Tag: Mosser Law

Meeting a Lawyer: Four Things to Bring

An initial client meeting with a lawyer is a time of evaluation. You, the potential client, evaluate the lawyer to see if his or her firm will fight for your rights, while the lawyer evaluates your case to see if it is something the firm can help you with.

Here are four things to bring to your initial meeting to help it go well.

1.  Your Story.

The lawyer needs to know what has happened in order to evaluate the potential of your case, but if it takes an hour for you to tell your story, you’re using too much detail. You should prepare a short version of your story, one that gives an overview of the major points in less than 15 minutes. Don’t leave out any important elements, of course, but keep your story to the point. If the lawyer wants you to elaborate about something, he or she will ask.

2.  A Time Line.

In order to help yourself communicate clearly and efficiently, write down a brief time line of what happened. This will become vital information for your lawyer when he or she drafts pleadings, or legal documents that assert your claims. Example:

  • May 24, 2004 – signed lease with tenants
  • August-December 2004 – rent consistently late
  • January 2005 – no rent paid
  • February 1, 2005 – sent letter warning of eviction
  • February 15, 2005 – lockout on property

3.  Documents.

Depending on your type of case, you will need to have certain documents to prove your claims. However, it is generally a good idea to keep records of the following: correspondence, phone logs and voicemail logs, legal documents related to previous cases, medical records, contracts and leases, invoices and checks, bank statements, tax documents, insurance documents, employee manuals, wills, and closing documents. These papers could very well become evidence in your lawsuit. Bring them with you.

4.  Questions.

Naturally, you have questions about the process of retaining a lawyer. Do you really need a lawyer? How much does it cost to hire a lawyer? How long can you expect a lawsuit to last? How can Mosser Law PLLC help you? First, check out our FAQs page, and then come talk to us. You should leave an initial client meeting with all your questions answered.

As always, our blog posts are not legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship! At the end of the day, there’s no substitute for having a lawyer of your own.

What Is A Series LLC?

By: James C. Mosser

This post is an overview of a longer article entitled “What Is A Series LLC?”

Many Texas practitioners deal with a client’s business formations as part of their everyday business or ancillary to the other matters they work on for clients. Since I am a lawyer at a small law firm, I am in the latter group.

I like the business formation landscape. There is plenty of interesting nuance and choices. This depends on the client and the purpose of the transaction. In certain circumstances, the new darling is the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and especially the Series LLC. The hot debate in Texas amongst those in the know concerns how to treat a Series LLC nonfiling entity.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “entity” as “[a]n organization or being that possesses separate existence for tax purposes. Examples would be corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts. Entity includes person, estate, trust, governmental unit.”

However, there’s a problem with the supposedly official definition of an entity, which wrongly excludes the Series LLC.

Over the last two years, many Texas attorneys and commentators have discussed the Series LLC and advised that the nonfiling entity (Series) is not a legal entity. However, the Series specifically is described in the Business Organizations Code (BOC), starting at BOC 101.601. A scholarly reading of the BOC will reveal that these commentators are wrong.

Most commentators in Texas have decided that the Series LLC is not an entity. More egregious is that the Secretary of State has assumed the same position based on badly reasoned writings lacking in any legal theory or support. Then, to make matters worse, the State Comptroller has decided that the Secretary of State is the decision maker when it comes to determining what an entity is in the State of Texas, instead of the Texas legislature.

A reading of the state law given to us by the legislature shows the real definition: BOC 1.002, Definitions. At paragraph (18), “domestic entity” means an organization formed under or the internal affairs of which are governed by this code. This definitely includes the Series LLC.

However, because of the unfathomable attitude of the State Comptroller and the Secretary of State, we are left with a group of powerful regulators acting contrary to the Texas Constitution and the laws of Texas as passed by the Texas legislature!

So, who cares? You should care because if you are not a Texas filing entity according to the Comptroller, you pay taxes for the other Series entities that owe taxes, even if your Series does not owe any money.

A last note: Some commentators claim they do not know how a Series LLC will be treated by Texas (if it is foreign) or other non-Series States. I am not positive how it will be treated by Texas. But a properly formed Series LLC should be given the full faith and credit of the sister states old Public Acts and given effect to the “internal affairs doctrine related to the operations of a series limited liability company.” Art. IV, Sec. 1, of the United States Constitution.

Today, this leaves the Texas transactional practitioner in the position of not recommending the formation of a Series LLC in Texas. Maybe the real resolution is just to form multiple LLCs in Texas, as we have been doing for years.

To learn more about the Series LLC in Texas, read James Mosser’s full article, “What Is A Series LLC?”

