Legal (and Common Sense) Advice for Halloween


With Halloween just around the corner, it seems only fitting that it should be the topic of this week’s blog post.  While you are decorating your house, carving your pumpkins, and picking out your costumes, you might not be thinking about avoiding legal entanglements that may result from the celebration.  Thankfully, you read my blog, and I have compiled a short list of things for you to consider this holiday weekend:

Emails Can Create Enforceable Contracts

 Email Envelopw

Email has become the standard form of written communication in the business world.  It should come as no surprise that the laws have adapted to accommodate this new age of electronic communication.  We routinely enter into contracts while shopping online, but the formality of the experience leaves little question that we are entering into an enforceable agreement.  What many of us fail to recognize is that an enforceable agreement can be reached as a result of an exchange of emails.

HOA Horror Stories


Ahh, HOA’s.  You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em.  And those who hate ‘em usually have a good reason.  Maybe the HOA is on their case about a fence needing repair.  Maybe it’s that dues haven’t been paid on time and the HOA is threatening foreclosure (yes, strange as it may seem, most HOA’s have the authority to take your home if you do not pay).  Maybe it’s a fine that was imposed because you went on vacation and forgot to have someone cut the grass. No infraction is too small for some HOAs.

I’ve represented homeowners in disputes with their HOAs, and let me tell you, nothing surprises me anymore.  Sure, there are some good HOAs out there.  But there are also a lot of bad ones, ones that will spare no expense in “ensuring a homeowner’s compliance.” That often means legal action, with the homeowner viewed as easy prey.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Fortunately the laws governing homeowners associations are beginning to change, with more protections built in for homeowners.  But a lot more work is left to be done.  I will be attending a conference in a couple of weeks where some of these changes will be discussed.  I’ll make another blog entry upon my return.

In the meantime, check out Jacquielynn Floyd’s editorial in Dallas Morning News about how living is easy IF you bow to your HOA.

New Laws of Interest

2015 New Laws

The 2015 Texas Legislature did a lot of good work during the 84th Legislative Session.  Many of the most notable bills passed involved the budget, tax cuts, education and transportation.  If you are the typical Texan, you will likely acknowledge that these laws are important and that they will ultimately affect your life in some minor way whether you realize it or not.  That being said, I have skimmed through the most recent legislative update and identified some new laws that might interest you on a more immediate level.  Here is my list of interesting new laws that have, or will soon, go into effect:

The Last Out:  Coach is “SLAPPED” for suing baseball volunteers.

Last Out 4

The last “out” was just made in our baseball anti-slapp case where a coach sued another coach and the president of the league for “ruining his reputation” stemming from events at a 7 year old’s baseball game (see prior entries here and here).     After appeal, and reversal, the Trial Court just ordered the Plaintiff to pay the Defendant’s   legal fees totaling over $60,000.00!  The Judge also sanctioned the Plaintiff $20,000.00 to deter him and others from filing similar lawsuitsThat’s a judgment FOR the Defendants to be paid by the Plaintiff for over $80,000.

I suspect that the Coach who sued, wishes he would have moved on to enjoy his summer, as we suggested, instead of filing a lawsuit over such a silly event.

Freedom of speech and protection from this type of lawsuit, is alive and well in Texas!   So, the next time a loudmouth bully with more money than sense threatens to sue a volunteer Board Member or coach for turning him in for bad conduct, wish them luck and tell them to save their money.  They may need it to pay your legal fees.   A home run for Texas volunteers and youth sports!