Office Hosts Texas Businesses Against Trafficking Partnership Forum

"The Secretary of State's Office today hosted the Texas Businesses Against Trafficking (TBAT) Partnership Forum at the State Capitol alongside co-hosts The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Sabre Corporation."
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Top 10 from Texas Bar Today: Litigation, Mediation, and Accommodation

Originally published by Joanna Herzik.

To highlight some of the posts that stand out from the crowd, the editors of Texas Bar Today have created a list from the week’s blog posts of the top ten based on subject matter, writing style, headline, and imagery. We hope you enjoy this installment.

10. Lyle v. Midway Solar – Solar Farm Meets Accommodation DoctrineJohn McFarland @TXOilGasLawPro of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody in Austin

9. Extensive Litigation Does not Waive ArbitrationThomas J. Crane @tomjcrane of Law Office of Thomas J. Crane  in San Antonio

8. Post-Conviction Writs & Appeals May be NeededNeal Davis of Neal Davis Law Firm, PLLC @NealDavisLaw in Houston

7. All Things MediationBryce Hopson of Hance Law Group, P.C. in Dallas

6. A Texas Court Examines What Is a Reasonable Geographic Restriction in a Non-Compete Agreement –  Leiza Dolghih @TexasNonCompete of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP in Dallas

5. Cease-and-Desist Letters are Important Tools in an Artist’s Arsenal – Peggy Keene of Klemchuk LLP @K_LLP in Dallas

4. Singular “they”Wayne Schiess, Senior Lecturer, The University of Texas School of Law @UTexasLaw in Austin

3. No Sovereign Immunity for the Texas Land CommissionerCharles Sartain and Kelley Clark Morris of Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. @GrayReedLaw in Dallas

2. Failure to Accommodate, Direct Evidence, and Adverse ActionWilliam Goren of William D. Goren, J.D., LL.M., LLC

1. ADA and FHA Quick Hits – Day that will live in infamy editionRichard Hunt of Hunt Huey PLLC in Dallas

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Joanna Herzik
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Texas attorneys win 2019 American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Awards

Originally published by Adam Faderewski.

Richard Pena, 1998-1999 State Bar of Texas president, and Judge Lora Livingston, of the Travis County District Court, will receive American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Awards on February 15, 2020, at the JW Marriott Austin.

The award, presented by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, honors lawyers whose commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession is evident in their workplace and at the local, state, or national level.

The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession addresses issues of discrimination and inspires the ABA and members of the legal profession to value differences, to be sensitive to prejudice, and to reflect the society lawyers serve.

Tickets can be purchased for the luncheon when registering for the ABA mid-year meeting.

For more information about the ABA, go to americanbar.org.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Adam Faderewski
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Must a Court Honor Parents’ Appointment of Guardian?

Originally published by Rania Combs.

The issue that drives most parents to engage in estate
planning is appointing a guardian for their children.

Texas gives parents to right to appoint a guardian for their children in a Will or a separate document called a Declaration of Guardian.

The declaration of guardian by a child’s parents carries significant weight. The Texas Estates Code provides that a court “shall appoint” the guardian designated by the parent unless the court finds that the designated guardian is disqualified, is dead, refuses to serve, or would not serve the best interests of the minor child. So although the parents’ preference is not binding on the court, it is highly persuasive.

What would cause a court to reject a parent’s preference?

Well, suppose a court is presented evidence that the designated guardian has been recently convicted of injury to a child or sexual assault. Or perhaps the designated guardian has been convicted of abandoning a child or incest. In such a situation the court will find that person unfit to serve as guardian.

The Estates Code has a list of people who are statutorily ineligible to be appointed guardian which you can read by clicking on the link.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Rania Combs
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What Is the Uniform Trade Secrets Act?

Originally published by Austin TX Business Law Blog.