As always, our blog posts are not legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship! If you want legal advice, you need to retain a lawyer.

Steinberg Argues Before Fifth Circuit

On December 3, 2012, Alexis F. Steinberg argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana. She presented the crucial question of interpretation regarding the homestead provisions in the Texas Constitution, Article 16, Section 50.

The essential issue under discussion was whether a lien against a homestead made in violation of the Texas Constitution is void (legally unenforceable) or voidable (able to become void but not necessarily so). Steinberg argued that the lien against the Appellants’ property was not voidable, but rather void from the start (“void ab initio“).

This “void not voidable” issue was first raised in relation to Mosser Law’s clients in the District Court, where James C. Mosser, who tried this case in 2011, uncovered and explored the nuances of the homestead provisions in his pleadings and motions. After appealing the Court’s judgment, Mosser mentored and advised Steinberg as she prepared to bring her oral argument before the Fifth Circuit.

Mosser and Steinberg are aware that this issue could become persuasive for Texas courts and Texas citizens with void property liens. As Steinberg wrote in Mosser Law’s Brief for Appellants:

In the recent case Smith v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, the “court engaged in a detailed analysis of the plain language of the Texas Constitution; the nature of liens which are void from inception instead of merely ‘voidable’; and the Texas Constitution’s requirement of homeowner’s demand and lender’s opportunity to cure before a forfeiture. The Smith analysis should be applied here. The Priesters’ lien was void ab initio, not voidable.”

Because the lien was constitutionally void, the District Court should not have dismissed the case. This void versus voidable issue is material to Texas homeowners and to the legal interpretation of the state’s Constitution.  If the liens are considered voidable, a four-year statute of limitations applies to a homeowner’s claims.  However, if the liens are properly interpreted as void, a homeowner may bring a claim against a lender whenever the homeowner realizes the liens on his or her property violated the Texas Constitution.

Drawing on the plain-language interpretation of the Texas Constitution and pertinent case law, Steinberg presented her argument on this matter cogently and eloquently.

If you have Windows Media Player, you can listen to Steinberg’s argument here or by searching the Fifth’s Circuit’s Oral Argument Recordings Page for “Alexis Steinberg.”

Do you have an appeal? Find out by contacting Mosser Law.

New Appellate Admissions

As of this summer Alexis Steinberg  and Nicholas Mosser are admitted to practice before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Steinberg’s appellate practice has previously included appearing before the Texas Supreme Court, and the needs of her clients now demand she be prepared to travel to New Orleans.  Ms. Steinberg drafted the briefs in Mosser Law’s case on homestead liens created in violation of the Texas Constitution, which is currently pending before the 5th Circuit.



Mosser Law Co-Hosts Appellate Meet and Greet

The Appellate and Civil Litigation Sections of the Collin County Bar Association are co-sponsoring a social on Thursday, April 29th, 2010, at Zea Woodfire Grill at Granite Park in Plano from 5:30pm- 7:00pm.

Our special guests are Justices Bob Fillmore and Lana Myers of the Fifth Court of Appeals.

Come enjoy food, drink, and good company compliments of our hosts Cowles & Thompson, P.C., Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, Koons Fuller Vanden Eykel & Robertson, P.C., Mosser Law PLLC, and The Suster Law Group, PLLC. This is a great opportunity for the Collin County bench and bar to meet our two newest justices.

Plus, membership in the Appellate Section is free for the first year for those who join at the event.

Another Appellate Victory

Another appellate victory as Mosser Law vindicates our client’s interests.

Things don’t always go the way we want in the trial court. Fortunately we’ve got the Courts of Appeal to fix those minor problems. Recently one of Mosser Law’s clients witnessed this firsthand.

Mosser Law was able to have an unfair ruling by the trial court reversed and remanded. Read the trial court’s opinion for more details.

Mosser Law at the Texas Supreme Court

It was a great day to be a lawyer at Mosser Law on January 19.  Alexis Steinberg, Mosser Law’s newest associate, argued in front of the Texas Supreme Court on crucial issues of takings jurisprudence.

The Court was considering the issues encapsulated by VSC LLC v. City of Dallas, which include whether it is appropriate for the City of Dallas, pursuant to its police power, to seize vehicles that are lawfully towed and stored, if those vehicles are later alleged to be stolen, and to subsequently deny that the towing and storage companies are due any compensation.

Although several other issues were raised by the petition of the City of Dallas, the Court focused it’s questions narrowly on the takings question, despite attempts by counsel to raise some of the other issues.

Oral argument in this case can be viewed, but a special player must be downloaded.

This case was also noted in the news.