One of the things that many litigants find frustrating is the large amounts of time that can be spent in pursuing or defending against a lawsuit. A single business litigation case can take months, and when it enters the appeals system that time can stretch into years.
This is the situation that the McLennan County Appraisal District (MCAD) finds itself in, as it works to defend itself against breach of contract allegations leveled by Hoppenstein Properties. The lawsuit was first filed in 2009, and has yet to see final resolution.
The facts of the case revolve around some office renovations that Hoppenstein Properties had been contracted to complete for the MCAD. At that time, the MCAD had leased some property owned by Hoppenstein, and had arranged for a new 60-month lease to begin after Hoppenstein renovated the office space. The renovations were completed in 2008, but the MCAD found them unsatisfactory. They moved to a new location in 2009.
Hoppenstein then sued, claiming breach of contract and seeking over $500,000 in missed rent. The MCAD claimed that since it was a government entity, it was exempt from that type of contract dispute. A district court judge initially agreed with MCAD, and denied Hoppenstein's claim. A court of appeals also ruled in favor of MCAD, but then reversed its decision in favor of Hoppenstein following a Texas Supreme Court ruling on a similar case. The case is currently back in the hands of the district court.
The primary goal of the court system is to see that justice is done, and rightly so. But courts should also consider the amount of time that is spent in the pursuit of justice. It does little good to rule in favor of a defendant who has already been drained financially by years in the court system, or whose reputation has been irrevocably tarnished by constant media exposure. Fortunately, skilled business law attorneys can help to both expedite the process and take the personal burden off of clients by representing their interests in court. Contract disputes can be long and complicated course of action, but with proper representation, litigants will find the process far simpler.
Source: wacotrib.com, "Appraisal district back in court fighting breach of contract suit," J.B. Smith, Nov. 15, 2012