Intellectual property is essentially a product of the mind or creativity. It may be tangible or intangible. Intellectual property includes things such as inventions, art, literature, and methods. A trade secret is one type of intellectual property that enjoys protections pursuant to U.S. laws, namely the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) was developed by the Uniform Law Commission in order to protect the use and exploitation of the intellectual property of another. Pursuant to the UTSA, a trade secret is information that derives from actual or potential economic value. It is also information that is not readily ascertainable unless improper means are utilized. Additionally, trade secrets are the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy. Put otherwise, a trade secret is usually something being kept confidential that gives a person or business a competitive edge.

Because of the value, both real and potential, of a trade secret, there is always the risk that others may employ improper means to gain access to the information. The UTSA has protections to prevent such misappropriation from occurring. For instance, you may be able to get an injunction against the person or entity that improperly gained access to your trade secret. This would prevent them from using the trade secret.

There is also the possibility that a court will award you damages if your trade secret has been misappropriated. The damages may include value that was lost due to the misappropriation of the trade secret and unjust enrichment gained by the party who misappropriated the secret. You may also be awarded attorney fees if the misappropriation is found to be deliberate. The UTSA also allows a court to take the necessary steps to ensure the continued confidentiality of a trade secret. This means that the court may do things like seal court records.

It is important to emphasize the fact that the UTSA provides protection from the misappropriation of trade secrets. If your trade secret is obtained legally, these protections will not be enforceable. For instance, if your trade secret is independently discovered or discovered through a reverse engineering process, the USTA protections will not be applicable.

Texas Intellectual Property Attorney

Intellectual property can hold great value to a business or individual. It is important to understand what protections are in place so that you know what legal rights you have to protect your intellectual property. It is also important to be aware of how you or your business should handle situations where you may be implicating the intellectual property rights held by another.

The Kumar Law Firm can counsel you on any of these intellectual property legal situations. It is a complex and often confusing area of the law, but an important one to understand, especially for business entities. We will answer all of your questions regarding intellectual property and possible infringement of intellectual property rights. Contact us today.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Austin TX Business Law Blog
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Interested in how a divorce court will value your home? Read this blog post to find out how

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Once you have hired a licensed real estate appraiser, real estate agent or done a comparable home search on the county appraisal website to determine a likely value for your home, you have done most of the work that is related to value your house for the purpose of selling it. The next thing you to do is consider whether or not you need to remove “incidental” costs associated with the sale of the home from that appraised value.

Incidental costs are things like closing costs and realtor fees. From my experience, these costs are way too speculative to include in the value of the house. Closing costs vary across properties and title companies. There are no specific cases that I am aware of in Texas that say one way or the other how this subject is to be treated. However, I would be willing to argue based on the previous couple points I made that they should not be deducted from the appraised value of the home.

Fair market value is what you are going after when looking for the value of your family home

Anyone of us who took high school economics is likely familiar with the term “fair market value.” This term can be defined as the amount that would be paid in cash by a willing buyer who desires to buy but is not required to buy, to a willing seller who desires to sell but is no under no necessity of selling. That definition is one that is pulled from something called the Texas Pattern Jury Charge. There is no mention of realtor charges or closing costs in that definition. Closing costs vary from transaction to transaction. Realtor costs may not even come into being if a realtor is not used or if the house is never actually sold.

Reimbursement claims and the family home

This is a subject that is near and dear to the heart of almost every person who goes through a divorce. Reimbursement claims can be a difficult subject to explain to clients because it is a concept that tugs at concepts of “fairness” and “equity.” If you contributed income to the separate property of your spouse, in a divorce you have a right to be reimbursed for those monies. However, it can be very difficult to calculate those kinds of claims.

There is nothing in the Texas Family Code that instructs a family court judge on how to calculate to proceed on a reimbursement claim made in conjunction with a divorce case. The judge has full discretion on determining how much reimbursement to award to a petitioning spouse or even whether or not to acknowledge the claim.

