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Austin Business Litigation Blog

Curious about solar power? Here's a primer

As consumer demand for cleaner energy continues to grow, the installation of solar panels for residential and commercial buildings has become more common. 

Solar-energy systems are being installed on the roofs of single-family homes and businesses, and utilities are building large solar facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you're curious about solar, here are a few facts to get you started.

When mediation is a good idea (and when it's not)

You've heard why mediation can be a good alternative to filing a lawsuit. The two big reasons are time and money; mediation can be less time-consuming and less expensive that going to court.

But mediation is not a one-size-fits-all solution for resolving disputes. In this post we look at situations when mediation is a smart alternative, and when it isn't.

Can we limit corporate director liability when forming business?

Yes, there are director actions you can limit right in your Texas formation certificate for your corporation. However, there are also actions that you simply cannot exculpate.

As reported by Baylor University School of Law, Texas' Business Organizations Code holds that you can limit or even exclude liability expressly for a for pecuniary damages to the corporation or its shareholders that resulted from the director's action or lack of action as a director. However, all rights to exculpation are not absolute. As per statute, there are some exceptions, which point towards not eliminating such liability if the director's intentions may not have been as pure as they should have been.

Terminating contracts for convenience

You likely feel a good level of comfort from knowing that, as a contractor in Austin, your work is secured contractually. This puts you in control of your company's destiny, ensuring that as long as your team is able to meet its obligations, you partner cannot simply back out of your agreement (at least without facing any penalties). Many contractors and companies that we here at Wright & Greenhill PC have worked with in the past have shared this same assumption. However, the law does allow certain parties (government entities in particular) a fair amount of leeway when it comes to getting out of contracts.

Terminating a contract "for convenience" basically allows a contracted partner to walk away from a deal without cause. According to Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.249-2 (as shared by the Legal Information Institute of the Cornell University Law School), a government entity can terminate a contract with you if it believes that doing so is in its best interest. If you are contracted with a government partner and it exercises this right, you are only then entitled to collect whatever you are owed for the work done up to that point, as well as whatever costs are associated with ending your involvement with the project in question. Recovering damages for breach of contract is only possible if you are able to show that the government operated in bad faith when executing your original agreement.

What are the penalties for breach of contract?

Promises between businesses typically are expressed in the specific terms of written contracts. When a contract's terms are not followed, it is called a breach of contract.

In this post, we will look at how parties can be penalized when they breach a contract.

What activity in my public official capacity could be corruption?

The kinds of activities that can rise to the level of public corruption in Texas are probably as variable as your imagination. What may be proper activities in a non-public-official's life can be entirely illegal once one is a public official.

Certain actions of public officials in the news lately, have been the subject of accusations and criminal charges and reviewing them can be telling. As reported by myStatesman, for instance, a state representative was indicted on over a dozen charges of corruption based on her alleged activities related to her official capacity.

Former congressman's staffer fighting to share her story

Most in Austin likely associate confidentiality agreements with businesses hoping to keep former employees from sharing their trade secrets with competitors. Yet such agreements are also common in civil cases. Oftentimes, as a stipulation of a settlement, one side may ask that the other enter into a confidentiality in exchange for other consideration. However, some may view such as agreement as a veritable gag order which forces one side underground while the other is allowed to say whatever it wants. 

Such is the claim being made by the attorney representing a former staffer of a seasoned Michigan congressman. The woman had accused the congressman of sexual harassment after she claimed she was fired for not reciprocating his romantic interest in her. As part of the settlement the two reached, the woman agreed to a confidentiality agreement. Yet after news recently broke of the settlement, the congressman was quick to deny any wrongdoing. The woman (through her attorney) has now asked that she be released from her agreement so that she may tell her side of the story. The congressman's attorney was quick to point out that the woman consented to the agreement on her own. Her attorney counters, however, by saying that by the congressman addressing the issue now, fairness dictates that she be allowed to speak about it, as well. Were she to be called to testify by the House Ethics Committee, she would not be bound by the agreement. That may be a possibility after question were raised about the congressman paying her settlement from his office's operational funds. 

New homes. new contracts. same disclosure policies

Buying a new home in Texas can come with a world of advantages, but can also have its fair share of complications. Inspections, remodeling and expenses aside, it can be incredibly frustrating to discover that one of the parties involved has made a mistake on the contract. Of course, fine details can easily go overlooked, but when it comes to disclosure, it is important for new home owners to understand the basics. 

The Balance shares some of the general guidelines involved in buying a home, including the small print. Contracts offer the buyer, seller and real estate agent a window through which all aspects of the transaction are considered. These aspects range from the date of closing to the condition of the property. But if a buyer becomes suspicious during this process, they may change their mind about buying the home altogether. The Balance emphasizes the importance of knowing the repercussions in such cases: consumers could risk losing their deposit or could even be sued for failing to complete the contract. Regardless of the reason, many consumers choose to opt out at the time when contingencies are being met.

Trouble ahead? Red flags for custom homebuilders

Building a custom home is one of the biggest projects you will ever undertake. The most important person during the process is the contractor (also known as the builder).

A good contractor can make the building of a house a fantastic experience. A bad contractor can make it a nightmare that seemingly lasts forever.

A driver who hit my car had no insurance! Do I have recourse?

If you suffered injury in a Texas car accident but the other driver failed to carry auto liability insurance, you may have an avenue to receive compensation for the resulting damages. Uninsured motorist coverage is a form of auto insurance that covers the purchaser of the insurance in just these kinds of situations.

If you suffer, for example, $50,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, you may be able to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage to pay for that loss.

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