» 2011 » January

Are You a Texas Employer?

If you have been an employer for any length of time, you have undoubtedly had questions about legal matters related to your employees. Perhaps you have been forced to deal with a problematic employee. You may have had an employee file a charge of discrimination against you. You may be unsure of your rights with respect to termination of an employee or you may simply have questions with respect to compensation or overtime. The possible employment related questions are almost endless. The number of laws pertaining to employers also seem almost “endless” at times.

We recognize that as an employer you cannot possibly know all of the employment laws that apply to your business. That is where a knowledgeable employment attorney can help you and that is where we would like to be of service.

A knowledgeable employment attorney should be able to answer questions that range from everyday employment matters to complex employment litigation. A well-rounded employment attorney should be able to assist you in responding to administrative issues involving the Texas Workforce Commission, Department of Labor and other administrative agencies.

When necessary, an employment attorney should be able to assist you with internal investigations, arbitrations and employment litigation. If you have employees, please consider whether it would be in your best interest to develop a relationship with an employment attorney before any major problems develop.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business attorney, Austin employment lawyer and Austin business litigation attorney. To learn more, please go to http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com/ or call (512) 419-0684.

Final Judgment Entered in Texas Partnership Dispute

Gregory D. Jordan, an experienced Austin business litigation attorney, Austin business attorney and Austin partnership attorney, comments on a judgment in a recent partnership lawsuit.

Dallas District Judge Eric Moyé entered a final judgment on Dec. 31 in a case involving the breakup of the Youngblood & Bendalin partnership. The case was filed by Youngblood & Associates against Ronald M. Bendalin, alleging that he breached a contract and wrongfully withdrew from Youngblood and Bendalin, a partnership that did mortgage work and was the majority owner of a residential mortgage loan and document joint venture with McGlenchey Stafford. The court ordered Bendalin to pay the plaintiff $231,691 in damages and $295,817 in attorney’s, fees in addition to other amounts.

“This case is a perfect example of the problems that can occur when a partnership falls apart. It is almost always important to get good legal advice before you withdraw from a partnership. A mistake can have very serious consequences,” said Austin business attorney Gregory D. Jordan.

In 2009, Youngblood & Associates filed a case against Bendalin for withdrawing wrongfully from the firm. They claimed the withdrawal violated the Texas Revised Partnership Act, reporting that Bendalin withdrew from the firm in late 2008.

Youngblood indicated he was nearing retirement and said that he had agreed to stay on as partner with the Youngblood & Bendalin firm until June 30, 2008. Youngblood alleged that Bendalin had agreed to remain with the partnership until June 20, 2013.

The firm began to suffer greatly in 2007 as a result of the decline in the residential mortgage market. Youngblood said he reversed his plans for retiring as previously planned and extended his stay in order to try and save the firm.

Bendalin allegedly told Youngblood on November 21, 2008, that he would be leaving the partnership to go to Vantium Capital as general counsel for Vantium and that he would be withdrawing from the Youngblood & Bendalin partnership as of December 31, 2008.

Youngblood & Associates claimed that Bendalin began to spend most of his time with Vantium Capital and that he requested to redeem his interests in the partnership for an amount over what was due according to the appropriate redemption formula. The total amount of Bendalin’s interest from the partnership was allegedly in the red on December 31, 2008, and therefore Youngblood & Associates asserted that Bendalin owed the partnership money.

The two phases of the non-jury trial ended with Judge Moyé signing a final judgment against Bendalin finding that under the TRPA, Bendalin wrongfully withdrew from the firm because he had committed to stay on until the end of 2013.

“Not all partnerships end on a happy note,” said Austin business attorney and Austin partnership attorney Gregory D. Jordan. “Often large verdicts and lawsuits could be avoided if partners would seek legal advice before taking action to dissolve a partnership.”

To learn more visit, http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com.

How to Select Your Business Litigation Attorney

If you become involved in a significant business dispute, you need strong effective legal counsel.

But what do you look for in a business litigation attorney? First and foremost, look for someone you trust. Your attorney can be a valued advisor, but he can only help you if you have confidence in his advice. Similarly, how can you determine whether you should have confidence in your attorney’s advice? You can talk with friends and associates about their experiences with different attorneys, but probably the most important step to take is to sit down and meet with your prospective attorney. Talk with your prospective attorney about your situation and about that attorney’s similar experiences. No two business disputes will be identical, so it is important to find a business litigation attorney who has a broad range of quality experience. The attorney you select should ideally have successfully handled dozens if not hundreds of business disputes. He or she should be able to outline a general plan of action for you and he or she should be able to articulate the general status of the law in the area of your dispute.

A broad base of experience and legal knowledge in the area of your dispute is unfortunately not helpful unless the attorney you select is one who will provide you with the best possible level of personal service while making every effort to deliver results in a timely and cost effective manner. Sometimes brilliant attorneys provide terrible results because they will not expend the necessary effort. When you talk with your prospective counsel, try to evaluate not only the person’s knowledge and experience, but also that person’s character. Your business or livelihood may depend upon it.

While it is true that most business disagreements can be resolved short of litigation, keep in mind that if you wait until litigation is imminent to retain an attorney, your position may already be compromised. If you do not have an attorney, then your best interests will likely be served if you seek legal counsel at the first sign of any significant business dispute. That way, your lawyer may be able to provide you with advice that can favorably resolve the dispute before litigation ensues.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business attorney, Austin employment lawyer and Austin business litigation attorney. To learn more, please go to http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com/ or call (512) 419-0684.

Hundred Million Dollar Patent Verdict Thrown Out

In August 2009, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas awarded Austin-based Versata Software a $139 million judgment against another software conglomerate, SAP America. However, a motion that followed in October 2009 led to a ruling filed Thursday in which federal judge, Judge Charles Everingham IV, set aside the $139 million judgment and ordered that a new trial for damages be held.

Jury selection for the new trial is slated for April 29. The IDG News Service said that Judge Everingham found the court had “erred when it admitted [Chistopher] Bakewell’s testimony and his damages model. That error affected SAP’s substantial rights.”

The judge’s comments were in response to SAP’s motion that was filed in October 2009. SAP argued Christopher Bakewell’s expert testimony should have been stricken because of the use of his improper methodology. The motion stated, “Mr. Bakewell improperly relied upon the entire market value of SAP’s accused products … in urging the jury to award a running royalty of $70 for every one of the 2,792,199 SAP user ‘seats’ included in his royalty base.”

Originally, Versata alleged that SAP’s Business Suite software and services violated several of Versata’s patents when it was formerly called Trilogy Software. Versata sells product configuration products as well as business rules management and other products.

The original trial lasted seven days and the jury reached its verdict after deliberating for six hours. The jury came to a decision that SAP had infringed upon Versata’s two software product patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,553,350 B2 and U.S. Patent No. 5,878,400 when SAP sold and distributed their SAP CRM and ERP products.

Since Versata’s beginning in 1995, it had produced revolutionary technology that efficiently processes complex pricing structures in their patented multi-level pricing tables that SAP allegedly infringed upon.

Versata announced at the end of the jury trial that they were intending to seek a permanent injunction against SAP to prevent them from infringing on their patents in the future.

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

Website by SEO | Law Firm™, an Adviatech Company