For instance, if your spouse has a separate property home with a mortgage on it that has been paid during the course of your marriage then you are in a position where you will need to prove how much of the principal of that mortgage has been reduced during the course of your marriage in order to proceed with a reimbursement claim. Mortgage statements pulled from the internet or requested directly from your lender are a means to do so. Many websites have amortization schedules that show how much of each mortgage payment goes towards principal, interest and escrow funds. Tax returns that show mortgage payments as well.

Finally, another relatively common reimbursement claim that we see in divorce cases is when community money is used to make improvements on a separate property home. An example could be if your spouse and you used your combined incomes to make an improvement on a home that you owned before you two got married. The value of your reimbursement claim would be how much the value of the home increased due to the improvements that were made.

As you could probably guess based on the time we devoted in yesterday and today’s blog posts to determining how to value your family home, this can be quite a difficult job. It is not readily apparent how much a new kitchen, pool, updated bathroom or solar panels on the roof actually added value to the home. A real estate agent can serve as an expert witness in this capacity if it were an issue brought up at trial.

How can your family home be divided in your divorce?

There are many options available to a judge when it comes to dividing up your family home in a divorce. Keep in mind that these options are only available to a judge if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own when it comes to valuing the home and then either dividing it in a sale or allowing one of you to remain in the home while the other has their community property interest bought out.

Option number one is the clearest cut and simple for a judge: he or she would simply determine that the home is the separate property of either you or your spouse. No muss, no fuss. Next, the house could be awarded to either you or your spouse. Along with this option, the judge could award you the house but allow your spouse to reside in the home for a specific period of time after the divorce. This option could be chosen in the event that your spouse showed that it would be difficult to locate suitable housing quickly after the divorce.

For those of you who reside in rural areas, your real estate could be partitioned by the judge. For instance, consider that if you were awarded the home, your spouse could be awarded the majority of the land surrounding the home to compensate him for the loss he would take in his community property interest in that residence.

Finally, your house could be ordered to be sold and the equity (after closing costs and realtor fees) would be split between you and your spouse based on a percentage.

What happens with the mortgage on your home after a divorce?

This is a very relevant subject to discuss in conjunction with a divorce case. Most of us reading this blog post live in a suburban/urban environment in a single family home. Whether or not you would consider your immediate surroundings to be a neighborhood or not, it is likely that you and your spouse own a home in a neighborhood-type environment where the mortgage on that home bears both your name and that of your spouse. What many attorneys fail to do in connection with a divorce is properly explain what can happen with the mortgage once your divorce is over with. I will seek to provide you with some clarification on this subject so you enter your own divorce with a bit more knowledge.

Let’s say, for example, that your spouse is awarded the family home in your divorce case. He is also ordered to pay the mortgage going forward- a mortgage that has both of your names on it. Here is what I would tell you if you were represented by our office. First, the divorce decree is a legal document that is binding upon you and your spouse but it does not affect your personal obligation under the mortgage contract. If you’re soon to be ex-spouse fails to make payments on time for the mortgage then your credit score gets dinged.

Next, if you do well in the financial portions of your divorce and have a down payment ready to go for your next house you may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage. The reason for this is that your name is already on a mortgage to your former home. Your debt to income ratio will be skewed as a result of your technically owing money on another home. It is theoretically possible to not be able to qualify for a mortgage on your new house if your spouse is not current on payments on the “old” mortgage.

How can you get your name off the joint mortgage to your old house?

That discussion should lead you to ask the question of how, then, can you go about removing your name from the old mortgage to your former home?

One option that I have seen implemented in a final decree of divorce (the final orders for a divorce case in Texas) would be to order your spouse to refinance the home within X number of days from the date the divorce becomes final. No refinance is possible until the divorce is finalized since ownership of the home before that time is still in both your name and his. It is possible that your spouse, while able to be awarded the home in your divorce, does not qualify financially to be able to refinance the mortgage into their own name. A low income, low credit score, bad debt to income ratio or a combination of all of those factors could play into the reason why this is the case.

