Refusal To Settle Case Out Of Court Costs HISD $9 Million

Experienced business litigation lawyers know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to legal matters. Success and winning should be defined by the unique circumstances of each case. Sometimes the most successful resolution to a case is not a long and drawn out court battle, but a careful negotiation and settlement. This is a lesson the Houston Independent School District (HISD) just learned the hard way in a recent lawsuit. Although HISD had the option to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit for just $250,000 out of court, the district decided to pursue the case in court where a jury ordered it to pay a whopping $9 million.

The lawsuit started when DynaStudy, a two-person educational materials supplier, alleged HISD made four violations of federal copyright laws. DynaStudy proposed a modest six-figure settlement on multiple locations, but HISD refused. DynaStudy reportedly proposed a $250,000 settlement, which the district rejected, leading the supplier to file a lawsuit.

During the discovery process, DynaStudy found dozens of other brazen copyright violations. Evidence showed some teachers used white tape and sticky notes to cover copyright notices and one teacher even wrote in an email that she was “OK with violating” copyrights.

After refusing several settlement offers, HISD launched a three-year legal battle that culminated in a $9.2 verdict against the district. Additionally, HISD may be on the hook for DynaStudy’s attorneys’ fees, which could amount to an additional $1.5 million. The jury decided in DynaStudy’s favor after hearing how dozens of HISD employees repeatedly violated copyrights and distributed copyrighted material for ten years.

Securing A Successful Resolution with the Help of Business Litigation Attorneys

The reality is most business litigation cases are not decided in a courtroom. This doesn’t mean trials are always a bad strategy for resolution, but it highlights the importance of understanding what a successful resolution looks like for each client. Oftentimes, out of court settlements are the quickest and most cost-effective way to resolve a dispute. Taking a case to trial can also present serious risks, as seen in the HISD copyright lawsuit.

Business Litigation Attorneys

At Feldman & Feldman, our business litigation attorneys put our clients’ interests first. We can explain your legal options and the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Our attorneys will help you make an informed decision about resolution strategies and continuously fight for what’s right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.

New Apartments Fighting Condo Owners Associations

Houston is an unusual city for many reasons, but one of the most visibly apparent reasons is that there are no zoning requirements. This means that grocery stores can go up next to houses, but it also places a higher burden on homeowners and condo owners associations. Because there are no zoning requirements, these organizations are often the only thing standing in between a new development and residents. This is the case for the condominium owners association at the Cosmopolitan apartment complex, which is fighting the development of a 39-story building.

The Dinerstein Cos. is a development company in the process of building a 39-story luxury apartment building. The project, called Arise Post Oak, has been embroiled in litigation since its inception. When the project was first proposed, residents next door at the Cosmopolitan apartments objected to the building. Residents claimed the new building would be too high and wanted the building’s size to be cut in half.

The dispute between the condo association at the Cosmopolitan and Dinerstein reached a fever pitch in 2016 when Dinerstein asked a judge to declare its rights to develop the land. The condo association was claiming the building would be a nuisance. Under Texas law, both public and private entities can file a nuisance lawsuit if another building, company, or individual is interfering with their right to the use of and enjoyment of their property. The lawsuit has gone through a number of appeals and remains pending.

Business and condo owners associations can learn from the lawsuit that this type of litigation is not only extremely common in Houston, but is also incredibly complex. These legal battles can draw out for years and end up being extremely costly for both sides. Whenever these types of disputes arise, only experienced legal representation can help resolve matters quickly and efficiently.

Houston Commercial Litigation Lawyers

At Feldman & Feldman, we understand the complexities of commercial litigation. Our attorneys work closely with clients to understand their needs and protect their rights. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Houston commercial litigation lawyers to see how we can help.

Litigation Appeals Are About To Change

Anyone facing litigation should prepare for big impending changes. While we don’t often think of elections as forces for change in our court systems and legal processes, the reality is that the significant election of new Democratic judges in Harris County and other Texas counties this year is going to change litigation appeals.

Unlike other states, Texas elects its judges. Voters decide whom they want presiding over their courtrooms, and this has huge implications. This past election, there were twenty Democratic judges elected to seats on the state courts of appeals in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. According to legal experts, this “blue wave” is going to change business litigation across the state.

While we think of judges as impartial and thus by virtue apolitical, each individual judge has his or her own interpretation of the law. Democratic judges share similar views in the interpretation of the law, including issues related to when to enforce arbitration clauses, when a case should be dismissed before trial, and how much deference to give trial judges and juries when reviewing large-dollar plaintiff’s verdicts.

The Republican judges that previously controlled many of the Texas appellate courts were largely pro-business and pro-arbitration. This made it more difficult for plaintiffs to pursue effective resolution to a legal issue both in and out of court. Additionally, Republican judges tend to oppose large jury verdicts. But all of that is about to change.

Plaintiffs pursuing employment litigation, products liability, or medical malpractice lawsuits will no longer face the same legal hurdles. This will help victims of negligence and unfair business practices obtain the justice they deserve. The impacts of the Texas appellate court bench changes will not occur overnight. But regardless, moving forward pursuing litigation will require an experienced trial and appellate lawyer familiar with every complicated facet of the law and the legal leanings of appeals judges.

Experienced Trial and Appellate Lawyers

Feldman & Feldman is a legal team comprised of fierce trial lawyers and knowledgeable appellate lawyers. This makes us uniquely qualified to handle our cases from start to finish. We can deliver big wins in the courtroom and defend those wins on appeal, if necessary. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.