Business lawsuits cost you valuable time and money. Our Houston business litigators can guide you through complex commercial disputes and lawsuits, ranging from contract disputes, trade secret and intellectual property claims, employment disputes, and shareholder or partner conflicts, so you can get back to business.
- ADA Litigation Defense
- Administrative Law
- Arbitration & Mediation
- Bankruptcy & Creditor's Rights
- Breach of Contract
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
- Broker-Dealer Defense
- Business Owner Disputes
- Business Torts
- Cease and Desist Letters
- Civil & Administrative Appeals
- Civil Litigation
- Client Poaching
- Construction Arbitration
- Construction Defect
- Construction Delays
- Construction Lien
- Copyright Infringement
- Defense Against Deceptive Trade Practices Claims
- Dissolution of Businesses
- Employee Poaching
- Franchise Disputes
- Fraud & Misrepresentation
- Fraudulent Conveyance
- Insurance Coverage Disputes
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Investment Fraud
- Non-Compete Agreement Violations
- Non-Compete Litigation
- Partnership & Shareholder Disputes
- Patent Infringement Claims
- Piercing the Corporate Veil
- Removal & Special Appearances
- Shareholder Oppression
- Supplier & Vendor Disputes
- Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act
- The Texas Anti-Indemnity Statute
- Theft of Trade Secrets
- Trademark Infringement
Hendershot Cowart P.C. is a Houston-based business litigation law firm with decades of experience. Our clients range from small- and midsize businesses to multinational, publicly traded companies. Here are are some common areas of business litigation we handle on a regular basis, and how timely and knowledgeable legal advice from our experienced Houston business litigation lawyers can make the difference:
- Breach of contract. Contract lawsuits tend to be straightforward at first – one party says the other didn't meet an obligation, resulting in a loss – but these disputes can become complicated quickly, particularly when a contract is ambiguous or involves counter claims. As business litigation attorneys who represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of breach of contract disputes, we know what it takes to win a breach of contract dispute.
- Business torts. Business torts involve wrongs that cause (or are likely to cause) some type of harm to your business interests. This may include loss of business relationships or opportunities, loss of clients, reputational harm, and more. If an individual commits a wrongful act against your business, we can help you pursue legal action to protect your enterprise.
- Creditors' rights. Our creditors' rights attorneys will aggressively stand up for your rights, helping you navigate U.S. bankruptcy laws to pursue all available remedies to recover debts or defend against preferential transfer claims.
- Construction defect and construction delay claims. Construction projects are ripe for disputes: The stakes are high with multiple parties involved and multiple moving parts. If your project has gone awry due to another's breach of contract – or you find yourself defending against such a claim – let us help build an expert case to support your claim and protect your interests.
- Dissolution of business. Winding down a business – whether as a result of disputes, the death of a partner, or a voluntary exit – requires settling outstanding liabilities, liquidating assets, and providing legal notice of the dissolution to the Secretary of State. Hendershot Cowart's corporate attorneys can help you take the correct legal steps to protect your credit, your personal assets, and your reputation as you transition to what's next.
- Fraud and misrepresentation. Fraud and misrepresentation cases involve the accusation that one party intentionally deceived the other party, who relied on the deception their detriment. Unlike contract disputes, fraud and misrepresentation cases are "torts" that can result in punitive and other exemplary damages, and in some cases can even have a criminal component. If a person or entity's fraudulent actions harm your business, we'll work with you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
- Intellectual property (IP) litigation/theft of trade secrets. As a business owner, your IP is invaluable and gives you the competitive edge that keeps your business in the black. If someone infringes on your IP or steals protected trade secrets, we'll help you pursue the necessary legal actions to protect your livelihood. We can also help you defend against IP infringement accusations.
- Insurance coverage disputes. When a claim is filed, your insurer will often assign an attorney to review the claim. Do not mistake your insurer’s counsel as your own. That attorney is there to protect the interests of the insurer, not you. Our Houston, TX business litigation attorneys can represent your interests during all visits and discussions with insurance representatives to help you avoid exclusions and other coverage issues, and work toward a successful claim.
- Non-solicitation and non-compete violations. When an employee leaves an organization, he/she may have contractual obligations to not solicit the former employer's customers, or compete for a particular period of time and/or in a particular geographic area. The enforceability of those obligations often depends on the agreement and whether it has been enforced in a clear and consistent manner. Our business litigators can evaluate your non-solicitation or non-compete agreements to help you pursue or defend against claims.
- Partnership and shareholder disputes. When business partners, shareholders, members and other participants in an enterprise come to loggerheads about business decisions, distributions of assets, and other internal corporate operational and governance issues, the resulting litigation can be contentious and distracting. Our experienced business litigators can help you aggressively resolve such disputes while protecting the viability of the business.
- Supplier and vendor disputes. When you rely on vendors to gets your products or services to market, any disruption to that supply chain can be devastating and create a domino effect of missed deadlines and reputational damage. Conversely, suppliers can be injured when there are disputes over payment, delivered materials, or performance. Our experienced litigators can review the prevailing contract and pursue all available remedies to make you whole.
