Whatare your rights & obligations?
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. — Alice Walker
Fortunately, our legal system clearly defines how business is to be done. This means that, on most days, you can do business without needing a lawyer. This works well for us. We have an iron rule in our office: Never do for others what they can do for themselves.
But, business does not always run smoothly. Even those with the best of intentions and the highest standards encounter persons or situations that threaten the survival of their business. When these threats arise, terms and conditions of previous agreements, prior conduct of the parties, and the existing law usually decide who will prevail. This necessarily gives the advantage to those who prepared with prior thought, documentation, and proper behavior.
So, the moral to the story: Businesses gain power, strength, and advantage by thinking ahead about the structure of their organization and why they need to behave as they do, as well as by understanding the legal framework in which they do business.
In other words, before you can successfully do business, first you must know and define your own interest. Otherwise someone else will define it for you. So, on those days when all is running smoothly and there is not a cloud in sight, before you enter into a contract or continue doing business without a written contract, you might consider calling a lawyer to discuss what will happen if the other party with whom you are doing business reneges, denies, disputes, renegotiates, retracts, betrays, double-crosses, or otherwise violates your agreement.
Howcan we help?
In business decisions, we bring two big differences to the table.
First, we offer knowledge and understanding about how business is done. We have experience with a wide variety of industries, including medical services, construction, real estate, communications services, oil & gas, wind energy, and agriculture. We help with organizing businesses and we work with parties when they no longer want to do business together. We frequently help clients negotiate agreements. We aid clients in the process of buying and selling real estate and other assets. Often, we help clients plan the protection of intellectual property.
Second, we see business decisions through the lens of the courtroom. We know how a business transaction looks when it is being explained to a judge or jury. We understand how a provision that is commonly “cut and pasted” into an agreement may actually hurt you when that event is challenged by your opponent. We understand how failure to include specific promises and warranties may leave you empty handed in a courtroom.
Represented a Co-Owner of a Regional Communications Company
When Mr. Green was initially contacted, both co-owners held 50% ownership of the company with the opposing party named as president of the company. Mr. Green assembled a team that included co-counsel, a forensic accountant, and separate representation for the business entity. After protracted litigation preparation, on the eve of trial, our client was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement leaving him and his family as full owners of the company.
Lakedreams v. Taylor, 932 F.2d 1103, In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
While a member of another law firm, Mr. Green acted as lead counsel for the plaintiffs at trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. At trial Mr. Green was successful in obtaining judgement for the firm’s clients, including injunctive relief protecting their trade dress rights. As is obvious from the title above, this judgment was appealed. Finally, the judgment was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Richard Aguilar v. Logan Carver and Morris Communications Corporation d/b/a/ Lubbock Avalanche Journal, In the 99th District Court of Lubbock County, Texas, Case No. 2010-552,950
Mr. Green represented the Lubbock Avalanche Journal in a defamation case brought against it by Mr. Aguilar about whom the newspaper published an article saying that he had been indicted for a sex offense involving a minor when, in fact, he had not been indicted. After hearing a motion for summary judgment, the trial court entered a judgment in favor of the newspaper. Mr. Aguilar appealed that ruling to the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo. While the case was on appeal, the parties settled the case.
Joe Howell v. Valley Protein, Inc., In the 104th District Court of Taylor County, Texas; Case No. 20741-B
Mr. Green represented Joe Howell in this case. Joe was in the recycled grease business, servicing restaurants by hauling away their used grease. Valley Protein, a national company in the same business, began to drive him out of business, little by little, using questionable methods. Valley began by blatantly taking Joe’s equipment and grease from restaurants. When this wasn’t enough, Valley wrongfully interfered with Joe’s clientele by using misinformation to divert Joe’s business toward itself. On at least one occasion, Valley fabricated charges against Joe causing him to be arrested for taking grease from a restaurant that turned out to be Joe’s own customer. And, if all of this wasn’t enough, Joe had a prior law firm which settled his case against without Joe’s knowledge or consent and for what Joe considered to be a totally inadequate amount of money. This is when Joe finally hired Mr. Green. First, Mr. Green had to try a jury trial to get the settlement set aside. Then, after winning this case Mr. Green had to try a second case against Valley for their actions against Joe. After trying the case for several days, an Abilene jury found that Valley plotted to put Joe out of business and acted with malice. The jury returned a verdict in Joe’s favor for $161,534.00 in actual damages and for $450,000.00 in punitive damages for a total verdict $611,534.00. Pending appeal, Joe settled with Valley for a lesser amount based on the risk that an appellate court might reverse the trial court’s judgment setting aside the agreement that Joe’s first law firm had negotiated. Subsequently, with another attorney representing him, Joe filed suit for malpractice against that law firm and, ultimately entered into a settlement with that law firm for an undisclosed amount of money.