Posts By: Chris Wielinski

6 Cokinos | Young Attorneys Named 2022 Texas Rising Stars by Super Lawyers®

Cokinos | Young is pleased to announce that six of its attorneys have been recognized on the 2022 Texas Rising Stars list of exceptional young attorneys. Rising Stars is a ranking service based on a statewide survey, peer nominations, and independent research of Thomson Reuters. Less than 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys are chosen for this prestigious distinction. To be eligible, lawyers must be 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less. View the full digital edition here.

For 32 years, Cokinos | Young has led the way in smart, knowledgeable construction & commercial real estate law. Today, our team of over 100 dedicated professionals provides all aspects of construction law to general contractors, project managers, design professionals, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers, sureties, insurance companies, owner/developers, and lenders. We provide both transactional and litigation services to clients in commercial, industrial, civil, pipeline, offshore, heavy highway, and residential construction. And we’re growing beyond Texas with offices open coast-to-coast. Savvy. Tough. Dedicated. That’s Cokinos.

Ryan A. Cunningham
Construction Litigation
Houston
commercial litigation attorney
Chance K. Decker
Business Litigation
San Antonio
James S. Richards
Civil Litigation: Defense
Houston
R. Anderson Sessions
Business Litigation
Dallas
C. Matthew Thompson
Construction Litigation
Houston
Christopher C. Wan
Construction Litigation
Houston

Parker Fauntleroy, Marshall Holmes, and Costa Economides Secure Jury Trial Victory

Parker Fauntleroy, Marshall Holmes, and Costa Economides recently conducted a week-long jury trial in Harris County, Texas wherein they defended a Houston-based construction company.  Plaintiff alleged he suffered severe injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. After closing arguments, the jury returned a defense verdict and awarded no damages. Congratulations on a great win to a deserving client!

Cokinos | Young Establishes Tier-1 In-House Litigation Support with New Hire, Chester Washington

It is with great pleasure we welcome Chester Washington to the firm. Chester joins the Houston office as the Director of Litigation Support & E-Discovery Services. He will lead Cokinos | Young’s data, analytics, and client services teams and spearhead the creation of comprehensive solutions to address clients’ litigation needs.

“Chester’s experience in litigation support and the E-discovery realm is unparalleled,” says Gregory Cokinos. “We are thrilled to welcome him to our CY Family.”

Chester comes to us with 16+ years of trial experience and experience on the vendor side of e-discovery. Chester’s knowledge spans data forensics, data processing, review management, review analytics, and advanced production.

Chester will deliver cost-effective, creative solutions with current and future E-discovery vendors. In addition, Chester is well-versed in litigation support project management. His comprehensive set of offerings will ensure efficient and consistent data collection, data processing, review management and data production.

We are excited to have Chester join the firm and look forward to working with him.  Welcome to the CY Family, Chester.

About Cokinos | Young

For 32 years, Cokinos Young has led the way in smart, knowledgeable construction & commercial real estate law. Today, our team of over 100 dedicated professionals provides all aspects of construction law to general contractors, project managers, design professionals, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers, sureties, insurance companies, owner/developers, and lenders. We provide both transactional and litigation services to clients in commercial, industrial, civil, pipeline, offshore, heavy highway, and residential construction. And we’re growing beyond Texas with offices open coast-to-coast. Savvy. Tough. Dedicated. That’s Cokinos. Learn more at cokinoslaw.com.

Who Needs Commercial Real Estate Lawyers

Buying a commercial property is a huge investment in time and money. Working with commercial real estate professionals is a great way to make sure every step of the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. When it’s time to close the deal and sign the paperwork, a commercial real estate lawyer is a vital asset. Here are some of the ways they can help. 

Oversee Proper Procedure

Eight states in America require a commercial real estate attorney to oversee a real estate transaction. But even in those states where it’s not legally required, a real estate lawyer is useful for the following actions:

  • Ensure legal procedures are followed for the acquisition or selling of real property, including land and structures.
  • Offer advice and consultation on zoning questions, commercial property use, and possible restrictions.
  • Research deeds and titles and identify any concerns.
  • Assess property taxes and liens.
  • Draft closing documents.
  • Attend closing and acquire proper signatures, file closing documents, and collect and transfer funds.

Advise in Complicated Transactions

When businesses close, the remaining commercial properties can be in a state of financial unrest. For example, say a clothing manufacturing business owned by a partnership ceases operation. The warehouse where they made their garments sits empty, and it’s filled with leftover inventory and machines. A buyer is interested in starting their own manufacturing business but doesn’t know the state of the former owners’ liability to debtors, the state of the property tax payments, or the zoning laws.

A commercial real estate attorney is a perfect resource for these questions. A lawyer will help the buyer know if their business idea is viable in that space and what upfront costs they’ll be facing. The real estate lawyer can help a buyer navigate any complicated relationships from the former business, and investigate any unseen title, deed, or zoning concerns.

