Red Flag Law

We are attorneys representing businesses in Houston, Texas.  Clients of ours have asked about “red flag” regulations relating to identity theft.  Recently, federal authorities created regulations governing consumer “accounts.”  Section 114 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act directed several government agencies to prescribe joint regulations requiring each financial institution and creditor to establish reasonable policies and procedures for implementing the guidelines, to identify possible risks to account holder or customers or to the safety and soundness of the institution or customer.  Financial institutions and creditors must periodically determine whether they offer covered accounts.  A “creditor” is a person

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Condemnation Issues in Commercial Leases in Houston, Texas

As lawyers who assist clients in documenting transactions, we are often asked to review commercial real property leases. Commercial leases can take many forms and can address many aspects of a real estate transaction.  Common elements to commercial leases are the conveyance of the right of possession, the lease term, rental amount and the rights of the tenant as well as the rights of the landlord.  This blog is not intended to cover all of the possible terms in a lease.  It is important to have an attorney with experience in commercial real estate transactions review the lease and give you advice before signing any lease. One common issue which parties fail to address in commercial leases is condemnation.    Condemnation refers

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Business Entity – What Houston Lawyers Recommend

As business lawyers we are often asked about the differences between “C” Corporations and “S” Corporations.  A “C” Corporation is the default choice for business corporations.  Publicly traded corporations are “C” Corporations.  Corporations provide shareholders protection from being held personally liable for a corporation’s debts in many situations.  If the corporation is sued or files for bankruptcy, the shareholders are not held personally liable for the debts of the corporation (unless there are guarantees or extenuating circumstances).  This is true whether you choose "C" or "S" tax treatment. The difference between "C" and "S" Corporations is how they are treated for tax purposes.  “C” Corporations are  subject to the

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What Every Texas Business Should Know About Worker’s Liens

As Houston business lawyers, we are sometimes asked by local business whether a repair shop can keep or repossess a vehicle. In Texas, a worker who repairs a vehicle, motorboat, vessel or outboard motor may retain possession of the article until the amount due under the contract for repairs is paid, or if no amount is specified by contract, the reasonable and usual compensation is paid. If a worker who repairs a vehicle, motorboat, vessel or outboard motor relinquishes possession of the article because the worker is given a check, money order, or credit card and the payment is stopped or dishonored, the worker may be able to repossess the article.  If the check, money order, or credit card transaction on which payment is made is

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Houston Commercial Lawyers on Employing Minors

As business lawyers in Houston, Texas, we are sometimes asked about the employment of minors in Texas.  As a general rule, in Texas you may not employ a child under the age of 14, and there are specific restrictions on the employment of 14 and 15 year old children.  The following are some of the restrictions to the employment of 14 and 15 year olds: •    The child may not work more than eight hours in one day; •    The child may not work more than 48 hours in one week; •    If the child is enrolled in a term of school, the child may not work: •    Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a day that is followed by a school day; •    Between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on a day that is not followed by a school day; •  

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Commercial Attorneys Discuss Patient Records

As commercial attorneys in Houston, Texas, we are asked by medical business clients whether doctors can charge for producing records requested by patients and others.  The Texas Medical Practice Act, which is part of the Texas Occupations Code, governs the disclosure of confidential patient medical and billing records.  Any licensed physician who receives written consent for release of a patient’s information must furnish copies of the requested medical or billing records, or a summary of the records, including records received from another physician or health care provider. In the Texas Occupations Code, “physician” is defined as a person licensed to practice medicine in the state of Texas.  Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code

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Independent Contractors According to Houston Attorneys

As business lawyers in Houston, Texas, we are often asked how to determine whether people who work for a client should be considered independent contractors or employees.  The IRS defines an “independent contractor” as one who offers their services to the public and that the employer has the right to control or direct the result of the work but not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.  The IRS determines employee status by assessing the relationship between the worker and the employer for which he works.  The factors considered by the IRS are: Behavioral control: •    how much influence the employer exerts over how, when and where the work is performed; •    how much influence the employer exerts over the equipment

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Houston Collection Lawyers on the Significance of Judgments in Texas

We are Houston, Texas based lawyers. who are often asked by clients to take judgments, collect judgments and overturn judgments.  It is important for individuals and business entities to know whether a judgment has been taken against them and whether that judgment is final.  A “final” judgment has important consequences, because generally an appeal can only be made from a final judgment.  Additionally, the date the final judgment or final order disposing of the case is signed begins the deadlines for filing any post-judgment motions and appeals deadlines.  In Texas, the period in which the court that signed the judgment still has power of the judgment is also calculated from the date the final judgment or order disposing of the

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Small Business and Maternity Leave Issues

Fettner Thompson serves small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Houston, Texas area. One question that has been asked by businesses over the years is: "How should we handle maternity leave?"  The answer to that question varies depending on a number of factors, the most important of which how many employees the business has and whether the employee handbook addresses the situation. Another important issue is whether there is a contract between the employee in question and the business. If there is a contract, the contract ordinarily (but not always) is the controlling document when it comes to questions regarding maternity leave.  The policies in the employee handbook should be followed if the handbook addresses maternity

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