Another option to pursue could be that your spouse can sign documents that cause him to assume complete responsibility for the mortgage moving forward. The availability of this option depends on your lender. Your spouse should contact the mortgage lender as soon as he becomes aware that he is going to get the house in your divorce to see if this is an option that he can pursue. Again, however, your spouse needs to show that he can qualify for the process of assuming sole responsibility on the mortgage.

If neither of these two options is available then the home will likely be ordered to be sold by the judge. Most judges will not put you or your spouse in a position to fall behind in the mortgage payment and put both of you in a bad financial position. As a result, if no suitable arrangement can be made it is very likely that a sale of your home will commence.

Pulling equity out of your family home in a Texas divorce

Selling the home is by far the easiest method of pulling equity out of your home during a divorce. The equity can then be split between you and your spouse without much fuss, according to the terms of the judge’s orders or your mediated settlement agreement. Usually, if your spouse is awarded the home in your divorce then the equity can be pulled out in the following manners.

If your spouse gets the house, then you will be awarded a community property asset that equals the share of equity that would ordinarily be yours had the house been sold. Or, if there is insufficient community property to divide you may be able to get some portion of your spouse’s community property share as well as a separate property bank account of your spouse’s.

We will discuss the additional ways to cash out the equity stake in a family home in tomorrow’s blog post. We hope that you have enjoyed today’s blog and we will return tomorrow to finish up where we left off by talking more about cashing out equity in the family home.

Questions about divorce and dividing up the family home? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan stand ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you have regarding your Texas family law case. Our attorneys have represented clients in every family court in southeast Texas and we do so with a great deal of pride.

To learn more about your case, our office or family law, in general, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions and receive feedback about your specific circumstances. Thank you for spending time with us today in reading our blog post.

And remember- the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is On Your Side!

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog
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Court Discusses Claims Against Corporate Board Members And The Business Judgment Rule

Originally published by David Fowler Johnson.

In In re Estate of Poe, the son of a car dealership owner who was frozen out of control of the business by the dying father’s decision to issue new stock sued his father’s estate, trust, and officers of the business. No. 08-18-00015-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7842 (Tex. App.—El Paso August 28, 2019, no pet. history). The court of appeals held that the son had the burden to overcome the business judgment rule as a part of his breach of fiduciary duty claim. The court held that the son’s claim that the directors breached their duty by delegating responsibilities to others failed:

Bound up within the duty of care is the obligation to actually manage the affairs of the corporation. Yet we do not read into that duty the obligation to micromanage corporate affairs. Good corporate boards often rely on skilled employees to handle day-to-day operating decisions. Nothing suggests that Bock and Castro did not do that here. They continued the employment of two long-time managers at the Dodge and Chrysler dealerships, both of which Dick had originally hired. Sergent explained they did so to keep a continuity of experienced management who had relationships with the employees. They retained John Attel and initially placed him in charge of the parts and service departments of the dealerships. No witness criticized, or even specifically analyzed the profitability of those departments. Attel was later promoted to general manager, but with the approval of Chrysler. Finally, the board regularly met with management, and reviewed financials. We find no evidence of the breach of the duty of care in this record and the directed verdict was properly granted on that claim.

Id. The court found that the issue of whether the directors breached their duties by hiring a director to do legal work should have gone to the jury:

 Officers or directors self-deal when they make a personal profit from a transaction by dealing with the corporation. The burden of proof is on the interested officer or director to show that the action under consideration is fair to the corporation. As interested director transactions, each of the billings for professional services we note above might well be justified as fair to the corporation. The rates charged may have been appropriate for the service rendered. The burden of fairness, however, fell on the interested directors and not Richard. Just as Richard failed to explain the business decisions in sufficient detail for us to conclude there was some evidence of a violation of the business judgment rule, the record is similarly limited, or at least conflicting, on the fairness issue for these billings. We therefore remand the claims for disgorgement under the fiduciary duty of loyalty claim as to Bock and Sergent.

Id. The court then reviewed the conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty claims against the individual defendants, and held that those claims were properly dismissed because there was no evidence that they knew of an improper purpose in the transactions.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: David Fowler Johnson
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Embattled Riot Games Settles Discrimination Claims for $10 Million

Originally published by Cris Feldman.

