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Houston Business & Commercial Law Blog

Business owners can prepare for litigation

Texas business owners may face disputes that arise out of customer issues or contract problems. When the threat of litigation arises, it is important for businesses to protect themselves and prepare for the future. Litigation doesn't need to hurt the company seriously, and taking steps can help firms to handle it properly. By working with a business lawyer, companies can develop a plan to address serious issues as they arise.

In general, lawsuits over business disputes do not suddenly appear; instead, they will come out of long-standing issues with another party. In many cases, small businesses want to try to keep costs down and may try to resolve these issues themselves. However, once litigation arises, it is important for a company owner to rely on an attorney for professional help. All of a business' communications can become fodder for discovery, so it is important to take clear guidance on the conversations to follow.

Youth culture is changing real estate

When Texas real estate developers consider new projects on the horizon, they may be influenced by the appeal of youth culture. Generation Z, which is the generation after the Millennials, includes people born in 1996 or later. While many of these individuals remain too young to be significant investors, buyers or tenants of commercial real estate properties, the oldest members are graduating from college, entering the workforce and developing their portfolios. In addition, youth appeal now can mean long-term viability for projects in the construction pipeline.

Some of the effects of youth culture may be seen in choices for retail developments. While much has been said about the rise of online shopping, young people continue to prefer mixed-use developments with a strongly walkable and urban feel even when they are located in traditionally suburban communities. These environments promote social gathering spaces that attract customers when online shopping does not. In addition, restaurants continue to be a primary driver of retail markets. Going out to eat can be an event that provides a unique social experience. However, food delivery services in the "gig economy" are also on the rise. Restaurants may consider expanded kitchen space and reduced dining areas in order to meet the demand for delivery.

How employers can protect themselves when firing a worker

Texas employers should take steps to ensure that they protect themselves if they need to fire an employee. In fact, these actions can begin long before the termination process and start when people are hired.

Employers should have handbooks that outline all of their policies. New employees should be given this handbook as well as a statement of their responsibilities in writing. Expectations for the employee should be clear. The employee should sign a statement acknowledging receiving and reading these documents, and this statement should be placed in the employee's file.

Texas dentist faces lawsuit from investors

Plaintiffs in Austin filed a lawsuit against a local dentist who allegedly collected funds for an investment opportunity and then ran off with the money. Investors were allegedly told that their thousands of dollars would be used to open multiple dental practices in Travis County. Plaintiffs also claimed that the dentist is not licensed yet and did not reveal that information when collecting funds for the investment. Plaintiffs claim that more than half a million dollars was stolen in the scam.

According to Texas State Board of Dental Examiners records, the defendant in the lawsuit surrendered his license after being accused of false advertising. His marketing materials stated that his practice had multiple elite providers when there was only one, and they also offered discounts and freebie services without disclosing actual prices.

Playboy files a lawsuit against cryptocurrency company

Texas residents may be interested in learning that Playboy has filed a lawsuit against Global Blockchain Technologies, a Canadian cryptocurrency company, for allegedly breaching on a contract. The lawsuit was filed earlier in August in Los Angeles Superior Court.

According to reports, Playboy announced a partnership with GBT in March. The cryptocurrency company was supposed to develop an online wallet across Playboy's online channels for payments. It was also supposed to pay Playboy $4 million. Playboy alleges that GBT has failed to meet its contractual obligations to develop the online payment wallet and to pay what the company allegedly owes.

The basics of commercial property investing

The rewards of commercial real estate investing in Texas and around the country can be great, but navigating a profitable path around the pitfalls involved takes a combination of careful planning and a willingness to take risks when opportunities present themselves. Success in this area also requires an understanding of the commercial property market and familiarity with the terms and calculations experts use when assessing the merits of real estate deals.

The capitalization rate is perhaps the most important commercial real estate calculation. Cap rates reveal how much income a property generates relative to its value and can be a valuable tool when comparing investments. Usable and rentable square footage figures are also useful in these situations, and they can be calculated by deducting the space taken up by common areas like stairwells, hallways and corridors or adding shared areas such as lobbies and bathrooms.

Entering the world of commercial real estate

Commercial real estate can be a great investment opportunity for people in Texas who want to enjoy excellent returns in a stable, long-term investment. Many wealthy people have made their fortune through real estate investments, and a number of investors enjoy a significant real estate portfolio as part of their wealth management systems. Because of the opportunities and stability provided by these types of investments, many are interested in expanding their reach to benefit from commercial projects.

Because commercial real estate is a long-term investment that sells infrequently, this means it is a good choice for investors who are not looking to flip their purchase quickly. It is a less liquid asset and should be combined with more liquid assets as part of an overall investment portfolio.

Defending against trade secrets misappropriation

Since the Defend Trade Secrets Act became law in 2016, companies in Texas have been able to take other parties to federal court when they detect misuse or theft of their trade secrets. Before the DTSA, trade secrets litigation went through state courts.

Companies have experienced an increasing need to protect their proprietary information. Digital technology has enabled people, particularly departing employees, to copy and share intellectual property easily. Low unemployment also gives workers greater freedom to move to new jobs, and companies have needed to defend their rights to trade secrets vigorously as employees come and go.

Resolving construction disputes with technological evidence

BIM, or building information modeling, can be an important part of the construction process for builders in Texas. It can also be an important part of dispute resolution after a project has been completed. Contract disputes in the construction industry concern an average value of $21 million each, and these disputes take an average of 14 months to resolve. For active businesses, these costly and lengthy disputes can be important but also divert attention from central concerns, so minimizing the cost and duration of a construction dispute can be a key goal.

Two of the most common reasons for construction disputes are errors and omissions as well as unsubstantiated claims, and BIM can be helpful in resolving both. Contractors use BIM to generate ongoing 3D images of a project throughout the stages of its development and life; the process can be used collaboratively by owners, developers, builders, architects and others involved in the project. It has grown in popularity along with the improvements in technology that make it possible and has been responsible for reducing construction costs by coordinating the management of a project.

Cardi B files countersuit for breach of contract

Music fans in Texas may be interested to learn that Klenord Raphael, the manager/producer also known as Shaft, has filed a lawsuit against artist Cardi B. The suit alleges that he has not been properly compensated for his role in her ascension as a rap artist. In the documents filed, Raphael claims that he played a major role in 'conceiving, arranging and orchestrating" her successful career.

In 2015, he claims that he discovered her and shaped her career's trajectory in the business. In a recent interview, one of his representatives discussed how he took her from influencer status to a legitimate rap artist. He stated that he played a larger role in her evolution and isn't pleased with her attempts to phase him out of her career. The manager further claims that she has defamed him on multiple occasions.

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