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Tagged Posts: LLC’

Personal Liability for Environmental Violations (Part III)

December 15, 2016

In State v. Pure Tech Systems, Inc.,[1] the property at issue had been used for petroleum and hazardous substance operations dating back to the 1880s and was already subject to the state’s closure order by the time it was transferred to Pure Tech Systems, Inc. (“Pure Tech”).  Subsequently, the City of Cleveland issued a citation to close the facility for the city and state fire code violations, followed by a consent order to address the violations.  The state’s environmental agency also began regulatory compliance actions against Pure Tech, which resulted in two additional consent orders. … Read the rest

Personal Liability for Environmental Violations (Part II)

December 8, 2016

In Morello v. State,[1] White Lion Holdings, L.L.C. (“White Lion”), a company owned by Morello, bought a piece of real property that was previously used as a pipe-manufacturing facility.  The previous owner of the property had a state-issued compliance plan to clean up groundwater contamination at the facility, which was also transferred to White Lion after the purchase.  A few years later, the State of Texas sued White Lion for failure to adhere to the requirements of the compliance plan and sought to hold Morello individually liable as the manager and operator of the company. … Read the rest

Personal Liability for Environmental Violations (Part I)

December 6, 2016

As you know, one of the principal advantages of forming a limited liability company or corporation is that it offers protection from liability for business debts and obligations.  As you also know by now, however, this liability shield is not absolute.  We explained in our previous blog series “LLC Update: Piercing the Corporate Veil” that in certain limited situations, courts may “pierce the corporate veil” to hold LLC members liable for business debts and obligations, especially when they operate the business without the requisite corporate formalities, commingle personal and business finances, and/or use the business entity to avoid creditors. … Read the rest

Can an LLC Be Precluded from Exercising Its Right to Bankruptcy Relief?

October 11, 2016

To be sure, bankruptcy is not something that new and emerging businesses often think about.  But however unpleasant the thought might be, it may become necessary in the course of running a business to get a fresh start.  In the second quarter of 2016, for example, businesses with 1-4 employees constituted 38.39% of business bankruptcy filings, while businesses with 5-9 employees and business with 10-19 employees constituted 18.29% and 9.69%, respectively.[1]  While big businesses are not immune from the risks of bankruptcy, the numbers seem to suggest that the vast majority of bankruptcy petitions are filed by small businesses, making it all the more necessary for them to plan ahead.… Read the rest

Texas Law Update: Can I Make My Employee Sign a Non-Compete/Non-Solicit? (Part II)

September 29, 2016

For a non-compete/non-solicit to be enforceable under Texas law, it must be reasonable as to time, geographic area, and scope of activity.  Needless to say, it is a fact-specific inquiry and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  Generally speaking, however, a restrictive covenant that does not bear some relation to the activities of the employee or that contains an industry-wide exclusion from subsequent employment is unreasonable.[1]  And as you will see, it is often necessary to look at all the restraints together to determine the reasonableness of a non-compete/non-solicit as a whole.… Read the rest

Texas Law Update: Can I Make My Employee Sign a Non-Compete/Non-Solicit? (Part I)

September 22, 2016

In our previous blog series “Covenant Not To Compete When Buying or Selling a Business,” we looked at several state laws governing covenants not to compete in the context of buying or selling a business.  This time, we will look at Texas law in depth, focusing on non-competition and non-solicitation covenants in the employment context.  As we mentioned before, a non-compete is enforceable in Texas if: (i) it is part of an otherwise enforceable agreement at the time the agreement is made; (iii) the restraint imposed is no greater than is necessary to protect the goodwill or other business interests at issue; and (ii) it is reasonable as to time, geographic area, and scope of activity to be restrained.… Read the rest

When Things Fall Apart: Business Partnership, Disagreement, and Dissolution (Part IV)

September 8, 2016

In Mizrahi v. Cohen,[1] a dentist and an optometrist formed a limited liability company for the purpose of the construction and operation of a mixed-use building in which they intended to set up their respective offices.  The two did not have an LLC agreement at the time they formed the LLC; it was executed a few months later when they purchased the land.  The lender required an LLC agreement and the attorney who represented both members at the closing drafted an LLC agreement. … Read the rest

When Things Fall Apart: Business Partnership, Disagreement, and Dissolution (Part III)

September 6, 2016

In Saunders v. Firtel, as in Cline v. Grelock, the two business partners were close friends.[1]  Firtel was the sole owner of a pharmaceutical sales corporation called Adco and Saunders was a sales representative for a medical supply company.  In 1986, the two decided to enter into a formal business relationship by allowing Saunders to obtain a 49% shareholder interest in Adco and to become an employee of the company.  Their written agreement provided that both would devote their time and efforts to the business and receive an equal combination of compensation and fringe benefits but also allowed Firtel to spend considerable time away and apart from the business. … Read the rest

All postings are intended to be planning tools to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed therein. No posting is intended to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.