Sometimes Texas construction lawyers see next level delaying tactics.
The client was a demolition company that was hired to demolish the public square of a local college. The job was supposed to take three weeks. However, the client had a backhoe cause some minor damage to one of the college’s existing buildings.
The client’s insurance company repaired the damage and the delay to the project was only a few days as the client worked weekends to make sure the overall project wasn’t unnecessarily delayed.
Once the project was 90% complete the general contractor told the client not to come back to the job site. There were procedures for terminating the contract and the general contractor ignored all of them.
The the general contractor refused to pay the sums due under the contract.
We sent a demand letter and the response from the general contractor’s lawyer was that the damage to the building was such that our client should not be paid. But…the insurance company paid for the damage and the repairs were made in a matter of weeks. So that was no defense.
We filed suit and the case was tried to a judge, not a jury.
We went to trial and the judge ruled in the client’s favor on about 95% of the items in question. So we obtained a significant judgment for the client.
The debtor general contractor refused to pay and so we sent the usual post-judgment discovery. Before the due date of that discovery the defendant paid 100% of the amount due under the judgment, including interest.
The client’s commitment was strong and they were well-rewarded.
A lender in Georgia had loaned money to a builder in Houston. The lender hired a large national law firm in Houston who obtained a judgment against the home builder. The builder specialized in large luxury homes.View Entry
Federal Court is Fine
Texas collections in federal court intimidates some lawyers. But you cannot be afraid of federal court.
Texas collections in federal court: This is another case where a lawyer obtained a judgment and was then unable to collect the judgment.
In this case the prior lawyer obtained a judgment for unpaid overtime wages against a tow truck company in Dallas Federal court. But navigating collections in federal court is even more complicated than Texas state court.
Frequently, lawyers are able to obtain a judgment in federal court, but collecting judgments in federal court is not something most lawyers have actually had to do.
Once retained, we performed our usual investigation into the debtor. From the documents it was clear the debtor’s only assets worthy of our efforts were the tow trucks and related equipment, like jacks. So we went directly to a motion for turnover ordering the debtor tow truck company to turn over all of their equipment.
the federal judge moved quickly to grant the motion and issued an order for turnover.
One difference in a state court turnover and a turnover in federal court is the level of involvement between a sheriff in state court and a marshal in federal court. In the case the U.S. Marshals were proactive and once they arrived at the debtor’s place of business looking for the tow trucks we were able to settle with the tow truck company on very favorable terms. As you might expect.
Prepare For Trial
Texas collections lawyers need to be prepared to go trial.
The client was in the business of closing loans for mortgage companies. He was paid a flat fee for each loan that he closed. During a difficult period in his life (including a mother passing away) he was distracted and failed to bill a significant number of closings.
After doing everything he could to collect this debt on his own, he found his way to us.
From the very beginning the debtor was clear that nothing would ever be paid. Trial seemed inevitable.
So many lawyers seem to assume the case will settle and fail to work it up for trial. But we find that preparing a case for trial is the most intimidating thing you can do to opposing counsel. As a result, we prepare every case as though it is going to trial. So this case was not particularly difficult for us.
Opposing counsel began making tiny offers in the weeks before tria hoping we would see them as lifelines. But since we were ready for trial, we weren’t interested. At trial we won everything we asked the judge to give us.
Yet again, preparation is shown to be the most important factor to success at trial.
An international company based in California obtained a multi million dollar judgment after a two-week trial against an individual who had defaulted on some obligations related to some real estate investment vehicles promoted by the client.
Assistant General Counsel in charge of the case needed lawyers that were experts in post judgment matters and fraudulent transfers. We were retained shortly after the judgment was obtained.View Entry