Categories for Business Law

Trade Names

June 25, 2016

Can I register a trade name? Texas law does not provide for registration of a business’s trade name, whether that business is incorporated or unincorporated. Individuals and unincorporated entities that do business using an assumed name (often referred to as a “dba”) must file an assumed name certificate with the county clerk in each county in which business premises are maintained. If a Corporation, LLC,...

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LP Names

June 20, 2016

Can a corporate general partner of an LP have the same name as the limited partnership, except for the organizational identifier, i.e., “Co.,” “Corp.,” or “Inc.”? No. Filing entities cannot have names that are the same or deceptively similar, even if they are related companies or can obtain a letter of consent. Organizational identifiers, such as “Corporation,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” “L.L.C.,” etc., do not distinguish names...

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In Texas, a “Series LLC” is a limited liability company that is organized under Texas law that permits it to have one or more separate series of members, managers, limited liability company interests or assets with separate rights, powers, or duties and with respect to which the debts, liabilities and obligations and expenses existing with respect to a particular series may be enforced only against...

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Under Texas law, a limited liability company can operate for “any lawful purpose or purposes not expressly prohibited under chapter 2 of title 1 or title 3 of the Business Organizations Code.” Thus, as the business grows, the company is able to operate for multiple purposes, provide multiple lines of goods, offer a variety of services and more. Many small business owners start with one...

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Non-Compete Agreements

May 20, 2016

Non-compete agreements are popular mechanisms to restrain competition of both current and former employees and can be effective documents to obtain an employee’s pledge of loyalty and commitment to the company. Employers wishing to prevent their employees from working for a direct competitor during and after the term of employment may draft these agreements in an overly broad manner to deter employees from taking competing...

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  You may think that having meeting minutes as a single member limited liability company seems arbitrary…but there are several reasons why you should formally document fundamental business transactions. Chapter 101 of the Texas Business Organizations Code, which governs limited liability companies, does not explicitly require formalities such as meeting minutes. So why would you want to voluntarily take on additional paperwork? The attractive feature...

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Nuns in Bankruptcy Court

December 12, 2011

What an unusual headline: “More Nuns in Bankruptcy Court.” That was the news story on Senior Housing News, a website that reports on the senior housing industry. This story, which was also reported on by Business Week, concerns Clare Oaks, a retirement community in a Chicago suburb. Clare Oaks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure its debts. What makes the story newsworthy is...

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 On July 21, 2011, the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) quietly opened its doors for business. Most Americans do not know about this new agency; however the CFPB is a powerful ally for consumers and represents an important step in restoring balance between big business and the consumer. The CFPB is a federal agency tasked with the primary responsibility for regulating consumer protections...

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About half-way through your bankruptcy schedules you will discover "Schedule G – Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases." While the Bankruptcy Code does not have a specific definition of an executory contract, it is commonly understood as a contract between the bankruptcy debtor and another party in which the terms have not been completely performed. If one party fails to complete the unperformed terms, the contract...

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Many bankruptcy debtors need a credit card for work. Whether it is necessary for business purchases or travel, it is common for a debtor to ask, “Can I keep one of my credit cards?”   The answer to this question depends on a few circumstances. First, is there a balance on the card? If your card balance is zero on the day that you file...

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 During World War II American servicemen were cautioned against careless talk that might reveal information useful to the enemy. One popular saying was, “Loose lips sink ships.” Today, debt collectors are using a variety of information sources to locate income and assets. A similar warning may be applied to bankruptcy debtors: “Loose lips may sink your bankruptcy.” For some time debt collectors have used social...

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Preparing to file bankruptcy is about as fun as preparing for a tax audit. Fortunately, the preparation is the most difficulty part of the bankruptcy process, and the end result of your bankruptcy case is financial relief, rather than a potential tax bill. To get you started on the right track, here are four tips for preparing to file bankruptcy: Stop Using Credit Cards If...

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In theory debt settlement is simple: the debtor negotiates with the creditor to reduce a debt to an amount that is regarded as payment in full. It sounds honest enough: the debtor cannot afford to repay a debt, so the creditor agrees to accept a reduction. The creditor is paid something and the debtor avoids bankruptcy. In practice debt settlement is a nasty game of...

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 Call it poetic justice, or even karma. . . During the past few years Bank of America has been at the subject of harsh criticism for business practices that range from the mean-spirited (such as doubling credit card interest rates without notice, up to 28% for cardholders in good standing), to irresponsible (such as foreclosing on the wrong homes), to even fraudulent (such as the...

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Recently the State of Minnesota sued one of the largest collection agencies in the U.S. alleging the company used false and unreliable mass-produced affidavits as proof in consumer debts lawsuits. The suit was filed by the Minnesota Attorney General and states that Midland Funding, LLC and Midland Credit Management “aggressively filed thousands of lawsuits against individual citizens for collection of old, purchased debt, often supporting...

