April 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 3:29:18 pm Swindled investors take heart, the IRS at least is trying to help
April 2, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:17:13 pm Texas lawmakers reacting to data security threat
Digital forensics expert Erin Nealy Cox of Stroz Friedberg LLC says proposed legislation reflects policy makers' growing data-security concerns. Whether it's computer viruses like the conficker worm threatening to turn your PC into a foot soldier in a vast drone computer army or the skyrocketing number of data breaches, the electronic age is constantly presenting new perils, and businesses, consumers and policy makers are still struggling to respond. Three separate bills under consideration by Texas lawmakers could strengthen statutes aimed at growing data security threats to businesses and individuals.
Senate Bill 28 would outlaw the creation and use of botnets in Texas. Under the proposal, those victimized by botnets, such as ISPs and businesses, or the Texas Attorney General could bring a cause of action and potentially recover up to $100,000 per violation, legal costs and treble damages. Senate Bill 327/House Bill 345 would require businesses to adopt e-commerce security standards already in use by the payment card industry. Senate Bill 962 would require businesses to use encryption software when dealing with sensitive personal information.
Erin Nealy Cox, a deputy general counsel at Stroz Friedberg LLC, an international digital forensics, cybercrime response and electronic discovery firm, says the legislation reflects the growing number of data security risks. "Lawmakers across the country are feeling pressure to respond to these dangers," she says. "For businesses operating in multiple states, the result can be a confusing patchwork of statutes from one state to another." To interview Ms. Nealy Cox, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
April 2, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:30:41 am Lawsuit filed for 'fight club' atmosphere at Corpus Christi State School
The mother of one of the victims, Inez Hernandez, has filed a negligence claim on behalf of her 21-year-old mentally disabled son, Armando Hernandez Jr., who was among those forced to battle. The lawsuit filed by Corpus Christi-based Hilliard Muńoz Guerra against the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services charges that Mr. Hernandez suffered physical injuries and continues to suffer emotional trauma including severe humiliation, degradation and mental anguish as a result of the experience.
"These special-needs residents are some of the most vulnerable and fragile members of our community," says attorney Robert Hilliard. "To think that the protectors of their welfare were turning them into tools for their own sick entertainment makes my blood boil. I put this at the feet of the agency itself, an agency that, time and time again, throughout this state has allowed systematic abuse of every kind to go mostly unchecked."
For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 (office), 214-293-0860 (mobile) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:49:09 am Stimulus package set to power up alternative energy, efficiency projects
March 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:55:57 am On anniversary of CPS raid on polygamist sect, family law attorney Betsy Branch highlights learning opportunities
March 19, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:40:46 pm March Madness at Work: labor & employment attorney Audrey Mross says bosses should think twice about trying to block workers taking it to the 'net
March 18, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:31:13 pm Economic crisis causing brain drain of skilled, educated immigrants
March 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:28:16 pm Obama stimulus package offers tax breaks for cancelling debt
March 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:13:43 pm Dallas real estate attorney Robert Miller creates foreclosure checklist to assist lenders, property owners
February 27, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:35:00 pm Apple's hands tied it battle against unauthorized iPhone applications
February 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:21:54 pm Doctor's orders: stimulus package adds legal teeth to HIPAA privacy violations
The Obama stimulus package stands to have a dramatic impact on health care in the U.S., from health care subsidies for unemployed workers to incentives to promote
February 23, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:56:29 pm Latest mortgage horror story: $750 billion in Option ARM mortgages
February 23, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:41:07 pm Stung by criticism over Madoff inaction, has SEC tired of whipping boy role?
February 12, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:33:39 pm For couples already on the rocks, Valentine's sentiment is tricky to say the least
Family law attorney Mary Jo McCurley says key is to neither overblow nor ignore special day
The expectations of Valentine's Day can be a minefield for struggling couples who may be heading for divorce. Ignoring the special day can make a bad situation
February 11, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:40:59 pm Huge economic news in Peru, another day at the office for Thompson & Knight attorneys in Houston
Thompson & Knight attorneys orchestrate one of the biggest oil-and-gas deals in Peruvian history
So investors in Korea and Columbia put together a mammoth $900 million deal to purchase a Peruvian energy company. What's that got to do with Texas, you ask?
This acquisition represents one of the largest Peruvian oil and gas deals in recent history and allows KNOC and Ecopetrol to greatly increase their production capabilities. The Thompson & Knight team advising on this project was led by Partner Jerry L. Metcalf and Associate Todd Chen, both from the Firm's Houston office. The team which assisted on this transaction included Sarah E. McLean, Louis J. Davis, Ben H. Welmaker Jr., Pablo C. Ferrante, John R. Cohn, Janet P. Jardin, C. Stoddard (Todd) Lowther II, Nicholas F. Tsai, Mayuca V. Salazar, and Iván Pérez-Arteche. The agreement between the companies was finalized on February 5, 2009.
KNOC is the national oil and gas company of South Korea and one of the most important industrial companies in the country. The company operates oil and gas fields around the globe and had a reported oil production of more than 860.2 million barrels in 2008.
Ecopetrol, the Colombian national oil company, is an integrated oil and gas company ranked among the world's 40 largest energy companies. It is also the largest corporation in Colombia as well as the principal oil and gas company in that country.