Prepare and Advise on Commercial Leases

Both a landlord and a renter may benefit from a commercial real estate lawyer. Commercial leases include typical language about payments, terms, and duration, but they can also include items that can directly affect the bottom line of a business, such as property tax or insurance obligations. 

A commercial real estate lawyer can review a client’s lease carefully and help make sure everything is fair and appropriate for the business. On the other side, a lawyer can help draft a lease for a commercial landlord with customized terms that suit both the tenant and the building owner.

Negotiate Contracts

Whether a business is starting out in a new space or changing locations, the building may need upgrades or changes to suit the company’s needs. A real estate lawyer is a great partner to have when negotiating contracts with vendors, construction companies, or design firms. The lawyer can review any contracts as they’re written to ensure the terms are fair and be on the buyer’s side if any future problems arise.

Whatever your situation, our team of commercial real estate lawyers is on your side. We can help you start out or help you through a challenging negotiation. Contact us for any commercial real estate concerns, large or small.

Commercial Litigation: What Is It?

When disputes between companies arise, sometimes the parties have no choice but to pursue legal recourse. Here’s our explainer on the ins and outs of commercial litigation.

What Is Commercial Litigation?

Commercial litigation is the pursuit of legal action in relation to any sort of business relationship. This might involve contract disputes, a breach of contract, partnership or corporation disputes, shareholder issues, class action suits, breach of duty, and other allegations arising in a business context. A commercial litigator represents the best interests of the business client. They craft the legal strategy for the dispute, file any paperwork, and act as mediators when needed. 

How Is Commercial Litigation Similar to Civil Litigation?

Civil litigation is any kind of legal proceedings with no criminal charges, usually between individuals. Probate law, personal injury law, family law, and contract law are some issues that fall under the civil litigation umbrella. Civil litigation is similar to commercial litigation in the following ways:

  • The client retains an attorney to resolve a legal concern.
  • The attorney pursues discovery, research, investigation, and other fact-finding procedures.
  • The attorney researches the law to determine where breaches or liabilities exist.
  • The attorney drafts letters, arranges for settlement negotiation, and/or files suit.
  • The attorney may participate in pre-trial motions, try the case in court before a judge and jury, and file post-trial paperwork.

How Is Commercial Litigation Different From Civil Litigation?

In most states, business entities involved in a legal dispute must be represented by a commercial litigation lawyer, whether the business is the injured party or the party pursuing litigation. Commercial litigation may involve the following aspects:

  • The litigation may involve two or more business entities.
  • The action may involve complicated and industry-specific contracts or legally binding agreements which require experienced attorneys to understand.
  • The action may be actionable in multiple jurisdictions and be filed in federal court.
  • The case may be a class-action lawsuit involving many defendants.

What Are Some Types of Commercial Litigation?

Commercial litigators cover a wide variety of business legal issues. Some of those might include:

  • Tax disputes.
  • Insurance coverage and claims.
  • Breach of contract.
  • Construction claims.
  • Partnership or board of director disputes.
  • Real estate or land use disputes.
  • Environmental concerns.
  • Class-action suits.
  • Privacy or data breach.
  • Employment or union labor concerns.
  • Securities litigation.
  • Shareholder disputes.
  • Trademark or copyright infringement.

What Makes a Good Commercial Attorney?

Many good commercial attorneys have additional degrees or previous work experience in the industries they represent, giving them unique insights into the details and common practices in those industries. Good commercial attorneys act as counselors and listen carefully to clients’ concerns. Where possible, they will pursue practical mediation or claim settlement to save the client from litigation fees. When that resolution isn’t possible, good commercial attorneys approach litigation focused on the clients’ needs with the most timely resolution.

Does your business need help with a legal matter? Our commercial litigators have experience on a national scale with a focus on each individual client. Please contact us if we can offer assistance with a legal resolution.

7 Most Common Construction Injuries

Working a construction job usually involves a lot of physical labor and demands alertness and quick reaction times. Though construction workers are often strong and physically fit, the job nevertheless comes with some risk of injury. With data gathered from Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics and other reputable studies, here’s a list of the seven most common construction injuries workers may encounter.

Exposure to Hazardous Materials

Though OSHA standards dictate that hazardous chemicals have clear warning labels and safety data sheets nearby, sometimes workers may accidentally come in contact with dangerous materials. The resulting injuries vary in severity, like skin or eye irritation from a strong solvent to highly dangerous lung exposure to asbestos fibers.

Electrical Shock

Often various subcontractors and laborers work in tandem with electricians on a project. Electrical shocks can vary in intensity from a graze with a bare wire to a more serious flash-arc burn from a heavy-duty electrical installation or piece of equipment.

Being Hit by Moving Equipment

Construction work often involves the use of heavy equipment like backhoes or dump trucks that can have limited visibility for the operator. A worker may be hit by an articulating arm, digging bucket, heavy-duty tire, swinging door, or the machine itself. Depending on the size of the machine and the force of the hit, injuries can include severe bruising, broken bones, head trauma, or internal injury.

Falling From a Height

Workers who demolish or install roofing, who work on buildings of multiple stories, or who use tall ladders are at risk of falling from a height. Safety measures like harnesses, tethers, nonslip pads, or ladder support by other workers can lower that risk, but aren’t always available or employed properly. Falls from a height can be fatal or lead to catastrophic spinal cord injury, ligament or muscle tears, bone fractures, and often severe bruising. Some fall injuries may be permanent.

Vehicle Accidents

Construction workers rely on their trucks and vans to carry tools and equipment to various job sites. The more time a driver spends on the road, the higher the risk of a traffic accident. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. While death is the worst-case scenario, vehicle accidents can also cause traumatic injuries that require surgery or hospital stays, fractures, burns, or more minor injuries that can interrupt daily life.

Burns

Some machinery used on construction sites requires special training, such as welding or plumbing equipment. Accidents with torches, gas or electric heaters, or certain chemicals can cause minor to severe burns. 

Heat-Related Illnesses

Construction workers who labor in the hot sun, particularly in more humid areas, are at risk for heat-related illnesses. The body usually puts out warning signs like heat rash, cramps from salt imbalance, and heat exhaustion that presents as fatigue, headache, or nausea. The most serious is heat stroke, where the body can no longer regulate its temperature. This can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Construction workers face a variety of risks on the job. Treatment for on-the-job injuries can vary based on the seriousness of the injury, but every incident deserves attention. We’re here to help. Feel free to contact us about your workplace injury.

5 Steps to File a Car Insurance Claim

A car accident can be a traumatic experience for anyone involved, but knowing the steps to take when filing a car insurance claim can make the experience a bit easier to manage. Here are five crucial steps to take if you’re involved in an accident and need to file an insurance claim.

Document the Incident

At the scene of the accident, take photos of your vehicle, the surrounding area like traffic lights, signs, and the road that show where the incident took place, and any damage to surrounding property, including signs, poles, and other vehicles. Make sure to also get the contact and insurance information of other drivers involved in the incident. If your accident is too severe and you are not able to do this yourself, contact the police department that processed the incident to get copies of the evidence for insurance and legal purposes.

File a Police Report

At the scene, you may be able to file a police report with the responding officers. If you aren’t able to file a report at the scene, go to the police department where the incident took place to file a report. Bring any evidence you have with you.

Contact Your Insurance Company or Agent

Call your agent directly or call the company to report the incident and begin the claims process. You should do this after collecting the evidence as your insurance company is likely to ask you for the following information:

  • Which vehicle on the policy was involved.
  • Who was driving.
  • Where and when the incident occurred.
  • A description of the incident and the damage.
  • The contact information and insurance of any other drivers involved.
  • The names and contact information of any passengers or witnesses.
  • The police report number.

While speaking with the agent, make sure to get the name and contact information of the person you’re speaking with for future reference. 

Meet With an Insurance Adjuster

After reporting the incident with your insurance, you may need to meet with an adjuster. They will inspect the vehicle, or they may have you take your vehicle to a certified repair shop for inspection. They may also ask you questions about the incident. Typically, your conversation with the adjuster is recorded and used to better determine who was at fault. Have the photographs and relevant contact information available as the adjuster may want to see this evidence, too.

If you are planning to file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you should also contact an attorney before meeting with the adjuster. 

Get the Report From the Adjuster

The adjuster takes the evidence, inspection, and interviews to determine the payout amount. The report should include how much you’re entitled to and when you can expect payment.

It’s important to note that the processing time and steps for a car insurance claim can vary depending on the type of incident. For example, if you’re in an incident that doesn’t involve another driver, you won’t need to collect another driver’s car insurance information and contact, which means less evidence to collect and potentially less time spent on that step.

When you need an attorney with personal injury or insurance expertise, contact Cokinos Law to guide you through the claims process and get you the compensation you need to recover.

What Is the Difference Between Business Litigation and Commercial Litigation?

While the words business and commercial are often used interchangeably in the business world, distinct differences exist between business litigation and commercial litigation. Understanding these differences can help a company choose the right law firm when litigation is necessary.

What Is Business Litigation?

Business litigation focuses on federal and state laws that deal with setting up and running a company. These lawsuits may deal with regulatory issues, so litigation may involve a business and a state or federal governmental body. A large part of business law centers around how workers are affected by a business, dealing with protocols for hiring, firing, and workplace safety.

Business law also deals with tax laws. Business litigation may be necessary if a business fails to meet the law’s tax requirements. Product deliveries also fall under business law.

Business litigation can involve parties such as a company and its stakeholders. Business law comes into play when there is a dispute among shareholders and directors.

Companies may also turn to experts in business law to help manage legal aspects and act as watchdogs, allowing executives and managers to spend their time and energy focusing on a business’s day-to-day operations and processes. While businesses can put safeguards in place to ensure compliance with regulations, legal intervention is sometimes necessary. That’s where business litigation again comes in.

Some examples of reasons business litigation may be necessary include:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Compliance with hour and wage regulations.
  • Employment issues including discrimination, harassment, or wrongful discharge.
  • Environmental requirements.
  • Federal and state tax laws.
  • Lawsuits that come from insurance policies.
  • Partnership disputes.
  • Whistleblower complaints.
  • Workplace safety regulations.
  • Workers’ compensation.

What Is Commercial Litigation?

Commercial law is sometimes considered a subcategory of business law. Commercial law typically refers to administration for corporations, LLCs, sole proprietorships, and more. Commercial litigation, therefore, focuses on contracts and transactions. Commercial lawsuits may focus on commerce issues, dealing with disputes. or other issues that come out of trade.

Examples of common commercial litigation topics include issues related to:

  • Buying.
  • Commercial paper.
  • Contract terms and conditions.
  • Intellectual property.
  • Leases.
  • Providing services.
  • Sale of goods.
  • Secured transactions and other transactions.
  • Security of a business, including internal and external factors.
  • Zoning of a business.

Regulations and Statutes Governing Business Litigation and Commercial Litigation

One key difference between business litigation and commercial litigation is the regulations or statutes that govern each. Federal and state regulations characterize business litigation, covering various aspects involved with setting up and operating businesses. State and federal regulations govern a wide variety of broad issues, including:

  • Employment and wage compliance.
  • Environmental protection.
  • Shareholder concerns.
  • Workplace safety.

The Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC, regulates commercial litigation. Originally, the UCC was developed to assist businesses in managing evolving legal requirements. The UCC was also developed to address differences in individual state laws. However, states have continued to customize this code, so those seeking commercial litigation support should look for a commercial law firm that is familiar with the state or states where the company conducts its business.

The experienced attorneys at Cokinos | Young can help. Contact us today!

Cokinos | Young Elevates Three Attorneys to Principal

Cokinos | Young is pleased to announce that Marshall Holmes (Houston), Jas Samra (San Francisco) and Darrell Taylor (Houston) have been promoted to Principal in recognition of their commitment to their clients and the firm, hard work and dedication.

“This class of Principals embody our core values and are committed to efficiency, value and client service,” said founding partner Gregory Cokinos. “These are the future leaders of the firm and they have earned the respect of our clients and principals. We look forward to their continued contributions to our success.”

“All three attorneys deliver the highest quality of work for our clients and have proven themselves as critical members of our Cokinos | Young Family,” said founding partner Marc Young. “We are fortunate and grateful to welcome each of them as Principal.”

Congratulations Marshall, Jas and Darrell. We are proud to have you all as part of our Cokinos | Young family.

 

Cokinos | Young has been recognized among the Best Law Firms in America by U.S. News World and Report and Best Lawyers’ 2022

Cokinos | Young is pleased to announce that the firm has been ranked by U.S. News and Best Lawyers® as “Best Law Firm” in the following categories:

  • National Tier 1 for Construction Litigation
  • National Tier 2 for Appellate Practice
  • National Tier 2 for Construction Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Austin) for Construction Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Austin) for Construction Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Dallas/Fort Worth) for Insurance Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Dallas/Fort Worth) for Construction Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Houston) for Appellate Practice
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Houston) for Construction Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Houston) for Construction Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Houston) for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (San Antonio) for Construction Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (San Antonio) for Construction Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Austin) for Appellate Practice
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Houston) for Commercial Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (San Antonio) for Litigation

Firms included in the 2022 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a Tier 1 ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have one lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top four percent of practicing attorneys in the United States. Cokinos | Young has 16 lawyers listed in The Best Lawyers in America – Gregory Cokinos, Patrick Wielinski, Stephanie O’Rourke, Parker Fauntleroy, John Grayson, John Warren, Charles Getman, Jay Farwell, Dana Livingston, Roger Townsend, Stanley Curry, Stephanie Cook, Shelly Masters, Patrick Garner, Bryan Marshall, Darrell Taylor, and Robert MacPherson. Over 13,000 attorneys provided more than 1,000,000 law firm assessments, and over 7,500 clients provided more than 65,000 evaluations.

ABOUT “BEST LAW FIRMS” The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty.

ABOUT U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars, and News & Opinion, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news, and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 37 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

ABOUT BEST LAWYERS Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world. For more than 30 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe. The Best Lawyers in America list recognizes the very best lawyers in each practice area and metropolitan region in the country.