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In February we celebrate President’s Day, so now is a good time to reflect on some of the financial hardships a few of our Presidents endured and overcame. For many of these unfortunate Presidents, bankruptcy was not an available option. Fortunately, today’s federal bankruptcy laws make it easy to discharge honest debt and provide a fresh financial start. Thomas Jefferson Famous for founding the University...

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One of the most common questions asked about the bankruptcy process is, “Who will know about my bankruptcy case?” Filing bankruptcy is usually very confidential, but the Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure dictate that notice of your bankruptcy case must be sent to certain individuals and businesses. Bankruptcy is a legal process and is a matter of public record. Few newspapers will...

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 Many tough decisions are made when a family is struggling with debt.  Often debts are paid according to priority.  Those bills at the lowest priority may not get paid at all.  While this may be a good strategy under ordinary circumstances, it may back-fire when a bankruptcy is imminent.   The act of paying one creditor while ignoring another is called a preference payment by...

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When a small business encounters tough times, it is not uncommon for the business owner to do what is necessary to keep the business alive.  The obligation to keep the business going for family and employees is strong, and can often result in the business owner making decisions that create personal financial hardship.   Small business owners are required to withhold taxes from their employees’...

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New data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reveals that American consumers filed more than 1.5 million non-business bankruptcies during the federal government’s fiscal year ending September 30.  That is 14% higher than fiscal year 2009, when around 1.3 million consumer bankruptcies were filed.   “As the issues of unemployment and economic stress weigh heavily on today’s elections, consumers continue to seek the...

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The decision to file a personal bankruptcy can be emotionally difficult for many individuals.  Sometimes these emotions can make it difficult to accurately assess your financial picture.  If you are facing a financial dilemma, it is a good idea to consult with someone skilled in evaluating your finances and obtain advice.  The answer to a financial problem can vary from reducing spending, to increasing income,...

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Facebook is an internet social networking site that is just six years old, but it already boasts over 500 million active users.  That’s about 1 in 14 people in the world.  Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, or even network for business.  Unfortunately, many debt collectors have discovered that Facebook can be a gold mine for personal and...

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Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man; – Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet   Clients commonly want to know how to dress for the meeting of creditors.  This is the first (and usually the only) time you will see the bankruptcy trustee, so it is important to make the...

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The Bankruptcy Code provides real relief for individuals who have run out of financial options and can protect the debtor from creditor collection action even at the last minute.  By filing an emergency bankruptcy petition a debtor can stop a foreclosure or other legal action dead in its tracks.   When a debtor files a bankruptcy case all creditor collection action must cease immediately and...

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There is an old saying in the bankruptcy world, “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.”  It means the honest, but unfortunate bankruptcy debtor will keep enough property to live comfortably and then some.  On the other hand, when the debtor conceals assets, hides income, or attempts to keep more than legally entitled, the bankruptcy process may serve up the hoggish debtor on a silver platter. ...

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The effects of debt can affect your credit, your health, and even your job.  Calls to your work from debt collectors can interfere with your job performance.  Requesting payday advances from your employer can cost you a raise or promotion.  In some extreme cases your debt problem can even get you fired.    The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently reported that 39 Defense Finance and Accounting...

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The federal bankruptcy laws promise a fresh financial start for the honest but unfortunate debtor.  Bankruptcy balances the interests of the debtor to obtain his fresh start and the interests of the creditor to see that the debtor pays whatever he can afford.  In some circumstances the debtor can complicate his bankruptcy case before he files. Free Consultation  Mistake #1: Paying an Insider Creditor The...

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In 2004 and 2005, the banking industry spent millions lobbying for tougher bankruptcy laws. Washington Mutual, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. collectively spent $25 million during that period. The big banks’ efforts paid off in a major overhaul of the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 making it more difficult for struggling families to discharge credit card debt. However, the banks...

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In an episode of television’s “The Office,” the main character Michael Scott makes a misguided attempt to resolve his debt problems by publically stating, “I. . . declare. . . bankruptcy!” Video clips of this funny episode can be found on YouTube. Back in the real world, declaring bankruptcy is not nearly as public, or as simple, as shouting out “I declare bankruptcy!” The bankruptcy...

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By MITCH STACY – 4 days ago ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) — Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork. And just like that, the foreclosure proceedings came to a standstill. Lovelace and other homeowners around the country are managing to stave off foreclosure...

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NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) – U.S. regional retailer Fortunoff filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday and said it will try to sell the business, but if it cannot it will close its doors. The company, which sells jewelry, dinnerware and furniture in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, began suffering a "severe liquidity crisis" in January as it was trying to...

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