February 11, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:54:03 pm Valentine's Day warning: beware of syrupy e-mail spam hiding computer viruses
Erin Nealy Cox, a deputy general counsel and managing director at computer forensic firm Stroz Friedberg's Dallas office, says the potential for such e-mail viruses should serve as a reminder for businesses and individuals to bone up on computer security practices and review e-mail habits. "Computer viruses and electronic security pose enormous financial risks," she says. "Every company should have an information security plan, from defending against viruses to preventing data breaches and responding to litigation." The virus behind the Valentine's Day e-mails has subject lines including "With all my love" and "Me and you." To speak with Ms. Cox about computer forensics, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
January 30, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:40:02 pm Collapse of Madoff Ponzi scheme felt around the globe
"The auditors of these funds allowed this financial disaster to occur, and we think they have responsibility along with the banks and the feeder funds through which the banks invested in Madoff's firm," says attorney Robert S. Schachter. "Our investigation has revealed that if financial advisors had performed basic due diligence, they could have spotted the ruse that Madoff was perpetuating with his scheme." To speak with Mr. Schachter about the Madoff investigation, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 29, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:45:25 am Texas AG files suit against Houston hospital over anticompetitive practices
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed suit against Houston's Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, charging that the hospital has violated state antitrust laws
The two attorney's praised the AG's action. "This is a huge victory for the doctors who built Town & Country Hospital, and for the general public seeking quality health care at competitive prices. The AG's office should be congratulated for taking such a bold, non-political action on behalf of consumers," says Hardin.
Mr. Zook agrees, "Although the AG's findings validate our claims of unlawful conduct by Memorial Hermann, the doctors' civil case against Memorial Hermann is set for a jury trial in late March 2009," says Zook. "We look forward to showing the jury the entire story of Memorial Hermann's improper actions that damaged these doctors, their patients and the public at large."
A copy of the final judgment and news release from the Attorney General's Office can be found at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?print=1&id=2812. For more information, contact Barry Pound 800-559-4534 at email@example.com.
January 29, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:01:24 am Houston lawyer faces off with banks over secret life insurance policies
Attorneys from Houston's The Clearman Law Firm have begun a nationwide investigation into the practice. "It is ironic that thousands of bank employees have been laid off, yet banks still stand to benefit financially when those employees die," says class-action attorney Scott Clearman. "These types of policies benefit only the banks, not their employees."
Many of the world's largest banks have taken out life insurance policies on their workers, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and many others. Nearly half of all U.S. banks have reported owning BOLI policies at an estimated value of $120 billion. Ethics aside, the practice raises serious questions about unauthorized use of personal information. A bank purchasing a BOLI policy must provide the insurer with personal information belonging to each covered employee, including his or her name, sex, age and Social Security number. Employees' Social Security numbers are then used to conduct "death sweeps" where banks typically hire outside brokers to sweep public records in order to learn if an employee or former employee has died. A person whose life a bank insured without consent may have a right to sue for the bank's misappropriation of their identity, and may be able to recover profits made by the bank, broker and insurer. To interview Mr. Clearman about the BOLI investigation, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 28, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:51:56 pm Former U.S. Attorney Richard Roper: All signs point to spike in white-collar prosecutions
January 27, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:19:08 pm Hope for homeowners underwater on their mortgages
Enter the Texas Real Estate Commission, which is working to reduce the number of residential foreclosures by providing some much-needed uniformity for homeowners and mortgage lenders in these situations. Until now, mortgage agents often altered sales contracts to address the need to sell a home at a loss, but this created a new set of problems because the contract language was often inaccurate or exposed agents to allegations of practicing law without a license. Newly adopted contract language simplifies the process and could lead to more such short sales and fewer foreclosures.
"Essentially there have been situations in which these edits and insertions by a real estate agent in contracts may lead to disputes and could be deemed to be the unauthorized practice of the law" says real estate attorney Jerome Prager, of Dallas' Prager & Miller.
"These are obviously difficult times for the real estate industry, as well as for homeowners and prospective buyers," says Mr. Prager, who as co-chair of the Commission's Broker-Lawyer Committee helped draft the language. "It's more important than ever that unambiguous closing documents are legally binding, enforceable and drafted to cover virtually any contingency."
To speak with Jerome Prager about the contract addendum concerning short sales of homes, please contact Mark Annick at 214-559-4630 or email@example.com.
January 15, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:45:21 pm Downturn, what downturn? Survey: litigation jumped 9 percent in 2008
Class actions hit a new peak in 2008, rising 8% from the previous year on the back of an increase in antitrust - and employment - related filings. -- The economic crisis sparked a surge in corporate bankruptcy filings in 2008, while credit conditions also forced more companies to resort to quick, nontraditional bankruptcies -- trends that attorneys predict will continue until at least 2010.
Other highlights from Law360:
January 15, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:20:20 pm Big firm fee fight headed to a Collin County courtroom
January 14, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:34:14 pm With Economy Hemorrhaging Jobs, Commercial Real Estate Could be Next to Fall
January 14, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:03:40 pm Credit card processors now on the hook to report income to IRS
January 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 5:07:05 pm Back in the Black: As Chapter 11 bankruptcies spike, many businesses turn to DIP financing as last hope to avoid liquidation
A company drying to dig out of Chapter 11 might not seem like a good bet for lenders, especially in this tight credit market. But as the number of companies in Chapter 11 bankruptcy spikes, their prospects for digging out often depend on having access to operating cash. That's where debtor-in-possession financing comes in. Such loans to struggling companies in Chapter 11 provide struggling businesses with a chance to get back in the black rather than liquidating. "Debtor-In-Possession' financing is fairly common, and a good number of Chapter 11 cases would probably be impossible without access to capital through this framework," says Robert Paddock of Houston's Thompson & Knight. "A debtor company may have cash flow, but that revenue stream may be pledged to other secured creditors. Structured correctly, DIP or post-petition financing can be an attractive means for both a debtor and lender to fund the business through the bankruptcy proceeding." Such financing is harder to find in the existing tight credit market but it is still available, particularly for large-scale debtors willing to pay premium interest rates. To speak with Mr. Paddock about DIP financing, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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