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Andrews Myers
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Andrews Myers Welcomes New Shareholder
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Sara McEown Joins the Construction Practice Group as a Shareholder

Andrews Myers is pleased to announce that Sara McEown has joined the firm as a shareholder. Sara comes to the firm after spending the last 13 years at a Texas-based AM Law rated firm, where she honed her skills on the transactional and dispute resolutions aspects of construction law.  She works with clients in all phases of the construction process with an emphasis on contract drafting and negotiation, dispute avoidance during construction, field management and administration, project close-out and dispute resolution. When litigation is unavoidable, Sara has over a decade of experience trying construction cases to verdict and through appeal, as well as real estate and commercial business disputes.
 

AM co-managing shareholder Ben Westcott said, “We are very pleased Sara decided to join our team. We’ve worked with, and against, Sara in many cases over the years, so we know she’s one of the go-to lawyers in Texas for contract drafting and negotiation.  This is an outstanding complement to our current strengths.

For Sara McEown's complete bio, click here.
 

Please join us in welcoming Sara to the firm.

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Shannon Giordano Joins as Marketing Manager
Shannon Giordano has joined the firm as marketing and business development manager for the Houston and Austin offices.  Prior to joining the firm, Shannon served as creative director for a local influencer and also was the director of events and membership for the  Associated General Contractors, Houston Chapter.  Welcome Shannon.
Litigation & Arbitration
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Price Escalation Clauses Can Soften the Blow of Tariffs in the Energy Industry
by Hunter Barrow and Patrick Kelly With United States policy makers voicing support for escalating tariffs as a part of ongoing trade negotiations with Mexico and China, the energy industry has been hit particularly hard.  In fact, in August 2019, after news broke that the United States planned to implement tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese imports, crude oil prices suffered their largest drop in four years.  Price increases on Chinese steal and equipment have impacted the energy industry’s bottom line, however Price Escalation Clauses can serve as a crucial tool for service providers in defraying cost increases such as these.
 
Price Escalation Clauses (PECs) allow parties to negotiate how to allocate the expense of cost increases over the course of a project.  PECs are the perfect mechanism for managing tariff-related cost increases on the steel and aluminum necessary for midstream services for several reasons. Read more...
Bankruptcy
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Oil & Gas Bankruptcies Spike in 2019
by Josh Judd   After a recovery from the 2014-2015 downturn in oil prices that resulted in many oil and gas companies filing bankruptcy, 2019 has seen another increase in energy bankruptcy cases.  Even though oil and gas production volumes from Texas and nationwide are at record highs, bankruptcy cases in the sector are again on the rise, with some oil and gas companies filing Chapter 11 for the second time.
 
According to court filings, the most recent filings are not necessarily tied to the price of oil, instead they are a result of large debt maturities and investor’s hesitancy to invest in shale plays.  As is the case with many large bankruptcy cases, it’s the shareholders suffering the most, while the lenders or bondholders often emerge as the new equity holders of the reorganized company. Read more...

AM Welcomes Three New Associates

Mahek Bhojani, a recent Juris Doctor graduate of University of Houston Law Center, has joined the firm's Corporate and Commercial Real Estate practice groups.
Patrick A. Kelly, who received his Juris Doctor degree at Baylor University School of Law, has joined the firm's Construction and Commercial Litigation practice groups.
Chris Scheurich, who recently received his Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law, has joined the firm's Construction Litigation practice group.
Employment
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Violating OSHA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Can be Costly
by Tony Stergio On August 23, 2019, a federal judge awarded over a million dollars in damages to two former employees after a company was found to have retaliated against them for assisting in an OSHA investigation.  The company fired one of the employees after OSHA began an onsite investigation, and fired the other shortly after OSHA issued citations.
 
The court’s award of $500,000 in punitive damages is the largest punitive award ever made under the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. In addition to the punitive damages, the judge awarded the former employees more than $500,000 in front and back pay and prejudgment interest. The judge also required that the employer and its owner post an anti-retaliation notice at the plant.  Read more...

EEOC Announces It will Not Collect Compensation Data Next Year

Just a reminder: Employers have until September 30, 2019 to file detailed employee compensation data (EEO-1 Component 2 data) with the EEOC. 