When discrimination occurs in the workplace, it makes employees feel uncomfortable. Employment discrimination happens when an employee or an applicant is treated unfairly due to his or her race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age. Earlier this month, it was announced that Riot Games would pay nearly $10 million in a legal settlement after accusations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment came to light.

In 2018, multiple employees sued video game developer and publisher Riot Games, after multiple women spoke out about being treated as outsiders and passed over for promotions based on their gender. Riot had attempted to force two women into legal arbitration, which prompted a walkout at the company in the spring of this year.

Riot now plans to compensate around 1,000 of the women who worked at the company from 2014 until the present. The dollar amount will vary per individual, based on their time working with the gaming publisher; it is estimated Riot will pay at least $10 million to current and former female employees.

Understanding Workplace Discrimination

An employee can be both harassed and discriminated against; therefore, understanding the difference between the two is important. Unwelcome behavior by a co-worker, superior, client, or anyone else at the workplace based upon race, religion, sex, nationality, age, disability, or genetic information constitutes workplace harassment. When a boss, supervisor, or co-worker says or does something that creates an intimidating, hostile, or threatening work environment, the affected employee is being discriminated against through harassment.

Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee is adversely discriminated against due to any number of factors. In addition to race, religion, sex, nationality, age, disability, and genetic information, employees can also be discriminated against due to pregnancy or even their relationships. In fact, employment discrimination can happen in many different scenarios such as:

Stating or suggesting a preferred candidate in a job advertisement Excluding potential employees during recruitment Denying certain employees compensation or benefits Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different salaries Discriminating when assigning disability or maternity leave Denying or disrupting the use of company facilities Discrimination when issuing promotions or layoffs

Federal law prohibits employment discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, just to name a few.

Houston Employment Discrimination Attorneys

Employment disputes can have devastating effects on an organization’s reputation and harms those involved. If you are interested in preventing disputes from occurring or are currently facing an employment law issue, the attorneys at Feldman & Feldman can protect your interests. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal needs.

The post Embattled Riot Games Settles Discrimination Claims for $10 Million appeared first on Feldman & Feldman.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Cris Feldman
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Extensive Litigation Does not Waive Arbitration

Originally published by Thomas J. Crane.

What happens when an employee files suit, perhaps unaware of the existence of a forced arbitration agreement? How long might a lawsuit progress before the employer mentions the supposed arbitration agreement? In Vectra Infosys v. Adema, No. 05-18-01371 (Tex.App. Dallas 8/28/2019), the employer responded to the lawsuit and conducted extensive discovery. The employer filed a motion to quash a deposition. It submitted a no evidence motion for summary judgment. This all occurred before Vectra invoked the forced arbitration agreement nine months into the lawsuit. Has the employer waived the right to invoke the alleged forced arbitration agreement? The Dallas court of appeals no, it did not waive its right to bring up the purported agreement.

The employer did not move sooner to compel arbitration, because it had just bought the company and was not aware of the alleged agreement. Plaintiff Adema claimed this late date would “inherently” cause him prejudice. But, said the court, the plaintiff offered no evidence of that prejudice. The court felt the plaintiff could use the same discovery in the arbitration. The plaintiff argued that he would be responsible for half the arbitration fees. But, again, the court noted that the plaintiff did not offer evidence showing he would be responsible for half the fees. The court distinguished the result in Perry Homes v. Cull, 258 S.W.3d 580 (Tex. 2008). That case did indeed find waiver and did find harm to the plaintiff. But, said the Dallas court of appeals, the plaintiff in Perry did include the very extensive docket sheet for that case in opposing the motion to compel arbitration. The court could see the lengthy litigation prior to the defendant invoked arbitration. The plaintiff in Perry asked the trial court to take judicial notice of the many motions and discovery instruments submitted before Perry Homes invoked arbitration.

