Winstead PC

In her thoughtful column in the January edition of the Texas Bar Journal titled, “Do You Suffer From Impostor Syndrome,” lawyer coach Martha McIntire Newman, focuses on a topic that has too long flown under the radar.  Ms. Newman describes this condition as “a state of chronic self-doubt that causes lawyers to fear they will be exposed as incompetent even though the evidence of their success is obvious to their colleagues and clients.”  TBJ, Jan.…
In Herring v. Am. Paper & Janitorial Prods., the plaintiff was a subcontractor who provided janitorial services for a bank and was also a depositor of the bank. No. H-17-3474, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215765 (S.D. Tex. December 24, 2018). After the plaintiff’s representatives were found stealing food after a party, the plaintiff’s contract was terminated. Later, one of the plaintiff’s employees was hired by another company, who was hired to clean the bank’s premises.…
A former broker at a national brokerage firm was recently sanctioned by FINRA after accepting instructions to transfer assets out of a client account. The problem? The instructions were actually sent by an imposter who had obtained access to the client’s account, presumably through some form of cyber-crime.  Unfortunately, the broker unwittingly contributed to the imposter’s malfeasance by not only accepting the instructions but by also taking pro-active steps to circumvent his brokerage firm’s controls.…
Court Holds That There Was Insufficient Evidence To Establish That Account Beneficiary Designations Were Executed As A Result Of Undue Influence In Fielding v. Tullos, an administrator of a decedent’s estate brought claims against the decedent’s housekeeper for undue influence and other related claims arising from the execution of new account beneficiary designations for certain accounts holding around $1.7 million dollars. No. 09-17-00203-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 7136 (Tex. App.—Beaumont August 30, 2018). The defendant…
Conflicts with business partners are not just a serious distraction for majority owners of private companies, these ownership disputes can be expensive, time-consuming and harmful to the long-term prospects of the business.  The start of a new year is therefore a great time for majority owners to consider whether there are steps they can take to head off disagreements with business partners. Fortunately, the answer is yes, and this post looks at New Year’s resolutions that…
In Cortes v. Wendl, an elderly woman signed a deed conveying her mineral rights to two individuals. No. 06-17-00121-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4457 (Tex. App.—Texarkana June 20, 2018, no pet.). When the woman’s nurse and friend learned of the transaction, she obtained a power of attorney and filed a lawsuit on the woman’s behalf, claiming that the mineral deed was executed as a result of duress, coercion, and undue influence, and that no consideration…
In Thunder Patch II, LLC v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., plaintiffs filed suit against a trustee in state court seeking a declaration regarding the enforceability of a mineral lease, and the trustee removed the case to federal court based on diversity of citizenship. No. 5-18-CV-00629-OLG-RBF, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207696 (W.D. Tex. December 10, 2018). The plaintiff filed a motion to remand and argued that there was not complete diversity because the defendant trustee should…
David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, discusses interesting fiduciary issues that Texas courts have discussed during the survey period of mid-2017 through mid-2018. Some of the issues covered are the tort of intentional interference with inheritance rights, the enforcement of arbitration and forum-selection clauses in trusts and wills, the enforcement of exculpatory clauses in trusts, trustees paying attorney’s fees in litigation, removal of trustees, trustee’s power to dispose of…
David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, presented “Tips for Managing the In-House and Outside Counsel Relationship” to the Southwest Association of Bank Counsel’s webinar series on December 13, 2018.  David discussed how to select counsel; items to include in engagement letters; communication suggestions at the outset of a matter, during a matter, and at the conclusion of a matter; and many other issues.  A copy of his presentation is attached below.…
When a private equity (PE) firm buys the controlling interest in a private business, the purchase often includes an earn-out provision which calls for the owner to remain active in the business for some period of time. The use of an earn-out provision can seem like a win-win for both parties, because it allows the PE firm to buy the company for a lower purchase price and provides the business owner with the opportunity to…