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What damages are recoverable for breach of contract in Texas?

In the course of your business, you, and other business owners throughout Texas, likely enter into all types of contracts. These may be with workers, equipment or service providers, customers and others. Should a business or person you are working with breach a contract you have entered into together, you may consider taking legal action. For obvious reasons, however, you may not want to resume doing business with a person or business following this type of violation. Aside from having them satisfy their contractual obligations, there are other types of remedies that you may pursue, including monetary damages.

Monetary damages are one of the most common resolutions for contract disputes.  These may include funds to compensate your losses, to compensate your foreseeable losses or to compensate for the time it will take to repair damages resulting from the breach. Under Texas state law, you may also be able to obtain attorney’s fees, in addition to other damages, in breach of contract claims. In general, the amount that you may recover depends on a number of factors, including whether the contract was totally or partially breached, any stipulations the contract may contain regarding breaches, the type of contract and what damages you suffered as a result of the breach.

Business dispute arises between soda companies over use of a word

Many business owners in Texas, and elsewhere, are aware of the importance of logos, color use and branding when it comes to consumer recognition. If a company’s competitor uses similar slogans, logos or colors to market its products, it could confuse customers and take potential business away. Sometimes, business owners will admit their mistake and change the logos or colors. Should companies refuse, however, it could lead to business disputes.

This is the case one specialty soda franchise based in Utah is dealing with. The CEO of Swig reportedly alleges that Sodalicious, another local soda company, has copied things from his business plan and is committing trademark infringement. According to reports, both specialty soda companies use the word dirty to describe their flavored drinks. Swig, however, has trademarked the use of the word in this way. Swig’s CEO also claims that Sodalicious copied his company’s pricing.

What constitutes wrongful termination in Texas?

As a business owner or operator in Texas, you know that you have to let employees go from time to time. While no worker is generally happy about losing his or her job, there are situations when a terminated employee may claim his or her firing was unjust. In order to help protect yourself from unnecessary litigation, it benefits you to understand what qualifies as wrongful termination in Texas.

The state of Texas is an employment at will state. This generally means an employer or a worker may end an employment relationship at any time. Either the employer or the employee may do this without any notice and for any, or no, reason. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule.

Tortious interference of business contracts

If you are a business owner in Houston, Texas, developing professional relationships that result in contracts or sales is one of the primary keys to your success. We at the Jackson Law firm are aware that when someone interferes with a contract or an understood agreement that you have worked to establish, the loss of that commerce can be devastating to your bottom line.

When a person commits a legal wrong that can be compensated through financial reparations awarded by the court, it is known as a tort. Tortious interference refers specifically to the wrong that is done to you when a person interferes with one of your contracts. According to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, a person may be liable to pay damages if he or she commits a deliberate action intended to cause issues between you and another party with whom you have established a contractual relationship.

What happens when a company copies your trademark?

Developing goods or services that allow you to provide unique offers to consumers is an important part of growing your business in Houston, Texas. To protect these from other businesses and maintain your niche in the marketplace, you can file for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If another company creates a similar mark or brand that leads customers to believe they are getting your product or service, that company could be guilty of trademark infringement, which is unfair competition and is against the law.

According to the USPTO, you have the right to file a civil action against the company that you believe has committed trademark infringement. In court, you will have to prove the following:

  •          You own the mark
  •          You created it first
  •          The copy is likely to be mistaken for yours on the market

Slander of title

If someone makes or publishes a false statement about commercial real estate that your business is trying to sell, it could affect your property’s value and cost you the success of the transaction. According to Texas law, this malicious act is known as slander of title. At the Jackson Law Firm, we understand that the result of slander can cause devastating loss for your business, and being able to rectify the damage of the false claim and recoup the financial loss can be critical to your company’s future.

To prove that you have been the victim of slander of title, you must be able to provide evidence to the court that the statement published was known to be false, or at least that the person should have known it was false. There must also be proof that the statement directly affected the sale of your property, and that you suffered damages because of it.

Former analyst claims wrongful termination, sues Fox Sports

There are state and federal laws in place, which prohibit employers in Texas, and elsewhere, from firing workers for certain reasons, including their race, religious beliefs or sex. Even in cases when employers act in accordance with the law, some terminated employees may feel that they were let go without proper cause. As such, they may choose to take legal action, which could be costly and disruptive to business.

According to reports, Craig James, a former football analyst, recently filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against Fox Sports. The network hired James to participate in its college football coverage. He worked in the studio on the season’s opening day, but he was fired the next day. James purportedly believes his alleged wrongful discharge was religious discrimination as a result of opinions he voiced regarding gay marriage during his 2012 U.S. Senate run.

The role of severance pay in an employment contract

When a company in Houston, Texas is offering an executive compensation package, severance is one aspect that is often included. It is not required, and according to the Texas Workforce Commission, severance pay is only enforceable when it is part of a written wage agreement. Earned wages, vacation time and sick leave do not count as severance pay because they are part of what the employee has already earned.

A severance package is often added to the executive compensation contract so that the prospective employee will feel more comfortable signing a noncompete agreement. The employee promises not to use or share company trade secrets for a pre-determined amount of time after leaving, and in return the business continues to provide a salary and benefits so the person does not suffer hardship while seeking employment that does not violate the noncompete.

What are deceptive trade practices?

Like other business owners or marketers in Texas, you may make grand assertions about the effectiveness of your produce or the quality of your services. While this is not generally a problem, business disputes may arise if you are overly deceptive in your claims. As a result of false advertising, you could face drawn out business litigation, which may adversely affect your bottom line.

If you engage in activities that are meant to mislead the public, it may be considered a deceptive trade practices. This may include claiming that goods are original or new when they are actually used, altered or second-hand; misleading consumers as to the geographic origin of the products or services you provide; or passing off others’ products as your own, or your products as those of others. Additionally, the use of unfair provisions in your contracts, engaging in coercive sales and collection tactics, and taking advantage of certain circumstances may also qualify as deceptive trade practices.

Appropriate times to withhold payment from a subcontractor

It’s always in a company’s best interests to adhere to the terms of a contract, especially when it comes to payment. Failure to pay someone for the work or service they do can result in business litigation. This can include Houston business owners who don’t pay fair wages to their employees and subcontractors. It also pertains to the payment terms outlined in a contract between a business and a subcontractor company.

In most cases, the law requires businesses to pay subcontractors for their work. According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, company owners have 35 days after a written request for payment to pay a subcontractor for work or services that were performed according to contract specifications.

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