In Vectra, the dissent was concerned about the clear manipulation by the employer. Vectra Infosys invoked arbitration shortly before trial and just before a hearing regarding the president’s refusal to answer certain questions at his deposition. See the decision here.

Despite what the Dallas court of appeals says, it is not at all certain that the arbitration will allow the plaintiff to make use of the already completed discovery. Some arbitrators just flat do not allow discovery, or they substantially curtail the sort of discovery an employee may pursue.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Thomas J. Crane
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No Sovereign Immunity for the Texas Land Commissioner

Originally published by Charles Sartain.

Co-author Kelley Clark Morris

Suing a state and its public officials is difficult because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. There are exceptions. State of Texas v. Signal Drilling, et al. presents several of them.

The rules

The State and its agencies are immune from:

Suits seeking to construe or enforce contracts to which the State is a party, Declaratory judgment actions, Ordinary trespass to try title suits.

There are exceptions. for example:

Claims against a state official in his representative capacity for nondiscretionary acts unauthorized by law (the ultra vires exception). Claims for an unconstitutional taking of property without adequate compensation. Suits to require state officials to comply with statutory or constitutional provisions.

The facts

The “Canadian River Mineral Boundary Agreement” was executed in 2002 between Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and a number of riparian tract owners along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle.

This dispute concerned the boundaries of riparian tracts adjacent to the river, which is considered “navigable” for the purposes of the State’s claim to the oil, gas and other minerals beneath the riverbed. Following the construction of the Sanford Dam forming Lake Meredith, the Canadian River substantially narrowed and decreased in flow. In order to eliminate substantial costs and confusion from litigation, the Boundary Agreement was executed.

In the Boundary Agreement:

The State relinquished its claim to certain properties that are no longer considered part of the official riverbed; The riparian owners confirmed the State’s claims to properties within the banks; The State released any existing mineral leases and replaced them with new, fixed ten-year leases, expiring Dec. 31, 2011, without standard “and as long thereafter” clauses that would permit the leases to be extended beyond their terms; and The State conveyed its possibility of reverter in the underlying minerals so that, upon termination of the leases, the riparian owners would own, in fee, the minerals underlying the riverbed adjacent to their respective properties (subject to an NPRI retained by the State).

After Dec. 31, 2011, Commissioner unilaterally executed “renewals” of the leases. Signal obtained a top lease from one of the tract owners and sued the State, the General Land Office, and Commissioner Bush for trespass and conversion, trespass-to-try title against the Commissioner, and a constitutional takings claim against the State. .

Signal’s claim was that fee simple ownership of the contested minerals (including the executive right to lease the minerals, which had reverted to Signal’s lessors) automatically and immediately reverted to it when the amended lease expired.

The result

The court held that Signal raised a valid ultra vires claim to defeat the Commissioner’s claim of sovereign immunity and raised a valid takings claim against the State.

To prevail on the ultra vires exception Signal had to allege (and ultimately will have to prove) that Commissioner Bush acted without legal authority or failed to perform a ministerial act. A state official acts without legal authority if he exceeds the bounds of his granted authority or if his actions conflict with the law itself. The court ruled that the Commissioner had no authority to renew the state lease.

The court rejected the State’s contention that Signal’s claims were nothing more than a contract dispute masquerading as other claims and that Signal failed to establish that the State intended to take the property without adequate compensation. The court rejected the first argument as a matter of law and the second because the State failed to preserve the argument at the trial court. Thus, Signal could proceed to trial on against Commissioner Bush and the State.

Musical interlude, college football edition

For the four who are “in”

For those who were almost “in”

For the rest.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Charles Sartain
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6 Reasons Your Associates Need Career and Client Development Training

Originally published by Cordell Parvin.

As you know, I taught, mentored, and coached law firm associates in my own firm and when I left the firm to coach lawyers. Now that I am recruiting lawyers, I’ve placed only one associate and the firm which hired him only did so because he worked for the partner I placed.

