» 2012 » March

Austin Business Attorney Reports Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against Texas Wind Energy Company

Breaching contractual obligations can have devastating consequences. Sometimes a large claim may signal the potential demise of a company. In Trinity Structural Towers Inc. v. Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., Trinity alleges that Suzlon failed to follow through with its purchases of structural towers as set out in their 2008 supply agreement.

The amount at stake is quite large and may indicate a serious problem with Suzlon. The agreement at issue allegedly provides that Suzlon was to buy $377.3 million wind towers through 2011. The parties amended the original 2008 agreement to buy an extra $123.8 million wind towers through 2013. Trinity says that only $88.6 million worth of 80-meter wind towers has been bought.

“On the one side, TSTI argues that they have incurred substantial damages because the contract has been breached,” says Austin business litigation lawyer Gregory D. Jordan. “On the other side, Suzlon claims the lack of purchases is due to the downtown in the market. Whether this argument will present a defense to the breach of contract claim will be interesting to see.”

Wind energy has become a growing source for power not only in Texas but the nation. The amount of electricity generated through wind power has increased dramatically in the past few years. In fact, Suzlon has been promoting that it won a contract to supply 57 2.1MW turbines to western U.S. wind farms and 68 2.1MW turbines to Pennsylvania in 2012.

“With this positive news from Suzlon, TSTI may be wondering why there has been a lack of purchases,” said Jordan. “Perhaps there is a valid explanation, but something will have to give, somewhere. When contract breaches occur, everyone is usually hoping for a resolution to happen quickly and efficiently, or else everyone starts to lose.”

To learn more about Austin business attorney, Austin business litigation lawyer, and Austin breach of contract lawyer Gregory D. Jordan visit, http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com.

Overtime and Wage Practices Should be Reviewed Before Lawsuits Arise

Overtime and wage claims are serious matters that affect the well-being of workers and employers. Employers are encouraged to take these issues seriously and make sure they are in compliance with the wage and hour laws before hiring and managing a staff. The Fair Labor Standards Act and various state statutes provide pay requirements for workers regardless of whether the basis for pay is hourly, salary, commission, or through a special categorization such as a waiter who earns an hourly minimum plus tips.

Wage policies should be reviewed for legal compliance by an experienced wage attorney who can help mitigate company risks and ensure workers are classified as to the correct wage type. Even small mistakes can affect a business when it has a large staff that is due overtime, lost wages, and other compensation. Adequate record keeping is essential for a company to document hours worked by employers. Best practices also include periodic audits to ensure no FLSA laws are being violated and work records are intact. Training programs for new managers, not just owners, are encouraged.

Workers who claim violations of the FLSA cannot be subjected to retaliation. Oftentimes, when there is one violation, numerous employees at the same business will have a similar complaint. Employees should monitor their pay, work hours, and other demands management places on them if they are concerned of a possible violation. To avoid costly litigation, employers should adhere to FLSA laws and avoid relying on the crutch that certain pay practices may be “an industry norm.” To learn more, contact Austin employment attorney, Austin wage and hour lawyer and Austin overtime attorney Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

Texas Oil and Gas Lease Dispute Catches Landowner in Legal Trap

A recent Texas oil and gas appeals case taught a hard lesson to an unsuspecting landowner. In Aston Meadows v. Devon Energy, Aston Meadows had purchased approximately 182 acres in Tarrant County. Unknown to them, Devon Energy held an oil, gas, and mineral lease that encumbered hundreds of acres of land in a tract that spanned Tarrant and Wise Counties and included the property Aston Meadows had purchased. Devon’s lease was originally recorded only in Wise County in 1977. Aston had purchased the land in Tarrant County for a residential development in 2001.

When Aston Meadows bought the land, no oil and gas production was occurring. But in 2007, they sued Devon and its parent company for allegedly drilling horizontally under their property. Aston claimed that Devon’s lease was invalid because it was not recorded in Tarrant County’s records. Aston claimed they were owed damages for trespass, conversion, breach of contract and unpaid royalties, and that they were entitled to injunctive relief.

The Texas Property Code generally provides that a property transaction is properly recorded when it is recorded in the county wherein a “…part of the property is located”. This thereby gives notice to everyone of “…the existence of the instrument”. When a piece of land crosses multiple counties, if a transfer involving that land is recorded in either county, it is usually deemed sufficient constructive notice to all persons of the transfer.

Since the lease owned by Devon Energy spanned two counties and was recorded in one of them, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in Devon’s favor.

Oil and gas disputes can be complex. They involve precious land assets and may turn on intricate issues of title. Aston Meadow’s title policy did not show the lease as an encumbrance. Nevertheless, Aston lost their case. This case illustrates why it is crucial to have a knowledgeable and experienced Texas oil and gas attorney in your corner if you are dealing with an oil company or involved in an oil and gas dispute.

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

Watch Out for One of the Texas Oil and Gas Gotchas

You own land in Texas. You check the courthouse in the county where your land is located to determine if there are any leases that cover your property or any mineral interests that have been severed from the surface. You find nothing, so you assume your land is not leased and you own all of the minerals.

WHOA! You may have just fallen into an all too common trap in Texas. If your land is located near a county boundary and was once part of a larger tract that was partly in the other county, then there may be a transaction recorded in that other county that affects your land. Your land could be under lease or you may own less of the minerals than you think.

In Texas, if a tract of land spans across a county boundary, then an instrument recorded in either county that relates to that tract is usually considered sufficient notice to any potential buyers of any portion of the tract. The recent case of Aston Meadows v. Devon Energy is a great illustration of a landowner falling into this trap and failing to check the records in the neighboring county. It is also a great illustration of why a landowner should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced oil and gas attorney if they have oil and gas title questions or concerns.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin oil and gas lawyer who has represented many individuals and businesses in Texas in all types of oil and gas disputes. To learn more about oil and gas matters, contact Texas oil and gas attorney Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

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