child with sparkler and lighter

Andy Taylor’s seven-year-old son, Opie, discovers the fireworks that his father had purchased for Independence Day. He begins shooting them in a field behind their house. But Opie fails to extinguish one of the matches, which sets fire to the arid grass. Opie attempts to stomp it out but is unsuccessful. Terrified, he flees. The blaze continues to grow, spreading across the field to a nearby lumber yard. The fire consumes—and destroys—the lumber yard. Its owner looks to hold someone responsible, but is keenly aware that little boys lack the assets necessary to satisfy any judgment rendered against them. So the lumber yard’s owner considers suing Andy instead. Is Andy liable for his son’s negligence?
Continue Reading Blame the Parents: Liability for Children’s Torts

Female legs with 2 arrows and question mark, painted on the asphalt.On Father’s Day, Morgan Bux celebrated with her dad Big Daddy Bux and asked him to team up with her to buy the fast-growing Green Earth Air Conditioning and Heating, LLC in Buda from the Green Earth retiring owner Gaia. Morgan suggested to Big Daddy that he invest her inheritance in Green Earth and work with her to grow the business as part of his own retirement and estate planning. Big Daddy’s tax and estate planning lawyers outlined a plan. Morgan’s business consultant recommended the formation of a Green Earth advisory team to support her after the purchase and developed a long-term plan for management growth and business expansion. To complete the purchase, should Morgan buy the assets or Gaia’s membership interest in the Green Earth limited liability company? Often buyers would rather purchase the company’s asset while sellers prefer to sell the stock / membership interest in the entire company. Why is that? What would Morgan and Big Daddy prefer?
Continue Reading Buying Daughter a Business – Assets or Stock?

Yellow metal sign.Angelica Bux and her son Duke own a fast-growing, family business Blue Skies Air Conditioning and Heating, LLC in Cotulla Texas. Angelica plans to retire by selling Blue Skies to Duke to fund her retirement.  Their business consultant developed their near-term plan to expand and maximize their business’ value. More recently, their tax and estate planning lawyers outlined an effective tax transition plan and the formation of a Blue Skies’ advisory team to support Duke’s management after the sale. To complete the purchase, should Duke buy the assets or Angelica’s membership interest in the Blue Skies’ limited liability company? Often buyers prefer to purchase the company’s assets, and sellers would rather sell the entire company. Why is that? Does an inter-family sale affect their decision?
Continue Reading Selling Mom’s Business – Asset or Stock Sale?

Defaulting renter with facemask receives letter giving notice of eviction from home on wooden tableDrake Goodman and Patty Palmer lease a studio apartment to Carter Haynes. But Haynes has not paid rent since last May, when the shelter-in-place orders caused his fledging restaurant to go out of business. While sympathetic to Haynes’s plight, the loss of rental income has severely damaged Goodman and Palmer’s own finances, and they are growing increasingly desperate. Can they evict Hayes? Should they?
Continue Reading CDC’s Eviction Moratorium: Legal Limbo for Landlords and Tenants

open sign on business door

Reeling from months of governmental orders that required all restaurants to close their doors, Chez Quis was elated to re-open and welcome back its diners, even at a reduced capacity. But elation quickly turned to despair when Chez Quis learned that one of its longtime customers, Abe Froman, had sued the restaurant for allegedly contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) while dining there. Has Chez Quis jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire?
Continue Reading Stay Shut Down or Be Sued? The Risk to Your Business from COVID-19 Premises-Liability Claims

laptop with envelope handshake

Before the pandemic, Ernest Bux’s niece Chit Bux signed a lease with Iona Mall in an upscale strip shopping center and hired a contractor to build out her dream business – a beauty salon “Cuts & Fluffs.” When Dallas County ordered businesses to shutter last spring, Chit’s “essential business” construction on her salon continued toward meeting the originally scheduled July 1st opening date – perhaps the worst time to open a high-touch, close-quarters beauty salon. Having dealt with other unsuccessful startups in that same space, Iona needed Cuts & Fluffs to succeed; Chit needed a different opening date – much later when people were less fearful of crowds. Chit called Iona, her contractor and her banker who was shepherding her SBA loan. Can Chit work something out with Iona without completely modifying her lease?
Continue Reading Can an Email Exchange Modify a Lease?

Tiger cubDriving through Oklahoma recently and watching Tiger King of late, Ernest “Big Daddy” Bux was intrigued that they are apparently 5,000 to 15,000 tigers in the United States and only 3,500 in the “wild.” Hearing that an 8-12 week old cub offered for “cub petting” in a roadside petting “zoo” could pay back over $1 million, Big Daddy decided that his Big Bux Ranch was big enough to add a roadside business and raise pet tigers. Does the State of Texas permit Big Daddy to keep pet tigers? Does Big Daddy have any liability for keeping them?
Continue Reading Tiger King 2.0: Is a Texas Roadside Zoo Permissible?

Closed sign. (Sorry we are closed)

Wanting to diversify his investments, Ernest “Big Daddy” Bux signed a franchise agreement with GA Fitness last year. Construction by Big Daddy’s contractor Bill Toosuit is scheduled to be completed for in time for an early May grand opening in the new strip center owned and managed by Mawl & Mawl. Last week, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town’s mayor and the state governor prohibited any gathering of more than 10 people and directed that all bars, restaurants and gymnasiums close. Now that gymnasiums are prohibited from opening, Big Daddy’s business is almost certain to fail, and Mawl & Mawl loses a tenant. If Big Daddy stops construction and buys out his current lease obligation, Bill Toosuit loses his construction project and Mawl & Mawl loses a long-term tenant. Can Big Daddy get out of his lease obligations? And his construction contract? Are there other options to get to a win-win?
Continue Reading Can COVID-19 Trigger a Force Majeure Defense?

Woman hangs a card with information about the store closing on a shop window due to the coronavirusWanting to diversify his investments, Ernest “Big Daddy” Bux signed a franchise agreement with GA Fitness last year. Construction by Big Daddy’s contractor Bill Toosuit is scheduled to be completed for in time for an early May grand opening in the new strip center owned and managed by Mawl & Mawl. Last week, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town’s mayor and the state governor prohibited any gathering of more than 10 people and directed that all bars, restaurants and gymnasiums close. Now that gymnasiums are prohibited from opening, Big Daddy’s business is almost certain to fail, and Mawl & Mawl loses a tenant. If Big Daddy stops construction and buys out his current lease obligation, Bill Toosuit loses his construction project and Mawl & Mawl loses a long-term tenant. Can Big Daddy get out of his lease obligations? And his construction contract? Are there other options to get to a win-win?
Continue Reading Can COVID-19 Make a Contract Impossible to Perform?