The EEOC recently announced that it would not seek approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect this EEO-1 Component 2 data for calendar years 2019, 2020, and 2021.  The agency will only seek approval from OMB to collect workforce demographic information (EEO-1 Component 1) data.  So while employers with more than 100 employees need to file EEO-1 Component 2 data in short order, it is unclear when employers will have to do this again.
 
Construction
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Repair of Construction Defects vs. Spoliation of Evidence—Advance Notice Matters 
by Manny Schoenhuber  No one anticipates project defects, yet they are omnipresent in the construction industry. When such defects are discovered, owners and contractors generally strive to collaborate in finding a cost- and time-efficient way to repair them. Quite frequently, however, disagreements arise over the responsibility for, or the very existence of, the defects. Whenever the disagreements between the owner and contractor result in litigation, repairing alleged defects can create serious spoliation-of-evidence problems because a contractor’s work in place is usually the best evidence to show whether the work was performed properly. If the as-built condition is no longer available for inspection due to the owner’s repair or alteration, concerns about spoliation of evidence arise.  Read more...
Real Estate
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Raising Tax Revenue for a Rainy Day
by Susan George and Mahek Bhojani  Notable examples of things that are actually bigger in Texas include food portions, hair volume, capitol buildings, and, unfortunately, property taxes. Top lawmakers in Texas have made providing relief to property owners a priority. Bolstered by the recently passed Senate Bill 2, also known as the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019, the Harris County Commissioners Court has started public hearings to garner some support for a rare tax increase projected to be approved in an October 8th vote.
 
The Act includes changes to the process for appraising the taxable value of property and to the procedure by which a city adopts a tax rate. Perhaps the most noted change is the provision that requires Texas cities, counties, and other taxing units to hold a public vote if the combined tax rate would result in increased taxes by more than 3.5% over the previous year..   Read more...

Andrews Myers Attorneys Recognized as 2019 Texas Super Lawyers & Selected for Three Top Lists

Super Lawyers, the well-established Thomas Reuters lawyer rating service, has published this year’s survey results for the October issue of Texas Super Lawyer magazine and eleven Andrews Myers attorneys made the list.
 

Select lawyers with higher than average scores are also recognized in Texas Super Lawyers’ “Top Lists,” including Top 100: 2019 Houston Super Lawyers, Top 100: 2019 Texas Super Lawyers and Top 50: 2019 Central/West Texas Super Lawyers.  Four attorneys with the firm have been selected for Top Lists this year.

 

The 11 Texas Super Lawyers for 2019, which are recognized across 11 different practice groups, are:


HOUSTON

William K. “Bill” Andrews (Top 100: 2019 Houston Super Lawyers; Top 100: 2019 Texas Super Lawyers) – Construction Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Hunter M. Barrow (Top 100: 2019 Houston Super Lawyers; Top 100: 2019 Texas Super Lawyers) – Business Litigation, Securities Litigation, General Litigation
Patrick O. Hayes – Real Estate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate
C. Elaine Howard – Employment & Labor, Real Estate, Business Litigation
Thomas W. “Tom” Myers – Surety, Construction, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Timothy C. Ross – Construction Litigation, Business Litigation
Anthony G. “Tony” Stergio – Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation
W. Jason Walker – Construction Litigation, Business Litigation
William B. “Ben” Westcott (Top 100: 2019 Houston Super Lawyers) – Construction Litigation

 

AUSTIN

R. Carson Fisk (Top 50: 2019 Central/West Texas Super Lawyers) – Construction Litigation, Business/Corporate, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Clayton Utkov – Construction Litigation, Business Litigation


Find Andrews Myers out at these events through October
9/26 : HCA Networking Mixer
10/1 : AGC of Texas Austin Area Monthly Luncheon
10/3 : Clayton Utkov & Andrew Scott present to AGC Prime Time in San Antoino
10/11 : AM Sponsores the Houston Business Journal's Commercial Real Estate Breakfast Series | Land/Industrial. Click here to register!
10/17 : AM Sponsors NAIOP Fall Event
10/18 : AM Sponsors MCA Houston Golf Invitational
10/22 - 10/23 : Lisa Norman presents at NAMC National Conference
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