Copy
Twitter Facebook YouTube LinkedIn Google Plus Instagram
Andrews Myers
We Mean Business in Texas
Construction

Is it Finally Time for Lien Law Reform?

by Andy Harris It is well known that Texas has some of the most complex (and confusing) lien statutes in the country. In recent years, trade organizations, construction industry leaders, and even lawyers have aligned to push for reform of these lien laws. With each legislative session comes renewed hope that our state lawmakers will finally pass a bill to modernize and simplify mechanic’s liens in this state.

The Texas legislature meets once every other year for approximately five months. As a result, each November election cycle leads into a new legislative session the following January. And with each legislative session comes optimism for statutory reform on certain hot topics in the construction industry—including lien reform.

For the past decade various industry groups have been meeting with state representatives and other elected officials in an attempt to convey the difficulties in the current lien law regime. In a few prior legislative sessions, bills have been introduced in committee that could have reformed Texas lien laws, typically in a fashion similar to many other states in the union. However, the state legislature has failed to enact any of these proposed changes. ... Read More
Corporate
Who are the New Accredited Investors?
by Brenton Pharis   On August 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to Regulation D to cautiously expand the definition of “accredited investor” in their rules. The change will give additional categories of investors access to certain private offerings of securities that rely upon Regulation D. This regulation has always allowed a small number of persons who are “non-accredited investors” to make investments under the rule. However, the added complications of sales to such persons often caused issuers to forgo sales to non-accredited investors.

The Commission also made changes to allow some other entities to qualify as accredited investors. The changes become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The definition as it has operated since the 1970s has only ever received minor amendments. It says that individual investors were generally required to meet specific tests of annual incomes during the two prior years, or an asset test that was changed only slightly over the intervening decades. ... Click here 
Litigation & Arbitration
The Painfully Slow Return to Commercial Jury Trials
by Jim Aycock  Getting a commercial case in front of a jury has always been a long process. In the last decade, scheduling orders issued in Harris County District Courts have commonly reflected at least a 12-month journey to an initial trial setting, with jury trials rarely being reached on their first setting.  Following Hurricane Harvey, damages to the courthouses resulted in even longer schedules.  Now, with the continuation of the COVID pandemic, jury trials have, until very recently, ground to a complete halt.

Fortunately, recent efforts by several judges and county officials have resulted in jury trials slowly resuming in Harris County. To make this a reality, the District Clerk’s office has formulated a new process by which it pre-registers and calls potential jurors to jury duty after multiple levels of COVID screenings. To facilitate the paneling of jurors, several jury assembly rooms have now been built at NRG where a relatively small number of jurors are asked to report for jury duty each day. With all this in place, the State’s Office of Court Administration (“OCA”) has approved plans submitted by several Harris County District Courts to conduct a limited number of jury trials.

Despite these steps, the return to “normal” has been, and will continue to be, painfully slow. For the month of September, only 21 jury trials were authorized by the OCA to proceed throughout the entire Harris County court system.  Of those 21 scheduled jury trials, only seven were civil cases, with the rest being in the criminal or family courts.  As of September 20, only three of those seven cases had actually seated a jury, with several others being continued. ... Read More
Singapore Convention Simplifies International Disputes
by Manny Schoenhuber On September 12, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the “Singapore Convention”) entered into force. The Singapore Convention—a treaty now signed by 53 countries, including the United States, China, and India—requires that courts in contracting nations recognize and enforce international settlement agreements reached through mediation. In short, under the Singapore Convention, mediated settlement agreements will be enforced internationally in any country ratifying the treaty.
 
The Singapore Convention adopts a format similar to the almost universally adopted United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) in cross-border arbitration. Upon ratification of the Singapore Convention, businesses will be able to seek enforcement of their mediated settlement agreements in national courts by providing a copy of the settlement agreement and evidence that the parties reached the settlement agreement through the use of mediation. ... Read More
Employment
Non-Competes... Who Needs 'Em?!
by Colby Hodges   At the intersection of hiring and developing key employees, protecting sensitive data, and growing a customer base, non-competition agreements can be a vital and sometimes necessary part of any business’ HR strategy. Over the past two decades, Texas courts have shown more and more deference to non-compete agreements; a positive step for employers who seek to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  Often, the question raised is “How do I know if I need a non-compete?” 
 
A non-compete agreement is a powerful tool that can be used to protect confidential business information. Business owners should be mindful of what information is given to which employees. The receptionist at the front desk likely does not have or need access to strategic pricing information or project financials. On the other hand, project managers or senior-level sales leads likely interact with such information on a routine basis and need it to perform their daily duties. In the wrong hands, such data could be beneficial to a competitor and is thus worth protecting. Accordingly, as a rule of thumb, the more access an employee has to confidential business information, the more likely a non-compete is a wise protective measure. ... Read more
About Andrews Myers
Where to find Andrews Myers next month
10/06 - Houston Area Subcontractors Clay Shoot
10/06 - Houston Contractors Association Hiring & Firing Panel with Tony Stergio
10/07 - Houston Bar Association Golf Tournament
10/15 - CREW Annual Forecast Presentation
10/16 - Houston Business Journal State of Commercial Real Estate Webinar
10/21 - NACM Liens Webinar with Ben Westcott
10/22 - Houston Business Journal Best Places to Work Live Stream
Celebrating 30 Years in 2020
Founded in 1990, with offices in Houston and Austin, Andrews Myers, Attorneys at Law, is a corporate law firm and recognized market leader in Texas construction law.  The firm focuses on the concentrated disciplines of commercial litigation, construction, commercial real estate, corporate and business transactions, with additional emphasis on related issues including bankruptcy and insolvency, energy, employment and capital formation. A seasoned team of attorneys provides timely and cost-effective solutions to the most complex problems facing entrepreneurs and middle-market industry leaders throughout the state and the nation. For more information please visit www.andrewsmyers.com.
COVID-19 Updates
Andrews Myers attorneys have been tracking and updating the many changes that could effect you and your business throughout the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. To see all of the articles and information you may have missed, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page on the AndrewsMyers.com website. To subscribe to our newsletter, click here
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences