Municipal and Governmental Law
One of the main purposes of a municipality is to govern local affairs, which includes zoning and the delivery of various services such as drinking water and police protection. “Municipal law” is a complex area of law created by the mixture of statutes, city ordinances, agency regulations, and other rules that govern what a municipality can do and how it can properly do it. Because municipalities have many and various responsibilities, the law in this area covers a vast range of issues and the unwary are often surprised by some isolated, but critical, rule which is all but hidden in some little-used corner of mostly unrelated law.
Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy’s attorneys have served as city attorneys for multiple Texas municipalities, advising both elected and appointed officials on every aspect of governance. Our representation includes other governmental entities including counties, water districts and development corporations. Our firm provides comprehensive support to our municipal clients on every aspect of local governance: land development, economic development, open meetings/public information, purchasing/contracting, planning & zoning, eminent domain, public employment/personnel, ordinance preparation, easement acquisitions, ethics, water/sewer/road issues, municipal court prosecution, code enforcement, utility & public improvement districts, election issues, and other similar municipal law issues.
Whether it is at the state or federal level, litigation against government agencies can be very different from litigation among private parties. Policy issues, special sovereignty-based defenses such as official or legislative immunity, unique government privileges, and other complex issues pose challenges to claimants, but also present valuable opportunities for governmental defendants during the course of the lawsuit.
Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy has a long history of successful representation of governmental entities, providing a solid platform from which to provide legal services in cases of pending litigation. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of governmental law benefits our clients by providing nuanced representation leading to the best achievable result at the earliest stage of litigation. Our firm can help you learn from others’ past mistakes which might otherwise result in waiver of your most powerful defenses. Protecting, representing, and advising multiple governmental entities over a course of decades has allowed us to hone our skills to aggressively defend litigation that drains resources and redirects focus from the important task of efficient governing.
There are many types of disputes that can arise at any time with your business. Common examples include breach of contract, control disputes between partners, customer disputes, interference with business relationships, employment disputes, or even debt collection practices. Legal representation is essential to protecting your rights during these kinds of disputes and avoiding unnecessary court battles.
Our results-driven reputation for aggressive and efficient representation stands at the forefront of our clients’ minds when facing litigation. While we are tenacious in asserting our client’s legal rights, we are also very aware of the significant strain lengthy legal battles can pose to the economic health of your business. Because of our personal attention to your needs, we are able to construct litigation strategies to protect your business. Whatever the situation, you can rely on Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy to put its experience to work for you.
The Partners in the firm have served as lead counsel throughout the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the Northern District of Texas and have gained insight into the various judges and venues. Out of this trial practice has grown a related practice of serving as “local counsel” for law firms from across the United States and assisting in the representation of businesses based both in the United States and abroad. This “local counsel” practice includes assisting in patent cases, commercial litigation, catastrophic injury and other complex cases. The firm provides assistance with local rules, filings and procedures, insight into local judges and juries and has run the spectrum from serving in a consulting role to conducting voir dire and being one of the lead trial attorneys. Local counsel cases are routinely handled in Sherman, Plano, Tyler, Marshall and Texarkana. Our experience with multiple cases, firms and litigation has taught us the importance of flexibility and the ability to mold into part of the team, at whatever level desired by the client and lead counsel.
Zoning and Land Use
Zoning and land use laws set the regulations and policies to achieve community goals and protect existing community resources while guiding and encouraging new development. These regulations affect new construction, most alterations, commercial occupancy changes, property line changes and most site development activity, including landscaping.
Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy advises North Texas governments on zoning and land use matters in the critical area of growth management and development–the life-blood of a community. Many projects require the coordination of multiple diverse government agencies with private investors and contractors, a challenge our firm is well-equipped to handle. Our strengths include the experience, reputation, and tools to bring governmental entities, developers, and the citizens of the community together to build vibrant and successful public and private development partnerships.
Various government entities have the inherent power to compel owners of real or personal property to transfer it to the government in exchange for fair and just compensation; this ability is also possessed by some private entities in certain industries. This condemnation process allows the government to use the property for a public purpose such as building roads, hospitals, schools, parks, or government buildings. However, one misstep in the eminent domain process can cause years of delay for a project and dramatically increase the costs of acquiring property.
Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy has extensive experience navigating governmental entities through this multifaceted and often politically sensitive area of law. Our attorneys are constantly monitoring the development of eminent domain legislation to enable implementation of your specific development plan. From hiring appropriate land experts, negotiation of fair compensation, representation before Special Commissioners, litigation, or settlement with a property owner, we can provide expertise gained from decades of annexations by various municipal clients to ensure the smoothest acquisition.
Employment law covers a broad spectrum of investigations and claims including discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, worker’s compensation, and wage and hour claims. Each of these various employment issues presents its own series of challenges and requires unique handling.
Priding itself on individualized-solutions, Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy provides preventative training, instruction, policy drafting and mentoring to aid in the avoidance of potential claims. Preventing and minimizing employee claims cuts waste and drain on precious resources. We are also there to strategically guide you through the minefield of investigations and claims when they occur in order to minimize liability and avoid costly mistakes.
Insurance defense involves not only providing legal representation for insurance companies, but also to their insured clients. For insurance companies, the issues often include “bad faith” claims, breach of contract, or accusations of deceptive trade practices; for the insured, the issues commonly include accusations of professional negligence, responsibility for personal injury, scope of employment, or liability stemming from ownership of property.
Our firm can help with any of these issues. Because of the combined decades of experience we bring to each client’s cause, Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy works to eliminate exposure to the insurance company and insureds by focusing on efficient representation. Bringing swift and successful resolution to the matter aids our client by minimizing the time and financial drains of litigation.
When starting a business, you must make a critical decision at the outset: What type of entity is suitable for your business? This choice will not only affect your personal exposure to liability, but it will also have personal and business tax consequences. The appropriate entity for your business will be specific to the type of business you wish to start, or the business you would like to become if you are transitioning your organization to a new form.
By taking the time to explore your business goals and evaluate your industry, Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy is able to give individualized guidance while adapting your business formation to optimize the benefits to you. We also are able to provide an in-depth analysis of your liability policy, revealing areas of potential exposure. Our firm can also make recommendations as to the types of additional releases, waivers, contracts, warranties, or records which would help your business avoid costly disputes with employees, customers, contractors, or government agencies.