We have many years of experience in pursuing and defending professionals and organizations in general business disputes. Business fraud can arise out of a misrepresentation of facts in the valuation of a business, a breach of a fiduciary duty by a shareholder or partner, or a conflict of interest. Business fraud involves fraudulent practices in business contracts, contracts involving the sale of a business, transactions between companies, theft, embezzlement, or the conversion of assets by an employee, officer, or board member. Sometimes the disagreement can be remedied through a series of phone calls and a few letters, other times, a party must vigorously pursue recovery through the litigation process. We have encountered numerous situations that cover the entire spectrum of disputes. We have represented oppressed minority shareholders, defended management, unraveled complex transactions, and pursued recovery for defrauded investors.
Business litigation may also arise when a partner or member of a corporation breaches a duty of loyalty and competes with the corporation, uses a corporate business opportunity for their own personal gain, or misappropriates the corporation’s trade secrets. If you believe that a partner or member of your business organization has defrauded your business through improper or unauthorized competition with business opportunities or by misappropriating business opportunities for their own personal gain, we can assist you in prosecuting a claim against the proper parties and help you recover your lost business funds, assets, profits, and property. We are experienced in handling complex business fraud cases and filing civil lawsuits to recover losses suffered.
Residential real estate transactions can start out as a simple transaction between a buyer and a seller, or can involve numerous parties including: real estate agents, loan officers, mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, banks, escrow officers, title companies, appraisers, mortgage insurance companies, securitizers, secondary market investors, and more! These transactions can use simplified uniform forms or be heavily negotiated. With recent changes in the economy, many parties to real estate transactions are reevaluating closed deals and finding problems ranging from accidental errors to purposeful fraud. These past errors and fraudulent actions often lead to present losses and the need for an attorney to help recover damages.
Tom Kapioltas has overseen the regulatory compliance, structure, and disclosure requirements for thousands of real estate transactions. He has also counseled industry clients on requirements to ensure a loan can be sold on the secondary market. This experience and knowledge provides the basis for developing strategic and efficient litigation strategies when conflicts develop between any of the parties in a real estate transaction.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that generally applies to all employee benefit plans established by an employer. Employee benefit plans include health coverage, long term disability benefits, severance agreements, profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), and defined benefit plans. An example of some of our recent cases include, a failed business transaction involving the sale of company stock to an ESOP, fraudulently inducing a business to adopt an ERISA plan, and an employee who was wrongfully denied his long term disability.
Mike Forni has assisted companies to design, adopt, administer, merger, amend, and terminate employee benefit plans. This unique experience has provided our Firm with the tools to tackle and defend the most sophisticated ERISA claims.
Our Firm’s insurance coverage practice complements our ERISA litigation practice. ERISA governs employee benefit plans (group plans) that are offered though the “employee-employer” relationship. These benefits are offered under a group policy, where the employer determines the term of coverage. However, “group” insurance policies can also be offered through associations or unrelated parties. Under some of the relationships, the group policies are governed by state law and not ERISA. We have handled both types of cases, including coverage offered under an individual policy.
Texas has a robust oil and gas industry and our practice has grown with the State’s growing demands. As the price of gas increases, there is an economic incentive to develop new oil and gas wells. These wells can challenge existing city zoning and ordinance laws, or producers can explore in unproven lands and go after a “wildcat” well.
Our Firm has counseled clients in a variety of matters. We have helped parties negotiate oil and gas leases, litigate disputes between the mineral estate and the surface estate owners, and assisted publicly traded companies with legal issues and transaction due diligence.
There are several laws that govern the purchase and sale of securities. The determination of whether a financial instrument (stock, bond, promisory note, investment contract, etc.) is a “security” may be a critical legal point in a disputed transaction. For example, the sale of a partnership interest in a start-up company may be considered a security. This determination will have a direct impact on the controlling laws governing the transaction and the remedies or defenses the parties may rely on to pursue or defend the claims. These claims are usually coupled with fraud or the promoting company did not properly disclose investment risk.
We have handled very unique cases involving securities in the brokerage industry, transactions involving commodities, and start-up companies that have failed.
Our Firm handles very selective personal injury claims. We represent individuals and estates in wrongful death cases, sexual assault and work-injury claims (employer not subscribed to Texas worker’s compensation). In most situations, our clients have sustained both catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. These situations are traumatizing to both the victims and the immediate family. We serve as both counselors and attorneys in these situations and maintain the upmost confidence and professionalism. We often assist in health care treatment, counseling and disability assistance to the victims and their families.
Our appellate practice has been driven from our tenacious attitude toward litigation. In every engagement that we accept, we have the capacity and confidence to present your case before the Supreme Court of Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. We have also advised other attorneys with their cases when our Firm’s expertise could be applied to the legal issues at hand.
The fastest growing form of housing in the United States today is “Common-Interest Developments,” which include planned unit developments of single-family homes and condominiums. These Common-Interest Developments are almost always governed by an association of property owners, commonly referred to as a “Homeowners Association” or simply a “HOA”, which is a legal entity created by the real estate developer for the purpose of managing the development, maintaining development amenities and commonly-owned improvements, and enforcing development restrictions. Homeowners Associations often deliver services that were once the exclusive province of local governments, including trash pickup, street paving, and lighting, to name a few. This transfer, or privatization, of services has become commonplace as the demand for housing has outpaced the ability of many local governments to provide services. In addition, many Homeowners Associations also maintain swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and other amenities that most Americans cannot afford on their own, as well as provide security, social activities, clubhouses, walking trails, and more for the benefit of their homeowners and residents.
Our Firm has worked with developers to help create HOAs, and homeowners and Associations once an HOA was created to help interpret and enforce obligations created by the HOA governing documents.