Firms do not encourage associates to learn about client development. Why? Maybe because they believe a successful associate might leave the firm. Maybe because they believe an associate can’t possibly attract the kind of clients the firm desires.

Whatever the reason, I believe law firms make a mistake by not providing top notch career and client development training. Here are 6 reasons associates need to learn those skills.

Law schools brag that students are taught to “think like a lawyer.” Unfortunately students are not taught to “think like a client.” As a result, young lawyers do not appreciate the business context of their legal work. Law students are taught “the law,” but not taught how to to be a lawyer who helps clients. Law students are taught to speak and write, but not taught to ask good questions and actively listen. In law school, establishing goals is easy. Most law students want to finish near the top of their class, pass the bar and get a good job. As associates, setting goals is more complicated because the potential choices are infinite. So, most associates do not have a plan for their career or for client development. Many who do have a plan do not have the discipline or commitment necessary to stay with it during “dips.” In many firms associates are told to do great work and not worry about client development. Yet, in those same firms, the path to partnership generally includes the associate’s potential to develop business, or in some cases their actual success developing business. The learning curve for developing business and expanding relationships with clients is the about  the same no matter when the learning begins. Associates who begin learning about client development early in their careers are better prepared to be valuable partners.

In Building the Next Generation of Rainmakers article I wrote for “The Practical Lawyer,” I outlined the kind of training on client development I suggest for associates. As you will see in the article, I suggest that to the extent possible, the learning be interactive and experiential rather than just lectures. In the training, associates should learn how to prepare a Development Plan with goals, how to focus on their contacts, how to build their profile and how to build relationships.

I talked about many of those things in a LexBlog Client Development for Associates webinar Tuesday when I answered questions from participants. After the webinar LexBlog blogged Following up on today’s webinar with Cordell Parvin: a few helpful materials. Click on the link and you will be able to download the materials.

The post 6 Reasons Your Associates Need Career and Client Development Training appeared first on Cordell Parvin Blog.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Cordell Parvin
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No cases have been decided today.

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Top 10 from Texas Bar Today: Confirmation Bias, Gene Testing, and Haunted Houses

Originally published by Joanna Herzik.

To highlight some of the posts that stand out from the crowd, the editors of Texas Bar Today have created a list from the week’s blog posts of the top ten based on subject matter, writing style, headline, and imagery. We hope you enjoy this installment.

10. In a Non-Shocker – Another COA Confirms Subpoenas are NOT SlappableSean Lemoine @TXantislapplaw of Wick Phillips in Dallas

9. Texas-Based Retailer Agrees to Pay $1.1 Million to End Accounting Claims by the SECBurford Perry, LLP in Houston

8. $2.1 Billion in Gene Testing Fraud Billed to US Medicare ProgramCris Feldman of Feldman & Feldman, PC. in Houston

7. La Cantera Settles No-Spanish LawsuitThomas J. Crane @tomjcrane of Law Office of Thomas J. Crane  in San Antonio

6. Do Stepparents Have Child Custody Rights or Child Visitation Rights After a Texas Divorce?Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP in Dallas

5. Sixth Circuit Creates Split on International Arbitration Discovery QuestionBeth Graham of Karl Bayer @karlbayer in Austin

4. Livestock and Community PropertyTiffany Dowell Lashmet @TiffDowell, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Agricultural Law with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in College Station

3. ‘Bull’ Shows the Perils of Confirmation BiasKacy Miller @CourtroomLogic of CourtroomLogic Consulting, LLC in Dallas and Fort Worth

2. Did the Federal Circuit Just Raise the Evidentiary Bar for Establishing Obviousness?Alex Lutzky of Haynes and Boone, LLP @haynesboone in San Antonio

1. Haunted Houses and Employment LawBrett Holubeck @BrettHolubeck Alaniz Law & Associates in Houston

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Joanna Herzik
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DOL Issues Proposed Regulations for Electronic Delivery of ERISA-Required Retirement Plan Disclosures

Originally published by Haynes and Boone Benefits Group.