We Can Also Handle Business Lawsuits in More Niche Areas, Including:
- Alter ego/Single business entity
- Breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Construction arbitration
- Construction liens
- Defending against deceptive trade practices
- Defending against patent infringement claims
- Trademark litigation
- Defending or pursuing licensing agreement claims
- Fraudulent conveyance
- Shareholder oppression
Don't Wait to Call a Houston Business Litigation Attorney
The common theme running through these areas of business litigation is that the risk of litigation can be mitigated if you bring an attorney's perspective into your operations before disputes arise. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we help our clients take a proactive approach to the risks of business litigation. A little preparation can go a long way toward helping your business minimize or avoid the damage and expense of unexpected commercial litigation.
If the inevitable business dispute does arise, our Houston business litigation attorneys can apply more than a century of combined experience to the unique facts and circumstances of your case. You can rely on our ethical, aggressive legal counsel to get you cost-effective results in and out of the courtroom.
Business Litigation FAQ
- What Is the Difference Between Commercial Litigation and Business Litigation?
- What Is the Difference Between Commercial Litigation and Civil Litigation?
- What Are Reasons to Seek Business Litigation?
- Are There Alternatives to Litigation?
- Do Non-Business Owners Benefit from Retaining a Business Litigation Attorney?
- Can I Sue for Breach of Verbal Contract?
- Do All Commercial Litigation Cases Go to Trial?
What Is the Difference Between Commercial Litigation and Business Litigation?
Business litigation and commercial litigation are often used interchangeably, but there are some distinctions: Business litigation covers all disputes over setting up and running a business, including compliance issues with state and federal regulations, employment disputes, shareholder or partnership disputes, or breach of fiduciary duty. Commercial litigation (derived from its root word “commerce”) is more narrowly focused on disputes over contracts and transactions.
What Is the Difference Between Commercial Litigation and Civil Litigation?
Civil litigation involves lawsuits between individuals that do not involve criminal charges. Commercial or business litigation involves one or more business entities.
What Are Reasons to Seek Business Litigation?
The most common causes for business litigation include:
- Breach of contract – disputes over broken contracts ranging from non-compete agreements and non-solicitation agreements to vendor contracts, construction contracts, and more.
- Fraud or misrepresentation – any intentional deception of another for personal gain, such as embezzlement, misrepresenting material information, false financial information, payoffs, bribery, or kickbacks.
- Theft or misappropriation of intellectual property or trade secrets -- a trade secret is any protected, confidential information that, once released, could potentially harm your business. Texas law protects those trade secrets from misuse by employees, partners, or officers of your company.
- Breach of fiduciary duty – when we enter into an agreement or relationship with another party who, per the agreement, has an obligation to act in our best interest, we are creating a fiduciary duty. Company directors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their shareholders, trustees have a duty to protect the trust, financial advisors have a duty to serve their clients. It is illegal to violate that duty of trust and confidence.
These are only a few of the most common reasons to seek relief through business litigation. If your business or investments have been injured by the failure of another party to abide by governing laws or regulations or an existing agreement, speak to a Houston business litigation firm to discuss your case and the available resolutions.
Are There Alternatives to Litigation?
Yes, the alternatives to litigation are known as alternative dispute resolution. The two primary methods of alternative dispute resolution are arbitration and mediation. Arbitration is a private process in which both parties agree that an arbitrator (a neutral third party) will review the case and render a binding decision. Mediation is a negotiation facilitated by a mediator trained in dispute resolution and often takes place while parties await a court date (or arbitration conference) with the goal of reaching a “win-win” solution to the dispute.
Do Non-Business Owners Benefit from Retaining a Business Litigation Attorney?
You do not need to be a business owner or executive to need the services of a business litigation attorney. If your dispute involves a business entity or business transaction – including investments into a business opportunity – your matter is best handled by a Houston business litigation attorney with in-depth knowledge of Texas’ business and commerce codes and experience litigating commercial matters in Texas courts.
Can I Sue for Breach of Verbal Contract?
Most valid verbal contracts are legally enforceable in Texas unless the agreement is required to be in writing by Texas’ statute of frauds. For a contract to valid in Texas, it must meet certain conditions:
- An offer;
- Acceptance in strict adherence to the terms of the offer;
- A meeting of the minds, which is the subpart of offer and accepted elements, not independent elements;
- Communication (either in writing or verbally) showing that each party has consented to the terms of the contract; and
- Mutual consideration (a benefit each party gets, or expects to get, by entering the contract).
In addition, Texas’ statute of frauds, located in Texas Business and Commerce code, Section 26.01(b), requires certain agreements to be in writing before a court will enforce them. These include:
- Suretyship, which applies to “a promise by one person to answer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another person,” i.e., a loan agreement
- Contracts that are not performable within one year of making the agreement
- Promises by an executor or administrator to answer out of his own estate for any debt or damage due from his testator or intestate
- Certain medical arrangements
- Sales of real estate or leases of real estate for a term longer than one-year
- Agreements for oil or gas commissions
Texas courts may enforce verbal contracts as long as all of these conditions are met.
Do All Commercial Litigation Cases Go to Trial?
Retaining a business litigation attorney and filing a lawsuit does not mean that your matter will end up in trial. Often, disputes can be resolved before trial through informal settlements, mediation, or even arbitration. Your Houston business litigation team can help you devise a strategy that best meets your business objectives.
Read More About Business Litigation:
“I cannot say enough good things about my Lawyer, Mr. David Augustus. His calm, laser-like knowledge of business law allowed me to prevail and teach a few others during the short negotiations. Having the full backing of his law firm also helped greatly.” - L.A.
“Excellent experience working with Ray to settle our partnership disillusion. He was consistently available and steadfast in his guidance. Highly recommend this firm.” - S.H.