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Selecting the right whistleblower attorney

Bringing to light fraud or corruption can be a difficult and complicated proposition for a whistleblower. Hiring an attorney well-versed in cases involving government agencies and major corporations can help a whistleblower immensely if a civil suit needs to be filed.

Becoming a whistleblower can be akin to walking barefoot over a field of thorns. In fact, exposing practices of even the most blatant instances of fraud and corruption to the harsh glare of public scrutiny can be a complicated and even perilous proposition. Attempting to blow the whistle without consulting an attorney may expose one to a great deal of unnecessary risk. But how can one choose the right whistleblower attorney? What can be considered the “right stuff” when it comes to hiring such a lawyer?

It goes without saying that a whistleblower attorney should be more than competent and duly experienced with cases involving government agencies and major corporations – especially in civil suits, where such cases often begin. An average citizen is rarely versed in the nuances of the Texas Whistleblower Act or other relevant state and local statutes, but the right whistleblower attorney should be. A citizen whistleblower might even be entitled to just compensation if an outrage is exposed as a consequence of the whistleblowing citizen’s precise knowledge and information – especially in cases where that expertise becomes influential in helping prosecutors recover money from companies or individuals. The right attorney should have well-rounded experience in whistleblower cases.

If you are an employee who is experiencing retaliation after reporting corrupt government activities or other violations of law, you should obtain a lawyer who can protect your rights. A good whistleblower lawyer should have extensive knowledge and experience in combating retaliation from public employers. A good whistleblower lawyer can explain the law in this area; advise you of your rights and options; intercede with your employer when appropriate; and aggressively prosecute your lawsuit if your case cannot be reasonably settled.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business attorney, Austin employment lawyer, and Austin business litigation lawyer. To learn more, visit Theaustintriallawyer.com.

Texas Supreme Court Makes It Easier to Dismiss Lawsuits by Out of State Plaintiffs

Gregory D. Jordan, a business litigation attorney, offers insights regarding the Supreme Court of Texas ruling dated July 2, 2010, in the case of Quixtar, Inc. v. Signature Management Team LLC.

“The Quixtar case is important because it clarifies Texas law pertaining to whether a lawsuit can be dismissed for a lack of convenience,” asserts Austin, Texas-based business litigation attorney Gregory D. Jordan. “The Court made it very clear that if you are sued by an out of state plaintiff, the trial court should afford substantially less deference to the plaintiff’s forum choice when the trial court is deciding whether to dismiss a suit on convenience grounds.” Mr. Jordan continues, “In my opinion, this case should make it much easier to convince a trial court to dismiss a lawsuit if the plaintiff is from out of state.”

In Quixtar, Inc. v. Signature Management Team LLC, the Texas Supreme Court addressed a situation where the trial court had dismissed a lawsuit filed in Collin County, Texas, between two Michigan businesses based on common law forum non conveniens. The Court of Appeals had reversed the dismissal, holding that the trial court abused its discretion. The appellate court noted that suit could have been filed in Michigan, but held that the defendant did not meet its burden to show that the private and public interest factors of the forum non conveniens analysis strongly weighed in favor of dismissing the suit filed in Texas. The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas. The Supreme Court of Texas reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed the suit.

Quixtar is a Virginia Corporation with a principal place of business in Michigan. Signature Management Team is a limited liability company organized in Nevada with a principal place of business in Michigan. Quixtar, a successor to Amway, is a MLM (multi-level marketing) corporation that sells products through a network of individual business owners (IBOs), including some in Texas. Signature Management is a tools company that sells marketing tools, self-help books, seminars, and motivational speaker appearances to IBOs. Quixtar also owns a training system and sells similar tools to IBOs, making it a direct competitor to Signature Management. Quixtar alleged that Signature taught IBOs improper and potentially illegal business-building techniques that put Quixtar’s entire operation at risk.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business attorney, Austin employment lawyer, and Austin business litigation lawyer. To learn more, visit Theaustintriallawyer.com.

Selecting the right non-compete lawyer

If you have a non-compete situation in need of a lawyer’s services, your choice of an attorney may have a profound effect on your business or livelihood. You need a lawyer who is familiar with the Texas courts’ opinions on these agreements, as well as the Covenants Not to Compete Act enacted by the Texas legislature.

If a non-compete signing or the aftermath of such a signing is on your horizon, seeking the services of an attorney who is competent in Texas law, experienced in sundry business disputes, and knowledgeable about the knotty particulars of Lone Star State employment law is a given. But how can you be sure that you’ve chosen the right lawyer for a non-compete?

Generally speaking, a non-compete clause or a covenant not to compete is a provision in a contract under which one party (typically an employee or seller of a business) agrees not to pursue a similar profession or trade in competition against another party (usually the employer or buyer of a business). Without a clause like this in place, a former employee or business owner might begin working for a competitor or perhaps worse, initiating a similar business.

Prior to 2006, Texas courts had historically been very reluctant to enforce many non-compete agreements. In that year, however, the Texas Supreme Court overturned years of established law when it decided the case of Sheshunoff v. Johnson. Suddenly, Texas courts were much more likely to enforce non-compete agreements. That trend has continued with cases such as Mann Frankfort Stein v. Fielding. Typically, disputes on enforceability of non-compete agreements center on whether appropriate consideration has been provided and whether the restrictions are reasonable.

If you are considering entering into a non-compete agreement or are involved in a dispute over a non-compete, you would be well advised to hire an attorney who is up-to-date on the latest developments in this fast changing area of the law. The right non-compete lawyer should be able to explain the law, clearly advise you with respect to your options and aggressively handle any litigation if the disagreement cannot be favorably resolved.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business attorney, Austin employment lawyer, and Austin business litigation lawyer. To learn more, visit Theaustintriallawyer.com.

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