The DOL recently issued proposed regulations which provide a “Notice-and-Access” safe harbor for the electronic delivery of ERISA-required disclosures. Under the proposed regulations, plan administrators can fulfill their obligation to provide these disclosures by making the information accessible online and by sending a notice of Internet availability (“Internet Availability Notice”) of the disclosures to participants’ e-mail addresses. The Internet Availability Notice must include a brief description of the document being posted online, a website address where the document is posted, and instructions for requesting a free paper copy of the disclosures or electing paper delivery of such disclosures in the future. Although the Internet Availability Notice must generally be sent each time a disclosure is posted online, the proposed regulations would allow a plan administrator to combine such notices in certain circumstances.

The proposed regulations only apply to retirement plans, not health and welfare plans, and a plan administrator must first (i) provide each participant with an initial notification via paper copy and (ii) allow the participant to opt out of electronic delivery of disclosures before the administrator may implement and rely on this new safe harbor. The proposed regulations would become effective 60 days following publication of a final rule in the Federal Register.

The proposed regulations are available here.

The post DOL Issues Proposed Regulations for Electronic Delivery of ERISA-Required Retirement Plan Disclosures appeared first on Haynes and Boone Blogs.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Haynes and Boone Benefits Group
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AG Law: Weekly Round Up

Originally published by Tiffany Dowell.

 

Happy Halloween!  Here is a look at how trick or treating in went in my house with our unicorn and feed sack.

 

Here are a few ag law stories in the news over the past couple of week.

*USDA released Interim Final Hemp Rule.  The much-anticipated USDA rule related to hemp production was released on Wednesday.  To read my summary of the proposed rule, click here.  Also, Dr. Justin Benavidez wrote a great summary of some of the economic info included in the “costs and benefits” section that was included in the Interim Final Rule, which was really eye-opening on several issues related to average revenues and costs per acre.  [Read blog post here.]

* USDA withdraws RFID ear tag retirement.  You may recall from this prior blog post that earlier this year, the USDA released a fact sheet related to the required future use of RFID ear tags.  R-CALF USDA had filed a lawsuit challenging this policy.   Last week, the USDA announced it was removing the fact sheet from its website and announced it was “no longer representative of current agency policy.” [Read article here.]

*New WOTUS lawsuits filed.  The lawsuits keep rolling in related to the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. You may recall that in September the EPA issued a final regulation repealing the 2015 WOTUS definition.  Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in South Carolina federal court claiming the final rule withdrawing the 2015 rule is arbitrary and unlawful raising several claims under the Endangered Species Act. In New Mexico, the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association filed suit in federal court arguing that the EPA cannot revert back to the 1986 regulatory definition of WOTUS. [Read article here.]

Programs Next Week

Next week, I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC for the American Ag Law Association Conference where I’ll be finishing up my service on the Board of Directors and speaking on a panel about the Clean Water Act.

To see all of my upcoming programs, click here.

 

The post November 1, 2019 Weekly Round Up appeared first on Texas Agriculture Law.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Tiffany Dowell
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Texas Bar Journal Must-Reads for November

Originally published by Eric Quitugua.

Check out the TBJ staff’s must-reads for the November issue for in-depth articles exploring forensics, ethics, and how AED training came in handy at one recent investiture. 

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Eric Quitugua
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OSHA Updates On Distracted Driving In Employment And In The Workplace

Originally published by Frank Giunta.

United States: OSHA Updates On Distracted Driving In Employment And In The Workplace Last Updated: October 28 2019 Article by Brent I. Clark, James L. Curtis, Mark A. Lies II, Adam R. Young and Craig B. Simonsen Seyfarth Shaw LLP Seyfarth Synopsis: OSHA reminds employers of the hazards of distracted driving. OSHA has recently released a “Guidelines for Employers to Reduce […]

The post United States: OSHA Updates On Distracted Driving In Employment And In The Workplace appeared first on Personal Injury Lawyer & Car or Truck Accident Attorney | Giunta Law.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.

Original author: Frank Giunta
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